“Independent insurance brokers, attending the Brokerslink Asia Pacific regional conference in Thailand,” have been advised to “grasp with both hands the significant opportunities generated by the formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community in 2015.”
José Manuel Fonseca, Chairman of Brokerslink said: “The integration is expected to transform the world’s fastest growing region into a more competitive and unified player in the world economy. Consisting of 10 economies with a diverse business landscape and a consumer market of over 600 million people, the opportunities for brokers and insurers are without doubt considerable.
“As independent brokers we must join together and act as one to provide the depth of knowledge and wide geographical coverage required. This will be especially relevant for the large number of infrastructure projects that funded by foreign direct investments and assistance from foreign governments and financial institutions.”
Fonseca also affirmed Brokerslink’s commitment to the ASEAN region. He said: “Since the creation of Brokerslink we have received considerable support from entrepreneurial independent brokers in the region. As a result we already have members located in six of the ten ASEAN countries – Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam – and, over time, intend to have presence in all countries.”
Michael W Gourlay – Executive Vice President Business Development of MSIG Holdings (Asia) gave delegates and insight into the opportunities for general insurance industry with the opening up of the ASEAN Economic Community.
He described the five core elements of an ASEAN single market and production base as “a free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor.” He also explained that “a wide spread of business sectors ranging from fisheries to air travel and transportation were expected to benefit and in turn generate a need for additional or more sophisticated insurance cover.”
ASEAN membership consists of 10 countries — Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Originally established in 1967, its objectives are to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors and to promote regional peace and stability.
ASEAN countries will remain independent and maintain their own economic structures and institutions including their own central banks and monetary boards. Each member country will allow the free flow of trade and services in the ASEAN region, which could lead to the lowering or elimination of taxes in the region and the introduction of common standards and accreditation for services.
Economic growth in the region is expected to slow slightly in 2014, but future growth is expected to be strong. This is based on a rapidly growing middle class, strong expansion in intra-regional trade and massive investment in public infrastructure and urban development across the region over the next 20 years.
Over 60 delegates from 13 Asia Pacific countries have gathered in Krabi, Thailand for the 3rd Brokerslink Asia Pacific Regional Conference. Over two days presentations will be made by representatives of MSIG Insurance, QBE, Safety Insurance and seven Brokerslink members.