How Asia's growing middle class can drive growth in insurance

Insurtech Story Podcast

Jan 30 2023 • 23 mins

Despite economic challenges, the expanding middle class in Asia maintains its optimism, which creates substantial potential for the insurance sector. The top concerns for middleclass consumers are their health, happiness, and financial security. These clients will need more risk mitigation and protection goods and services as the region's economy prospers, which will open up significant growth potential for the insurance and reinsurance industries. In order to effectively tap into this significant insurance market sector, it is essential to understand the behaviour and tastes of the expanding Asian middle class. As these consumers start to amass wealth and begin to make preparations for their retirement and children's education, they require more insurance protection.

Points of discussion:

1. The GDP proportion of emerging Asia has dramatically expanded, rising from 5% in 1990 to an expected 26% in 2022 (As per IMF). The expanding middle class in Asia is evidently optimistic despite economic challenges. Do you see this to be a prospect for the re/insurance sector in the region as they begin to accumulate wealth and make plans for future retirement?

2. Customers' preferences are forcing insurers to give digital first the priority. Consumers in the region are open to purchasing insurance from new entrants, including those from outside the sector, and this is lead primarily by the young and digitally active. What is your expectation from this?

3. How you see regulators playing a major role in benefitting the middle class and insurance sector to bring more stability on the table, which is still an underlying concern in most of the Asian nations.

Speaker Bio: Roopa Malhotra, is the Head of Customer & Digital - Asia Pacific at Zurich Insurance. Before joining Zurich Group, Roopa was Head of Digital for Chubb Insurance in the Asia Pacific. Over the years in the industry, she has gained well-rounded expertise in different aspects, including Natural Catastrophe risk management, digital product development, and partnership management.

Roopa started her career in India as a financial analyst with the leading hedge fund - D.E. Shaw Group, before entering the insurance industry and holding positions with AIG and MSIG.

A passionate Diversity and Inclusion champion, Roopa was also recognised as one of the rising female leaders in the region by Insurance Business Asia in 2021.

Roopa holds an MBA in Finance with certifications in design thinking for innovation, and she is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business from the University of Cambridge. She also actively volunteers at organisations like ‘All Hands and Hearts’ for disaster relief and Singapore’s ‘Alzheimer's Disease Association’ and is a fitness enthusiast.