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Geneva Assn. identifies key insurance industry issues


GENEVA—International insurance regulation, financial stability, climate change and demographics are the key future issues for the insurance industry, think tank the Geneva Assn. concludes.

During 2011, key decisions are slated on regulatory matters such as Solvency II, reforms to International Financial Reporting Standards and initiatives by the International Assn. of Insurance Supervisors, Patrick M. Liedtke, secretary general and managing director of the Geneva Assn., said in a statement.

“Getting this next wave of regulation right is critically important, not only for the industry, but also for continued economic growth and development,” he said.

Another key challenge for the insurance industry this year is to ensure that governments and lawmakers understand the differences between insurance companies and banks. The role of insurance companies that carry out potentially systemically risky activities must be addressed, Mr. Liedtke said.

“The key is to ensure that regulatory imprecision or overstretch do not hamstring a well-functioning industry and damage societal interest,” he said.

Longer-term challenges for the industry include climate change. “As well as providing protection, the insurance industry stands ready to play a more significant role in steering risk management and adaptation measures,” Mr. Liedtke said.

In addition, most societies face a demographic challenge, Mr. Liedtke said. The insurance industry, he said, can make important contributions to the debates surrounding longer life expectancy and the associated risks for health care systems and infrastructure challenges.