Burgeoning economies in emerging markets overseas provide enticing opportunities for insurance companies, and some major carriers are aggressively seeking to bolster their global market share.
Despite the inherent challenges in doing business in foreign territories—including the chance of adverse political developments; competition from local insurers; the need for establishing distribution networks; and mostly low underwriting margins—the potential upside to international expansion is too great to be ignored.
Two local AGCS offices are in the process of being set up: a headquarters in Rio de Janeiro and a location in Sao Paulo.
“Brazil is a ‘must-be-there’ market with an attractive client base of both local Brazilian enterprises and overseas companies,” Burgess adds.
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission has made significant changes to the business rules in the country in recent years, says Yvette Essen, director of industry research for Europe & emerging markets for A.M. Best-Europe. These include new rules established in 2010 that permit broader investment into assets including real estate projects and private companies.
Perhaps the most challenging of emerging markets is India, for a variety of reasons—not the least of which is intense competition. The country’s domestic insurers, such as New India Assurance Co. and United India, are the established, dominant players. Also a hurdle: the high costs associated with establishing distribution channels.