The insurance industry is failing to react quickly enough to the fast-evolving digital world around it.

That was one of the key messages that came out of ‘Vision: View from the top’, the first panel at the Dubai World Insurance Congress (DWIC).

Tysers chief executive Clive Buesnel said: “I am worried about the pace of change. I do not think it is fast enough.

“I think change is too slow and we can do more to speed that up.”

His concern was shared by Steve Postlewhite, managing director QBE Re, who questioned whether the industry ‘was reacting quick enough’.

However, the rush to digitalisation had led to quite a few false dawns for companies, Dr Cornielle Karekezi, chief executive of Africa Re, said.

“It is clear that there is a huge waste of energy, sometimes, as everyone wants to do his own thing.

“Everyone is rushing to put money in a lot of solutions and applications which are sometimes short-lived. There is a lot of sense in working together as an industry and regulators will have to contribute to that.”

Salmaan Jaffery, chief business development officer at Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA), said insurance only accounted for around 20% of the emirate’s financial services.

He said banking was ahead of insurance in technology.

Jaffery said there was a great opportunity in Dubai for insurers to work with the DIFCA to solve technological and customer challenges.

“We would love to figure out a way to partner with an insurer or attacker to solve one of these problems with us.”

The discussion also touched on pricing.

Asked whether insurance was in a hard market, Buesnel said: “We are not in a hard market. Some of us remember the last one and this isn’t one of those. It is a differentiated market. It is differentiated by geography and product.”

Postlewhite said pricing varied, but some classes were going up significantly.