' As any sensible global player will tell you, it is wise to keep an eye on developing economies and make sure you are ideally placed to offer your services when the time is right.

Asia is developing rapidly, as are the opportunities it presents to the insurance industry.

At Lloyd's, we wanted to gain a better understanding of the Asian market and assess the views of local industry professionals on specific classes of business, looking at the level of awareness, degree of usage, and importance of each one.

We teamed up with the British Chambers of Commerce to research insurance trends within the region. This involved interviews with more than 300 Asian insurers, brokers and clients in nine territories including Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The resulting New Openings - quantifying opportunities in Asia provides guidance on shifting patterns in the Asian insurance market.

It is an 'insurance compass' pointing brokers and underwriters towards industry trends by territory and by class of business.

And it includes some good news for brokers. The research revealed that the demand for insurance brokers in the region is set for a significant increase in the next two years.

Almost a third of insurance companies seeking reinsurance and a fifth of insurance buyers in Asia expect to increase their use of brokers by the end of 2007, the research showed.

In some Asian markets, many insurance buyers have often gone directly to insurers to get coverage. But our research shows there is growing demand for specialist services offered by commercial brokers.

This is a sign that now is the time for brokers to convert the good work they have done in the region into sales. The research also earmarked four specialist classes of business for growth: marine cargo; product liability; directors and officers (D&O); and professional indemnity (PI).

Marine cargo is forecast to break the $1bn barrier, while the product liability market is expected to grow by 27%, moving quickly from a niche business class to one that represents a significant pool of premium income.

Premium from D&O and PI is also expected to have a quarter more premiums by 2007, reaching almost $400m.

As for Lloyd's, the market's presence in Asia has been growing steadily. Premium income from the region has doubled in the past five years to more than $2bn, and our premium income in the countries included in this study increased by two-thirds between 2000 and 2004 to $460m. IT

'Tony Egerton is Lloyd's president of Asia Pacific

A full copy of the "New Openings - quantifying opportunities in Asia" research can be seen at www.lloyds.com / research