We have enjoyed a relatively vibrant start to 2017, which is likely to be the most competitive we have seen in many years. Prices are very low and we have almost more competing markets than ever. Last year left many carriers and brokers licking their wounds. In positive fashion, some were out of the blocks quickly for 2017 in Q1 and the majority have not enjoyed a very successful Q2.
There has been some early movement already this year and there is likely to be a few more changes ahead as we understand. It is after all musical chair season, which is typically caused by some small bonus packets and some exciting growth areas creating new opportunities.
AIG were hit across their Asia liability and financial line practice with numerous resignations, which Berkshire Hathaway (again) profited from on the back of this with many of those joining Warren Buffett’s global carrier.
Standard Chartered’s coveted bancassurance partnership has made news as it gears up for a shift from long standing Japanese giant MSIG to the German flagship carrier Allianz (AGCS).
It is an exciting shift toward the retail market that will drive some market share towards the Germans. The new team is being assembled and we can expect a roll out very soon.
Sompo Re will migrate its business functions from Hong Kong to Singapore as we have been informed. Reinsurance in HK is a hot topic with the emerging China market and Singaporean hubs shrinking a lot of the reinsurer businesses operations here in Hong Kong.
Let us rewind to the turn of the year and the leadership announcement for HK’s newest Syndicate, Navigators, which will boast a North Asian experienced team with the majority now in place.
Zurich have laid out their final structure to fuse their entities. The new simplified commercial division will be split across Singapore and Hong Kong over three market segments; casualty headed by Penny Seach, speciality led by Alex Morgan who is moving over from Japan, while Chris Waterman will lead property. Deputising are Echo Chen, Tim Warren and Geoff Gilmore, respectively.
Ironshore have been bought by American outfit Liberty Mutual and the carrier will now mull over how, or if the business will be integrated or if they continue to compete on three fronts. Phoenix Underwriters, which operates in the marine insurance market on the Lloyd’s platform, have been acquired by MS Amlin and have hired Timothy Chan, ex XL Catlin, to lead its hull book across Asia.
Allied World has seen Canadian's Fairfax confirm its takeover and the Sompo and Endurance merger over in Singapore has also been popular news.
Peter Hancock has parted ways with AIG, Carnegie-Brown is in at Lloyd’s as chairman.
Closer to home we have seen Mark Johnson return from his spell with AIG Canada and leading British broker JLT in Thailand with a new role at FP Marine.
Rob Leonardi has exchanged French insurer AXA for the Italian composite insurer Generali, stepping up from his regional health and EB role to regional CEO.
Kevin Angelini moved from Generali to Willis Towers Watson (WTW), Alpesh Tosar has relocated to HK from Singapore as head of broking at WTW and Ben Chung will become reacquainted with a carrier taking over as general manager for underwriting at Bank of China Group Insurance.
Global head of trade credit at QBE, Richard Wulff has also moved back to Europe and left the business.
The competitive market prices will test many. We will all watch as the new hires, new structures and those more settled battle for business. There are rumours of more carriers on their way; Great American is getting closer and there could be further movement from ASEAN to North Asia for some of the Lloyd’s players.
Keeping with Lloyd’s, we also welcomed Inga Beale to Hong Kong for the first time as the Lloyd’s CEO. She chaired a discussion and gave a keynote speech at the recent successful Lloyd’s market day, with a large audience demonstrating the growing interest and importance of the emerging Asian market within insurance.
We can now look towards the second half of 2017 and what it will bring…
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