In the first twenty days of August, the state of Kerala in southern India received rainfall that was 164 percent above the average. This rain built on very wet antecedent conditions, July had seen rainfall about 40 percent above average. As a result, to manage the flood waters, state authorities were forced to open 80 dams in the region, including the Idukki dam, one of the largest arch dams in Asia. Overall, this resulted in massive flooding, displacing millions of people while claiming the lives of more than 350 citizens, destroying trees and crops and severely disrupting tourism with the closure of Cochin International airport.
During January, I had the honor of leading a panel discussion at the Eleventh India Rendezvous in Mumbai and was joined by four senior-level executives from leading reinsurers and insurers.
My panelists included (pictured above, seated from left to right): G Satish Raju, Head of South Asia Global Partnerships for Swiss Re; Girija Subramanian, Deputy General Manager at India’s largest domestic reinsurer GIC Re; Amitava Gupta, Lead – Commercial Lines Claims at SBI General Insurance Company Ltd. and Rekha Gopalkrishnan, Deputy General Manager at The New India Assurance.
Across the whole conference, there was much talk about the growth potential in India, with reports stating that the insurance market could quadruple in ten years. But with the economy growing fast, insurance penetration remains a challenge — with a non-life insurance penetration rate hovering around one percent compared to a global average of six percent.