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Insurance in Asia: tantalizing but tough

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Firms are racing to get in on the Asian insurance market. It’s estimated that more than half of global premium growth from the region is expected in the next 10 years. That’s attracting the attention of Western insurers, including AIA, as well as domestic, but regulatory snags and a tilted playing field are among the hurdles insurers are encountering. Western firms are gaining ground by finding niches, such as wealth-management products. But the home-field advantage does not mean easy sailing for Asia-based insurers, many of which are feeling the pressure from shareholders for profits over growth.