Third SAARC Insurance Regulators meet will be held in Kathmandu.

Chairman of the Insurance Board Dr Fatta Bahadur K C has proposed to hold the next meeting of SAARC Insurance Regulators in Kathmandu during the two day meeting – that started yesterday – of the regional regulators in Karachi.

The members unanimously agreed to hold the third SAARC Insurance Regulators meeting in Kathmandu.

The last day of the second SAARC Insurance Regulator Forum meeting today also awarded Pakistan the chairmanship of SAARC Insurance Regulator Forum and Commissioner Insurance of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Mohammed Asif Arif has been appointed as the chairman of the SAARC Insurance Regulators Forum.

The forum will serve as the centre for all activities for extending support and cooperation among the SAARC member countries.

The second SAARC Insurance Regulators’ meet and International conference started with the Insurance Regulators’ Meet yesterday attended by the representatives of insurance regulatory authorities of SAARC countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives. Apart from SAARC countries Afghanistan, Turkey and Kenya also attended the event.

The meeting aimed at promoting regional cooperation and support in the field of insurance regulation and supervision.

The meeting also formed two committees from the SAARC countries, each with the task of proposing structure of the secretariat, and presenting areas of cooperation, respectively. The committees are expected to present their report within next three months and can be finalised and executed by the end of six months.

The delegates from the development organisations like World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the GIZ, Germany also attended the meeting

South Asian region is still viewed as an under insured market with huge potential due to its expanding middle class and rising income levels.

While there is increasing competition from a few domestic players, who have been able to improve their market share at the expense of international players, many domestic companies are not well capitalised and lack the scale to develop new and innovative products.

However, in terms of insurance sector development opportunities for expanding access to insurance for the masses, the areas of focus in the coming years are expected to be in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), disaster risk financing, pensions, health, food security, public private partnerships, alternative distribution channels and mobile technology.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been promoting the three I’s – Innovation, Inclusion, and Integration – as ways of moving the development agenda forward. “Innovation is not new to Asia, or to the area insurance.” the ADB said, adding that references to the concept of insurance can be traced to the Indus valley civilisation. “Not only retail insurance clients, but also many SMEs are attracted by the ideas and ideals of insurance. Supporting innovation should also include permitting tailor-made products to be offered by different insurers which take care of individual client needs and packaged distribution of products offered by different insurers using modern technology.”

For enhancing access to insurance there needs to be the financial awareness for people to choose wisely, it said. “It revolves around trust -whether in the regulatory structure or the system itself. Implementation of all three ‘I’s’ –innovation, inclusion, and integration – under the umbrella of a proportionate regulatory regime is central to building access to insurance across the region.

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