Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from FWD Group, Generali, QBE and more.
FWD appoints Schimek as managing director and group COO
FWD Group has named Robert Schimek as managing director and group chief operating officer (COO).
Schimek has international leadership experience in the global insurance industry, most recently serving as CEO of AIG’s global commercial insurance business where he was responsible for the company’s global property, casualty, financial lines and specialty products and services.
Prior to this Schimek was CEO of the Americas for AIG, responsible for its insurance operations in the US, Canada, and Latin America. Before that, he served as president and CEO of Europe, the Middle East & Africa where he managed all aspects of its insurance business for the region.
Schimek previously served as the chief financial officer (CFO) of AIG’s global property casualty business.
Before joining AIG, he was a partner at Deloitte & Touche where he worked for 18 years.
Commenting on the appointment, FWD Group CEO, Huynh Thanh Phong said: “We’re delighted to expand our executive leadership team with such a great international talent as Rob. His extensive knowledge and experience in the global insurance industry will make him an invaluable source of insight and additional leadership to FWD. Rob will work closely with myself and our Group executive team to build on our successful expansion and future growth.”
Schimek said: “I’m looking forward to embracing the opportunities ahead together with FWD’s energetic and accomplished team. As one of the fastest growing insurers in Asia, FWD has a compelling vision to change the way people feel about insurance. This vision and the values of the company resonated strongly with me, and I’m thrilled to be coming on board at this exciting time in FWD’s journey.”
Generali names replacement as CFO exits
Generali has named Cristiano Borean as group CFO, succeeding Luigi Lubelli who departs the company to pursue “other professional challenges.”
Borean, who currently serves as Generali France CFO, will become a member of the group management committee next month.
As well as a new CFO, the insurer will also see some further changes with a new organisational restructure which has been approved by the board of directors after being proposed by group chief executive Philippe Donnet.
These changes include two new roles which are; a general manager role which will be assumed by Frédéric de Courtois and a CEO international role taken on by Jaime Anchùstegui Melgarejo.
De Courtois will be responsible for these areas of the group head office: group CFO, group chief marketing & customer officer, group mergers & acquisitions, group strategy & business accelerator, and group operations & insurance.
Melgarejo will be in charge of operating companies and the regions.
Both new positions are directly under the group CEO.
Lastly, the restructure will involve the reorganisation of the global business lines & international structure resulting in the reallocation of duties meaning the country manager, Italy, Marco Sesana will be overseeing global corporate & commercial, Generali employee benefits, and Generali global health, while country manager France Jean-Laurent Granier will manage the Europ Assistance Group.
Donnet commented: “The new organisational structure will allow us to reach our objectives, making our group more efficient and leveraging on the quality of our management team,”
“On behalf of the group, I would like to thank Luigi Lubelli for his commitment to Generali in these years and, on a personal note, would like to thank him for supporting me.
“I wish Luigi all of the professional success he deserves in the future.”
QBE sells travel insurance business to nib
QBE Insurance is selling its travel insurance business to health insurer nib holdings (nib), following a review of QBE Travel and its alignment to QBE’s strategic priorities, the company said.
The transaction, which is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2019, includes 150 employees who will be offered roles with nib.
Nib provides health and medical insurance to more than one million Australian and New Zealand residents and also operates travel insurance distributor World Nomads Group.
QBE Australia and New Zealand CEO, Vivek Bhatia, said the move was consistent with the insurer’s approach to building a stronger and simpler QBE.
Bhatia said: “While we’re proud of our long history in this market and strong industry partnerships, we felt that this was the best outcome for our customers and business partners as we simplify and strengthen our business.”
“In nib we have found a buyer who is looking to grow their travel insurance business and they saw a great opportunity to deliver that through this acquisition. We believe nib is a good natural fit given their commitment to the travel market and the obvious synergies with health insurance,” Bhatia added.
“While we expect the deal to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, we will continue to trade as normal throughout that transition period. There is no impact to customers and they can continue to travel knowing they are backed by the same great service they have come to expect,” he said.
PNB MetLife India Insurance applies for IPO
PNB MetLife India Insurance, which is among India's top 10 life insurers by market share, has filed a draft prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), for an initial public offering (IPO).
PNB MetLife's majority shareholder is the state owned lender Punjab National Bank. Other shareholders are MetLife and other corporate bodies and institutional shareholders.
The IPO comprises a sale of 495.89mn shares by several shareholders and will represent around a 24.6 percent stake on a post-issue basis, the draft prospectus shows, reports Indiainfoline.
