Introduction to our operating environment

Economic conditions, geopolitics and social factors can have an effect on our profitability, operations and reputation. We cannot always control what happens in our operating environment but we can be prepared. This starts with identifying the biggest issues affecting our business. We call these our material issues.

Material issues

Aging and changing demographics

Never before has our planet contained so many older people – who account for such a large percentage of the total population. This places substantial pressure on publicly funded health and pension payments, but it also offers opportunities. A larger, and longer-living population, is increasing demand for retirement products.

Material issues

Economic and financial uncertainty

Economic and financial uncertainty remains, driven by several factors: a weaker economic recovery in the US and in Europe than in previous post-crisis periods, a deceleration of growth in China, extraordinary monetary policies, political populism, and Brexit.

Material issues

Increased regulation in financial services

The impact of regulatory changes – such as taxation, or rules governing savings – affect how insurers price and sell products and manage their risks. Changes can bring new competition; they can also open up new markets.

Material issues

Low interest rates

Ever since the financial crisis, consistently low interest rates have been the norm. This has an impact on our customers, our revenue and our earnings.

New technologies and digital transformation

Technology is simplifying the way customers approach and understand financial services, and it provides opportunities for distribution, more personalized experiences and meaningful relationships.