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Leading insurer continues setting local industry standards with yet another Best General Insurance Company award

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Leading insurer continues setting local industry standards with yet another Best General Insurance Company award 1

Forte Insurance (Cambodia) PLC continued to set industry-leading benchmarks when the nation’s largest insurer was recognized as the Kingdom’s Best General Insurance Company for the fifth consecutive year.

Leading insurer continues setting local industry standards with yet another Best General Insurance Company award

Presented by acclaimed international magazine Global Banking & Finance Review, the award is again testament to Forte’s innovative personal and corporate products. These offerings, alongside a strong passion to develop the industry and a customer-first approach to business, have been the insurer’s guiding principles since setting up shop in the capital in 1998.

Today, as it celebrates its 20 th anniversary this year, Forte remains the local market share leader, having held that position since 2003. It currently commands a leading 45.6% share, with $39.5 million in total premiums in 2018.

To make its celebrations sweeter, Forte recently received its license to venture into life insurance via Forte Life Assurance (Cambodia) PLC. Another current highlight includes the acquisition of Tokojaya Lao Assurance Co. Ltd, which gave the insurer a foothold in Lao PDR.

“Being recognized by our peers and clients for five straight years is truly humbling and a great honor,” said CEO Charles Cheo. “We look forward to repaying their faith and support by making a greater difference in terms of value, innovation and overall customer experience.”

Cheo dedicated the award to Forte’s staff, some of whom have been with the company for over a decade.

“Quality customer-first products and services are only possible with dedicated and professional human resources,” he said. “We’re honored to work with people who combine local expertise, experience and insights to build long-term relationships with our clients, business partners and stakeholders.”

In 2019, Forte will aim to explore other regional markets while focusing on their core strengths – developing unique, localized offerings and creating further awareness of how insurance can positively impact the lives of Cambodians.

“We’re particularly excited about unveiling our new life insurance offering this year,” said Cheo. “With Forte Life Assurance, clients can expect a package that offers not only financial security and stability, but one that is also innovative, flexible and comprehensive.”

Global Banking & Finance Review awards are recognized throughout the global banking and financial community. Open to companies of all sizes, award winners are selected based on criterion that include innovation, achievement and strategy.

For more information on Forte Insurance, visit www.forteinsurance.com or call 023 885 077.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 2

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 3

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 4

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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