EP 226 – Bernhard Kotanko – McKinsey & Company – Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Value in Asia’s P&C Insurance Market


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Bernhard Kotanko leads McKinsey & Company's insurance work in Asia, serving financial services companies across Asia–Pacific, mainly in Greater China, Singapore, India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. With 20 years of experience across multiple functional areas, Bernhard has led many large-scale transformational programs and advised senior management teams on topics including operating models, digitizing distribution channels, redesigning customer engagement and experience models, and innovating value propositions. Bernhard is often quoted in the media about pressing issues in the insurance industry. He also frequently authors papers on insurance topics and speaks at industry conferences. Bernhard has studied at universities in Europe, Canada, and the United States and has worked in more than 30 countries before settled in Hong Kong, where he lives with his wife and their three daughters.

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“Asia, of course, is a construct of many, many geographies. And each geography is very different…I see a real opportunity to leapfrog and not go through all the stages… Here in Asia, you can make markets, you can create markets.” – Bernhard Kotanko

In this second episode of the Asia InsurTech Podcast featuring Bernhard Kotanko, a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, we do a deep dive into the future of Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance in Asia. Amidst a backdrop of rapid technological advancements and evolving societal needs, Bernhard explores the untapped potential within the region’s P&C insurance sector, examining the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As emerging markets in Asia show significantly lower insurance penetration compared to their GDP growth, Bernhard sheds light on the need for innovative solutions to bridge this gap. From the rise of digital and embedded insurance to the integration of AI for better risk management, this episode navigates the complex landscape of insurance in Asia, discussing how technology continues to reshape the industry.

Bernhard addresses distribution, insurance literacy, and the impact of new risks like cyber threats and climate change on the sector. This conversation balances the technical with the transformative and explores how the P&C Insurance market in Asia is poised for a leap into the future, driven by innovation and a deeper understanding of customer needs. 

McKinsey & Company’s “Global Insurance Report: The Future of Asia P&C Insurance” can be downloaded here.

Episode 305