Insurance and Financial Industry Trends Explained

Both the insurance and financial industry trends of the early twenty-first century were dramatically re-shaped by the global financial meltdown of 2008 to 2010. Not only did the international crisis lead to the demise of several esteemed institutions, but it shifted perceived notions of the success of Western capitalist ideals. All over the world governments implemented new plans of intervention, however this was tempered by an over-arching pragmatic ideal that removes regulation quickly based on the domestic status.

One of the big concerns of modern corporations is the issue of responsibility and accountability regarding social and environmental decisions. Ernst & Young have printed a white paper showing that in 2010, there was a rise in shareholder resolutions which specifically emphasized the environment or similar issues of company accountability. Last year saw 191 resolutions over the 150 in the previous year.

Many analysts claim issues of social responsibility and a greater awareness of the environment are soon to be the main priorities of corporations in the United States. Shareholder resolutions with a specific focus on these issues have been increasingly raised at annual general meetings for the past six years. Recently 26% of the shareholders of ExxonMobil told the company to be more transparent to the public regarding its extraction process, claimed by critics to harm the environment.

The financial crisis has ushered in new corporate attitudes towards unfettered growth. No longer is the emphasis on meeting unfeasible growth projections, but rather on the sustainability of corporate growth over the long term. While also linked to environmental goals, sustainability is the ability of a company to maintain growth without artificially straining for it.

An unrestrained pursuit of growth in order to meet unreasonable targets has been the downfall of many corporations. Projections were based on market and region expectations that were rushed and could not survive in the shifting economic landscape. However, the strategy of sustaining growth demands strong leaders who can reset investor aspirations and can recognize where new drivers of growth will start.

The series of natural catastrophes at the start of 2011 is expected by many to raise insurances rates worldwide. Disasters in Australia, Japan and New Zealand were tragic occurrences that hugely increased the number of claims.

Lloyds of London, the largest insurance market in the world, said the series of disasters such as earthquakes and floods were likely to firm up insurance rates as companies look to recoup their losses. Caitlin, one of the largest insurers operating in the market, said a broad rise in rates across the market would be expected due to the high number of catastrophe losses in the first quarter of 2011.

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