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Emerging-market countries represent huge, untapped opportunities for insurers, but carriers that are not properly staffed with people who understand the cultures, histories and markets of these nations will not succeed in their efforts, said former AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg during the keynote presentation of the 23rd Annual Executive Conference—an event hosted by Ernst & Young and Summit Business Media (parent company of NU) at the Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel in New York City on Dec. 6.

“To succeed, insurers have to have people on staff who understand these emerging markets and capital to spare to fund a potentially long adjustment time,” said Greenberg, who now serves as chairman and CEO of Starr Insurance Holdings. “And you have to understand the risks involved. It takes more courage to enter an emerging market than a fully developed and regulated one.”

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