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EC News Asia Edition (22nd August 2018)

  • Publish Date: Posted over 5 years ago
  • Author:by Alan Jarque

Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from Willis Towers Watson, Peak Re, Nat Re and more.

Willis Towers Watson appoints head of M&A transaction solutions

Willis Towers Watson has appointed Terence Montgomery as head of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transaction solutions in Asia Pacific, effective immediately.

Based in Hong Kong, Montgomery will partner and support companies in this region by providing valuable solutions, including warranty & indemnity, tax and contingent risk insurance, that allow the transferring of liability to facilitate M&A transactions.

Montgomery’s appointment is part of Willis Towers Watson’s continued and significant investment in the M&A space within the financial & executive risks (FINEX) line of business in the corporate risk & broking services.

He will report to Namit Mahajan, head of FINEX Asia and Alex Keville, M&A practice leader, FINEX.

Changes to Peak Re’s board of directors

Peak Re has appointed Li Tao as chairman of the board, Chen Kaihong as executive director and Yuan Xi as non-executive director, all effective from 27 July 2018.

In addition to taking their seats on the board, they will all serve as members of various board committees of Peak Re.

Tao, an existing non-executive director of Peak Re, is the vice president at Fosun International and CEO of Fosun Insurance Group. He has experience of managing financial lines, actuarial, investments and overseas insurance business. Prior to joining Fosun International, he held several senior positions at China Taiping Insurance Group. 

Kaihong serves as the chief financial officer (CF0) of Peak Re, overseeing the company’s financial and operational management. She has over 18 years’ of accounting and financial experience in both the insurance and reinsurance industry. Prior to joining Peak Re, she held several senior positions at renowned insurance organisations including Lloyd’s Beijing representative office and Swiss Re. 

Xi is the CFO of the Fosun Insurance Group. She has knowledge and experience in the insurance and reinsurance sectors, specialising in actuarial and risk management. Before joining Fosun International, Xi held several senior positions in various insurance and reinsurance companies.

Shanghai court rejects appeal from ex-Anbang chairman

A Shanghai court has rejected an appeal by Anbang Insurance Group former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, against a conviction for fundraising fraud and embezzlement that led to an 18-year jail sentence and confiscation of CNY10.5bn ($1.52bn), reports Reuters.

In a statement, the Shanghai High People's Court said: "The evidence was solid and sufficient. The conviction was accurate. The sentencing was appropriate."

In May, Xiaohui was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court saw Xiaohui guilty of issuing false disclosures to regulators and diverting insurance premiums for his personal use. The court also confiscated 10.5bn yuan ($1.65bn) in assets.

Xiaohui reportedly contested the charges against him on the first day of his trial but later shifted tone as he asked the court for leniency.

Xiaohui led the insurer as it became one of China’s most aggressive dealmakers with a series of major overseas acquisitions.

In February, the Chinese government seized control of Anbang in an attempt to curtail big-spending conglomerates as it cracked down on financial risk.

Later in April, the China Banking Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) approved a plan to inject ¥60.804bn ($9.65bn) of capital into the company while seeking new investors.

In June 2018 the Chinese government took full ownership of Anbang as the CBIRC approved the transfer of 98.23 percent of Anbang to China Insurance Security Fund.

In July it was rumoured that Anbang was exploring the sale of Belgian insurer Fidea, which would be the first European divestment by the troubled Chinese group since it was seized by the government.

Nat Re appoints new president & CEO

Nat Re has named Allan Rossi Santos as its new president and CEO, succeeding Augusto Hidalgo who is departing the company to pursue new career opportunities.

Before the appointment, Santos was Nat Re’s executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) overseeing finance, investments, data and analytics, technology, human resources and office services.

Santos boasts over 25 years of experience in local and international insurance/reinsurance markets in the US, Asia and Europe. He is a Fellow of both the Actuarial Society of Philippines and the Society of Actuaries (US) and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

During his term as president and CEO, which started in 2014, Hidalgo led efforts to transform the company into a more customer-centric organisation and initiated measures that strengthened the company’s technical capabilities. He grew the business both in terms of topline and bottomline.

Santos commented: “We will continue to build on our achievements thus far to meet new milestones, conquer more challenges, and provide better services to our clients, partners, and shareholders.”

He added: “We look forward to further strengthening the business and expanding our horizons.”

ZhongAn Technology creates first one-stop claims service platform for insurers

ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary ZhongAn Technology has launched China's first one-stop claims service e-platform for insurers.

The largest foreign P&C insurer in China, AXA Tianping, has become the first insurance company to join this intelligent open platform for insurers.

