Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from Lloyd's, Zurich, Bupa and more.
Lloyd’s CEO Beale to leave next year
Lloyd’s CEO, Inga Beale, is to step down in 2019 after a five-year tenure at the helm of the Corporation.
Inga joined Lloyd’s at the beginning of 2014, becoming the market’s first ever female chief executive in its now 332-year history.
Lloyd’s applauded her commitment to transformation across the market since then, and within the Corporation, which it said had led to significant cultural change and the adoption of new technology that has accelerated the market’s modernisation and digitalisation.
Beale has also been a strong advocate of improving diversity and inclusion across the global (re)insurance sector, founding initiatives such as Inclusion@Lloyd’s in 2013, which is now celebrated annually via the Dive in festival.
Before being named Lloyd’s CEO, Beale was previously group chief executive of Canopius. Prior to that, she spent four years with Zurich Insurance Group as global chief underwriting officer. Beale has also held senior roles at Swiss reinsurer Converium and GE Insurance Solutions, having started her career at Prudential.
“Inga will leave Lloyd’s with a strengthened reputation as one of the most respected and trusted insurance brands in the world, with a strong and experienced leadership team focused on delivering Lloyd’s strategic priorities,” the Corporation said in a statement.
News of her departure comes just a year after Bruce Carnegie-Brown was appointed chairman, and months after Lloyd’s reported a pre-tax loss of £2bn for 2017 that was partly fuelled by heavy natural catastrophe losses in the US and Caribbean.
Beale said that the decision to leave had been a tough one, and that she would “miss the energy, innovative spirit and expertise that I come across every working day.”
“Leading Lloyd’s is an honour and I am proud to have played a part in ensuring that it remains relevant and fit for purpose for the future. The world trusts Lloyd’s to be there when it matters the most and I believe it is well placed for the next 330 years,” she said.
Meanwhile, Carnegie-Brown said: “In her five years at Lloyd’s, Inga has set in motion a series of changes aimed at modernising the market and making it more efficient and inclusive.
“Her boldness and persistence have generated the momentum required to bring about real change. I have very much enjoyed working with Inga, and I am grateful for the support she has given me in my first year as chairman.”
Lloyd’s said that Beale’s departure date was yet to be confirmed, and that a search for her successor was under way.
Zurich names Plant as CEO of general insurance, Australia & New Zealand
Zurich Australian Insurance Limited, a division of global insurer Zurich, has appointed Tim Plant as the CEO of general insurance, Australia & New Zealand.
Plant joins the firm from icare, where he was most recently group executive of insurance for NSW- the largest public sector self-insurer in Australia.
Before this he held positions at the likes of; QBE, Swiss Re, Sydney Re, QBR Re (London), and Australian Eagle Insurance.
Chris Waterman, CEO ad interim, will continue to oversee the company’s general insurance operations until Plant’s commencement which remains subject to regulatory approvals. Following Plant’s commencement, Waterman will transition to his regional responsibilities as head of commercial insurance, based in Singapore.
Jack Howell, Zurich Asia Pacific CEO, commented: “Tim brings significant industry experience and a strong focus on innovation and customer centricity. I’m confident that his enthusiasm and leadership will add to the positive momentum we are seeing across our Australian General Insurance business, and I look forward to working with him to bring the best of Zurich to our customers and partners.”
Plant added: “I’m delighted to be joining Zurich at a time when the general insurance business is on a strong trajectory and enjoying a unique position in the intermediated insurance market. I’m excited about working with Zurich’s executive team and people to keep improving this business and the service and propositions it delivers to its broker partners and customers.”
Bupa Hong Kong names Merrilees as general manager
Bupa Hong Kong has appointed Andrew Merrilees as its new general manager.
In his new role, Merrilees will focus on leading the company towards excellent customer experience by innovating around comprehensive health solutions in Hong Kong, and driving growth performance across the business.
He also sits on the Board of Bupa (Asia) Limited.
Merrilees boasts over 25 years of experience across insurance and broker businesses in Australia and Singapore. Before joining Bupa, Merrilees led Lockton’s regional employee benefits business across Asia Pacific. He has also previously held senior leadership roles with global consultants Aon and health insurer businesses, GU Health and MBF, which is now part of Bupa Australia.
His appointment is currently in the process of being approved after vetting at this stage.