This includes a sale of up to 80.5mn shares by Punjab National Bank, 129mn by Metlife International, 107.6mn by M Pallonji & Company, 76.6mn by Elpro International, 19.1mn by IGE (India), 76.6mn by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and 6.2mn shares by Manimaya Holdings, the draft prospectus states.
These shareholders currently own; 30 percent, 26 percent, 9.98 percent, 12.75 percent, 8.58 percent, 5.08 percent, and 0.45 percent, respectively of the life joint venture.
The IPO has already received the approval of the IRDAI.
When the IPO is launched, PNB MetLife will become the fourth life insurance company in India to list on stock exchanges.
ICICI Prudential Life became the first life insurer in India to go public when it was listed last year followed by HDFC Life and SBI Life.
AXA announces duo of appointments
AXA Insurance Singapore has appointed Adrian Goh as its new chief risk and compliance officer and a member of the executive committee, as former chief risk and compliance officer, Bruno Pinson, takes on his new role as director, finance operations.
Pinson led the risk function in Singapore from 2013, and added legal and compliance to his portfolio in 2016.
During this time, he successfully established the enterprise risk management framework to provide a consistent understanding and approach to managing risk, and was instrumental in promoting and embedding a positive risk culture at AXA Singapore.
Goh joins AXA from Manulife with over 16 years’ experience in insurance, operational and liquidity risk management across the various insurers in Singapore.
In his previous role with Manulife, Goh put in place an enterprise risk management framework covering both financial and operational risk as well as various risk analytic initiatives.
Speaking of the appointment, Jean Drouffe, CEO of AXA Insurance Singapore said: “Bruno has played an instrumental role in strengthening our risk, and legal and compliance function over the past several years even as our business continues to evolve and diversify,”
“Supporting career aspirations and internal mobility is a key part of our value proposition at AXA and we look forward to Bruno’s continued contributions and successes in his new role.”
Adding: “We are delighted to have Adrian join AXA to lead the risk, and legal and compliance team in Singapore. With his experience, knowledge and expertise, he will certainly be a valuable addition to our executive committee,”
“On behalf of the Singapore team, I would like to thank Bruno for his many contributions and congratulate him on his new role, and extend a warm welcome to Adrian.”
Ensurance sells retail brokerage arm
Australian insurance company Ensurance has entered into a share sale agreement with former directors Stefan Hicks and Brett Graves (and their controlled entities) to dispose of the company's Australian retail brokerage business.
Under the agreement, the company will sell all its shares in Savill Hicks Corp (SHC) to SHC Insurance Holding for AUD$4.1mn ($3mn) comprising AUD$2.2mn in cash, the buyback of 30,140,905 fully paid ordinary shares in ENA, assumption of SHC employee entitlements by the purchaser and the cancellation of convertible notes held by related parties of Stefan Hicks.
In a statement, Ensurance says that the agreement significantly advances the company’s restructuring plans.
The plans which were first announced in May, involve adoption of a “new strategic direction” and disposal of the Australian retail brokerage business.
The sale will result in the full divestment of the company’s retail brokerage arm, which includes the entire brokerage business, assets and management team.
This is a considerable milestone for the company, with the sale freeing up management’s time to solely focus on activities in support of the company’s repositioning and are expected to drive strong global growth from its business as a Managing General Agent (MGA) in the UK and Australia.
Cash funds received from the disposal of the retail brokerage business will be used to build out the company’s UK and Australian based operations, hire additional underwriting personnel to meet customer demand for its specialised construction-related insurance and to drive sales and marketing activity.
The sale is subject to a number of conditions precedent including shareholder approval.
The transaction is expected to complete within two months.
AXA’s legacy arm acquires majority stake in Emirates Re
Specialist run-off acquirer and manager AXA Liabilities Managers has signed its 19th acquisition on the external market with the purchase of a majority stake in Dubai-headquartered Emirates Re.
Gross reserves of the Retakaful business total $69mn and composed mostly of Middle East & North African, Asian and Indian-based property, motor, accident, energy and marine risks.
This follows AXA LM’s recent Gothaer Re run-off portfolio acquisition completed on 26 June.
Sylvain Villeroy de Galhau, CEO of AXA LM said: “We are delighted to pursue our external development with the acquisition of Emirates Re,”
“This transaction, which demonstrates our great responsiveness and ability to adapt to new markets and diverse types of business, further fuels our ambition as a run off acquirer and our appetite for new deals.”
Jonathan Cimino, chairman of the board at Emirates Re added: “We are very pleased to have found an agreement with AXA Liabilities Managers that provides us with a favourable outcome for all stakeholders involved,”
“By working with a professional run off acquirer such as AXA LM, we have been able to fulfill our dual objectives of achieving a structured exit for our shareholders whilst ensuring continuity for our cedants.”.