Looking over the horizon
Our cover story for this issue is MII’s Transformation Blueprint 2013-2020. The blueprint was catalysed by the human resource development objectives contained in Bank Negara Malaysia’s blueprint for the financial sector. MII was quick off the mark in setting up a project to ensure the organisation is totally aligned to the objectives of BNM’s blueprint. The intense efforts that we have expended in the last five months which include extensive engagement with key stakeholders and bench-markings with the world's best have produced breakthrough outcomes in the form of new governance structures and a qualifications framework which have received extremely encouraging support from the industry. This project was presented and approved at the AIF Board meeting chaired by Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz on 28 September 2012. We are expecting significant changes across a broad spectrum of areas, most significantly in the governance of the dual mandates of MII, being education and serving as a professional body for the insurance industry.
It is not only MII that has been transforming, but also the insurance industry in Malaysia as a whole. The recent spate of mergers and acquisitions has meant that several new entities have emerged. These new entities bring a new perspective and dimension to the industry and much of this is not yet understood by both consumer and business customers. This is a real branding challenge, hence the focus in this issue on branding. We have been fortunate to get the story from the trenches as it were, as Ace Jerneh Country President, Steve Crouch explains the challenges the company went through in its recent rebranding exercise. As Steve explains, for many companies right now rebranding is not a matter of choice. The world and the company have changed so much that a rebranding exercise must be done. He writes, “Following the successful integration … Like any new brand in the market, it is important for ACE Jerneh to embark on a rebranding exercise not only because its logo and name have changed but also to raise awareness about the enhanced value proposition to its target audience i.e. customers, agents and business partners.”
Moving forward seems to be the theme of this issue. And, as the world moves forward into unchartered waters, insurers are faced with particularly difficult underwriting challenges. This is certainly the case with the opening up of the Artic region following global warming. In his article, Breaking the Ice, David Thomson points out both the benefits of opening up shipping lanes in the Artic – access to untold reserves of oil and other resources under the melting ice cap – and also the underwriting challenges because new shipping lines here are open really only to ice rated vessels, accompanied by ice breakers, with very limited rescue and assisting facilities.