Swiss Re establishes thermal coal policy to support transition to a low-carbon economy
Swiss Re has begun implementing its thermal coal policy announced in June 2017, meaning they will not provide re/insurance to businesses with more than 30 percent exposure to thermal coal across all lines of business.
This is a further step in refining Swiss Re’s approach to managing carbon-related sustainability risks and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. The decision to develop a thermal coal policy was based on Swiss Re’s commitment to the “Paris Pledge for Action“ in 2015, when Swiss Re affirmed its strong commitment to the effort to limit global warming to 1.5°C – 2°C above pre-industrial levels. As a result, Swiss Re supports a progressive and structured move away from fossil fuels.
The group-wide thermal coal policy is an integral part of Swiss Re’s Sustainability Risk Framework. Swiss Re consistently uses this framework for all underwriting and investment activities as to minimise sustainability risks.
The thermal coal policy applies to both existing and new thermal coal mines and power plants, and is executed across all lines of business and Swiss Re’s global scope of operations.
The 30 percent threshold applied is in line with the thresholds on the investment side. To contribute to a low carbon environment and actively mitigate the risk of “stranded“ assets, Swiss Re already by the beginning of 2016 stopped investing in companies that generate 30 percent or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining or that use at least 30 percent thermal coal for power generation, and Swiss Re divested from existing holdings.
Moreover, Swiss Re consistently integrates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria in its investment process and was among the first re/insurance companies to switch to ESG benchmarks for its actively managed equities and credit portfolios. At the same time, Swiss Re is convinced that improving energy efficiency and developing low-carbon technologies, including insurance coverages and investments in renewable energy sources, are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and securing future energy supplies.
Swiss Re’s group chief underwriting officer (CUO), Edi Schmid commented: “The implementation of the coal policy is a major step forward in ensuring that our business activities are aligned with the Paris Agreement and related national efforts. We are working with our clients to find the best solutions that enable them to adapt to a low-carbon economy.”
McLarens expands in Asia with Malaysian operation
McLarens, a global loss adjuster specialising in complex, commercial and niche markets has expanded its Asia Pacific footprint by opening a new office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In line with its strategy of operating in key regional markets across the globe, the move will establish a platform for growth in one of Asia’s largest loss adjusting markets.
McLarens already operates in 12 other countries across the Asia Pacific region and recently announced the appointments of three aviation adjusters, James Pryor and Graham Raggett have joined the team in Singapore and Jerry Qin has become the aviation loss adjuster’s first full time presence in Shanghai.
Spearheading the new Malaysian operation will be general manager, Veknesh Subramaniam.
Subramaniam has 19 years of experience in the loss adjusting field and is a well-known adjuster in the Malaysian insurance market. Prior to joining McLarens in 2017, he worked with a number of local adjusting firms in Malaysia, managing large portfolios for local and global insurers, brokers and corporate clients. He has experience in handling multi-million dollar losses involving fire, explosion, liability, engineering, plant & machinery, equipment, fidelity guarantee as well as various other types of claims for both commercial and industrial losses.
Commenting on the new operation, Chris Panes, COO Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, said: “McLarens has been active in Malaysia for some time, however as one of the largest insurance markets in the region, and with increasing demand from clients, it’s become increasingly clear that we require a full time presence in the country. Veknesh is ideally placed for this role – he’s recognised for his leadership in Malaysia and we’re delighted to have him leading our Malaysian operations.”
Several reinsurers plan to establish reinsurance blockchain platform
China Re, Hannover Re, General Reinsurance Corporation and Zhong An have announced plans to establish a joint reinsurance blockchain platform.
Apart from the efficiency benefits of blockchain, the parties outlined two reasons for the development.
Firstly, insurers have complete information, but the reinsurer has very limited data about transactions. Secondly, the limited transactional data available to reinsurers results in operational risk for them, a report said.
The net effect is reinsurers lack confidence in the information they have, hence they charge more. As a result, this limits the take up of reinsurance in China.
By using blockchain, reinsurers can gain visibility into insurers’ transactions.
China Re Group and ZhongAn Technology have completed a proof of concept (PoC) with other partners already. This helped them verify the feasibility and benefits of a blockchain reinsurance platform. The PoC sounded unusually wide-ranging, covering negotiation and contracting, reinsurance, document exchange, claims processing, and integration into a multi-chain trading ecosystem. The Shanghai bureau of the CBIRC is leading the project.