• The Insurance coverage Authority now only has about 300 staff members offered to get the job done and a headcount of in excess of 330, chairman says
  • Hong Kong’s insurance coverage sector is going through a expertise scarcity amid greater emigration, and corporations are poaching expertise from govt businesses

Hong Kong’s Coverage Authority is the most current monetary regulator to reveal it is facing a staff shortage, saying it is understaffed by nearly 10 for every cent as a end result of losing expertise to non-public insurers, according to chairman Stephen Yiu Kin-wah.

The authority at present has about 300 staff members customers, Yiu claimed, leaving far more than 30 vacancies that it is trying to find to fill. The insurance plan regulator missing 16 for every cent of its staff very last year, in contrast with 11 for each cent in 2020.

Yiu stated several non-public insurance coverage businesses use employees from the authority to fill vacancies. The industry’s expertise shortage is a consequence of emigration out of the metropolis, in accordance to Yiu, and recruiting new hires has turn into extra challenging since of vacation limitations and quarantine guidelines.

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Insurance Authority Chief Executive Clement Cheung Wan-ching (left) and Chairman Stephen Yiu Kin-wah meet with media in the authority's office in Wong Chuk Hang on May 26, 2022. Photo: SCMP/ Enoch Yiu


© Supplied by South China Early morning Publish
Insurance Authority Chief Government Clement Cheung Wan-ching (left) and Chairman Stephen Yiu Kin-wah fulfill with media in the authority’s place of work in Wong Chuk Hold on May possibly 26, 2022. Photograph: SCMP/ Enoch Yiu

“It is like musical chairs in that the really experienced insurance talents are the most sought after by all firms. This also impacts, the Insurance plan Authority’s choosing prepare,” Yiu mentioned. The authority is in the process of speaking about how to enhance employees gains to keep on being aggressive in attracting expertise, he additional.

The authority has misplaced most of its team among the actuaries and in its enforcement division, according to Chief Executive Clement Cheung Wan-ching.

“The Insurance policies Authority has stepped up its enforcement initiatives,” Cheung mentioned. “The insurance policies firms seek the services of the enforcement personnel of the authority so as to superior put together them selves in regulatory concerns,” Cheung claimed.

The Securities and Futures Fee (SFC), a further economic regulator, also lost 12 for every cent of its team past 12 months, in contrast with 5.1 for each cent in 2020, Chairman Tim Lui instructed lawmakers in February. The most major scarcity was in junior experienced staffing, which was down by 25 for each cent, he reported.

Many nearby banks in modern months also complained about team shortages. The stringent quarantine and vacation principles that are part of Hong Kong’s relentless pursuit of a “zero-Covid-19” policy have deterred guests and lower off a world-wide provide of proficient labour.

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The metropolis at the time adopted a 21-working day quarantine rule for travellers, which was reduced in April to seven times. On the other hand, that is nonetheless a lot more restrictive than other main fiscal centres this sort of as Singapore and the United kingdom, which have ended quarantines for site visitors.

Practically a 3rd of global insurance businesses in Hong Kong are contemplating downsizing their operations due to the fact of a shortage of talent exacerbated by the city’s demanding Covid-19 procedures, in accordance to a study by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) in February.

Some 30 per cent of respondents said they were being thinking about relocating their global and regional groups, leaving just the -employees targeted on the Hong Kong marketplace in the city.

Yiu said he understands insurers’ concerns, but he is self-confident that they will deliver their employees back again as soon as the city further more relaxes journey constraints. He expects insurance coverage gross sales to remain secure this year, following robust expansion last year.

Existence insurance coverage revenue in Hong Kong jumped 25 for every cent to HK$166.8 billion (US$21.3 billion) very last yr, the best since 2016, after insurance policies companies bolstered staff quantities by recruiting flight attendants laid off in the course of the pandemic.

“Insurance profits past 12 months have returned to the pre-Covid era in 2019,” Yiu stated. “Quite a few coverage corporations are launching new merchandise to goal domestic customers, which can help offset the decline of travel insurance plan and product sales to mainland guests.”

Robust gross sales continued in the initial quarter. HSBC Lifetime, AIA, Manulife and Prudential are amongst the major Hong Kong insurers seeing sturdy gross sales progress as the wave of the Omicron Covid variant has elevated health consciousness, boosting the change to electronic gross sales channels.

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This report initially appeared on the South China Morning Article (www.scmp.com), the foremost information media reporting on China and Asia.

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