APAC insurers weather COVID storm under watchful eye of regulators

The largely prompt response of APAC insurance regulators to the coronavirus crisis will help insurers weather the storm, according to Fitch Ratings, which says industry watchdogs in the region introduced measures both to safeguard policyholder interests while ensuring the industry's resiliency.

Measures including policyholder protection, capital preservation and business continuity, supervisory relief to reduce insurers' administrative burden and improvements to risk management have all contributed to a favourable outlook for carriers in the APAC region as they look to counter the further evolving risks posed by the pandemic.

In its APAC Insurance Regulators' Response During Coronavirus Crisis report published this week, Fitch Ratings explained how, following the outbreak, carriers strengthened risk management committees and conducted frequent stress tests on capital, liquidity and other key areas -- which the agency views as credit positives in the long run.

It says almost all regulators directed insurers to provide relief to policyholders and that these measures should soften a potential rise in policy lapses from the economic fallout. A slowdown in premium inflow and the introduction of untested products may, however, have the potential to expose insurers to added risks, some of which may be balanced by the moderation of claim frequencies across some corporate lines.

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