The platform adopts SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) for insurance claims services and brings more convenient, accurate and efficient insurance data services at a lower cost to the domestic insurance market. It helps insurance companies considerably reduce the costs of system development and operation.

In the medical insurance field, ZhongAn Technology has accumulated data covering 70 percent of the latest medical insurance directory and 180,000 drug databases, with connections to hundreds of hospitals across the country. Building on this foundation, ZhongAn Technology launched the service platform based on in-depth analysis, consolidation and value exploration of medical data.

AXA Tianping chief claims office, Yang Yong, believes the platform will facilitate innovative upgrading of insurance claims services, which will better answer the needs of the market.

By introducing the platform, ZhongAn Technology helps insurers by; providing direct access to medical records from medical institutions, offering simple and convenient online services with a comprehensive medical insurance repository, facilitating appropriate compensation by insurance companies and providing risk management services covering claims.

At present, ZhongAn Technology has signed agreements with 10 insurers, including Hengqin Life Insurance, Jixiang Life Insurance, and some third party health insurance management companies. Over 300 claims reviews are conducted on a daily basis by each of the insurance companies.

Meanwhile, ZhongAn Technology is co-operating with a few provincial health and family planning commissions to provide medical data management and claims services for over 100 hospitals nationwide, as well as consolidating resources of health examination providers to offer a comprehensive and quality service experience for China’s insurance industry. Furthermore, ZhongAn Technology has worked closely with more than 30 medical resources channels including hospital information systems providers like Hangzhou Venture and Winning, covering medical institutions in first and second tier cities in China.

StarStone launches Australian casualty consortium

StarStone has launched a new casualty consortium targeted at the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The consortium is led by StarStone’s Mark Hunt and has begun underwriting, effective immediately.

StarStone’s Lloyd’s coverholder in Australia (StarStone Underwriting Australia Pty Limited) underwrites this facility on behalf of a consortium of Lloyd’s syndicates. StarStone supports the venture with a 20 per cent lead line, with equal shares from its four Lloyd’s Syndicate partners providing the remaining capacity.

The consortium will initially offer AUD 50mn capacity and focus on middle-market casualty risks not usually underwritten in London. StarStone will also provide claims support for the consortium through its established and professional claims network in Australia and New Zealand.

Robin Barham, managing director of StarStone Australia, said: “We have identified clear market and broker demand for a solution that combines Lloyd’s expertise and local knowledge in Australia and New Zealand. StarStone has been building our presence in the region for some time, and, with experts like Mark leading the way, we can harness the strengths of Lloyd’s to focus on providing exceptional client service.”

Mark Hunt, casualty underwriter at StarStone Australia, commented: “The consortium supports a truly tailored and client-centric approach to decision-making in the local market, allowing brokers and customers to transact deals as if they were in the underwriting room at Lloyds in London.  I believe the collective expertise of those involved in this consortium will significantly increase the local capabilities and profile of Lloyd’s within the casualty space.”

URS appoints Pedro Benedicto Jr as representative in Philippines

Ultimate Risk Solutions (URS) announced the appointment of Pedro Benedicto as its Philippine representative, reflecting the company’s commitment to the Philippine insurance industry.

Having a representative in the market ensures that client needs are immediately responded to.

Benedicto has a PhD in insurance and risk management and is also a candidate for doctor of business administration. He is also the founding and current chairman of the Society of Risk Management Professionals, Inc.

He has over thirty years of experience in the non-life insurance industry in the Philippines with more than a decade of CEO experience. He has served the industry in various industry associations in various capacities as chairman or director/ trustee.

Mileage based motor policies to make debut

PICC, Ping An, Sunshine and ZhongAn are set to have "pay as you drive" motor policies approved by the China Banking Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC).

The mileage based motor policies of the four property insurers recently passed a review by the Insurance Association of China (IAC).

Once approved, a pilot scheme for “pay as you drive” motor policies will be implemented in Guangxi, Shaanxi and Qinghai, reports Shanghai Securities News.

This is regarded by the insurance industry as a milestone breakthrough in the domestic auto insurance arena.

By 2020 predictions are that the market share of mileage based motor insurance will not be lower than 20-25 percent , with the annual premium volume between CNY250bn ($37bn) and CNY300bn.

The introduction of mileage based motor insurance means that pricing of auto insurance will see some innovation. The traditional pricing model with a single dimension will be broken. The new system will benefit not only those who have low mileage but also provide opportunities for small and medium sized insurers.

Several factors favour the implementation of “pay as you drive” motor policies. Firstly, the increasingly tight traffic environment in large cities in China provides a market for mileage based insurance. Secondly, telematics and technological advances such as the Internet of Things and sensor technology provide the foundation for motor insurance innovation as well as more precise auto insurance pricing.