Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from Allied World Re, Aon, Allianz Re and more.
Allied World Re appoints head of APAC treaty reinsurance
Allied World Assurance Company Holdings has hired Yeo Meng Wong as senior vice president & general manager, Asia Pacific reinsurance division, effective immediately.
In his new role, Wong will report to Kevin Marine, president and chief underwriting officer (CUO).
Wong first joined Allied World Re in 2010 as assistant vice president, international treaty based in Singapore. Prior to this he held senior positions at Aon Benfield, including strategic head of takaful, APAC and senior manager.
Earlier in his career, Wong also served as a property and engineering underwriter and senior risk manager at Swiss Re.
Commenting on the appointment, Marine said: “Asia-Pacific continues to be a key region for Allied World Re’s profit goals and objectives and Yeo Meng’s experience will help us to further profitably penetrate this important region. "
He will continue to manage our underwriting unit and now be responsible for all day-to-day operations in Singapore. We are confident he will continue to deliver upon our brand promise of offering robust reinsurance programs and superior service to our customers and trading partners in the region.”
Chinese giant PICC partners with blockchain VeChain and DNV
People's Insurance Company of China (PICC), has entered into a partnership with risk management firm DNV GL and Shanghai-based blockchain platform VeChain to create new blockchain insurance solutions aimed at bringing digital transformation to the insurance industry.
PICC said the partnership will enable it to provide robust assured solutions that protect user data, distribute ownership and enhance existing artificial intelligence (AI).
PICC is one of the largest P&C insurers globally with $126bn total assets.
PICC partnered with VeChain because of their existing solutions with DNV GL catering to real problems within businesses and governments.
The company believes that blockchain technology can bring digital transformation, resulting in reduced turnaround time, premiums, prevent fraud and improve compliance and claims experience.
Sunny Lu, co-founder at VeChain said: "Collaborating with PICC expands our business within the insurance industry. We are confident we will provide great service and products to PICC, together with DNV GL."
George Kang, CEO at DNV GL Business Assurance Greater China Region commented: "The role DNV GL plays is to ensure data integrity from the business operation perspective. In conjunction with VeChainThor Platform, we will provide a robust digital trust platform to assist PICC with enhanced data management and efficient data processing."
New cyber roles bolster Aon's innovation for insurers
Aon has promoted Catherine Mulligan and Luke Foord-Kelcey within its Reinsurance Solutions business to strengthen its suite of cyber products for insurers.
As global head of cyber for Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business, Mulligan will make the most of her experience in building strategic teams to bring together the global practice group to set and manage the firm’s long term vision to deliver tangible results.
Mulligan will be responsible for setting strategy, driving growth, building the team and working closely with Aon’s cyber solutions group.
Mulligan, who was previously head of US cyber for Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business, will report to executive sponsor Nick Frankland, UK CEO of Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business.
In addition to his role as international head of cyber, Luke Foord-Kelcey will become global head of cyber innovation for Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business, as a result of his strong market relationships and understanding of client needs.
In this new role, Foord-Kelcey will identify potential new products and will cultivate relationships with strategic partners to respond to clients’ challenges and market opportunities.
His leadership will be essential to the evolution of Aon’s cyber offering.
Reporting to Mulligan, he will also maintain his international role and account responsibilities, while continuing to support the development of cyber expertise across the firm’s regional practice groups.
Allianz Re appoints CFO
Allianz SE reinsurance branch Asia Pacific has appointed Dr Anja Westerhoff as CFO.
Dr Westerhoff has over 15 years of experience in the life insurance sector in Germany where she worked in a number of leadership roles in actuarial and accounting for the German Market Leader Allianz Lebensversicherungs AG.
For the last years she led the successful implementation and introduction of the stochastic cash flow valuation model for Allianz Lebensversicherungs AG under the Solvency II regime and transformed it from a regulatory-driven approach into a supporting tool for company steering in challenging capital markets. In this role she was also responsible for actuarial and accounting of the health insurance of Allianz Germany.
Chubb appoints country head for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau
Chubb has appointed Stanley Wong as its new country president for Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau, succeeding Doug White, who was recently appointed to the role of head of the major accounts division for Chubb in Asia Pacific.
In Wong's new role he will have overall responsibility for the growth and financial results for Chubb's operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau across all lines of business including P&C, A&H and personal lines.
He will report to Paul McNamee, regional president for Chubb in Asia Pacific.
Wong is presently Chubb's regional head of financial lines for Asia Pacific overseeing the underwriting, product development, new business opportunities and profitability of the financial lines portfolio.
Wong joined Chubb in 2003 and through the years has been promoted to roles of increasing responsibility. Currently based in Singapore, Wong will return to Hong Kong, his native country.
Additionally, Douglas Wong has been appointed to succeed Patrick Wong as Chubb's head of P&C for Hong Kong. As previously announced, Patrick Wong will assume the role of global client executive, North Asia on 1 October 2018.
Douglas Wong is currently head of financial lines, Greater China. He started his career in 2002 as a financial lines underwriter at an international insurer. He moved to Chubb in 2005 as Financial Lines Manager in charge of the China portfolio.
Through the years, with his talent and expertise, he has progressed to more senior roles.
Douglas Wong will take on his new role on 1 October and will have oversight for the full range of products and services for the P&C business in Hong Kong.
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance increases stake in the largest local insurer
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI), a member of MS&AD Insurance Group, has acquired a 9 percent share of Ceylinco Insurance for approximately LKR3bn ($19mn), increasing its shareholdings to 15 percent.
Ceylinco is the largest insurance group in Sri Lanka listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
After giving effect to the additional acquisition, MSI has dispatched a director to Ceylinco Group and will contribute to enhance the corporate value of Ceylinco Group through participation in its business, the Japanese insurer said in a statement.
In July 2015, MSI invested in Ceylinco Group, with which it had a business alliance for many years, and entered the Sri Lanka’s market as the first Japanese insurance company.
Australian life sector grows steadily
Australia's life insurance sector continues to steadily grow, with gross policy revenue increasing by 6.6 percent to A$24.7bn ($18.1bn) in the 12 months to 31 March 2018, says KPMG's Life Insurance Insights Report 2018.
This equates to 1.4 percent of Australia's GDP.
Based on premium volumes, the life insurance industry is now of comparable size to health insurance and about half the size of the general insurance sector.
The report points out that A$14.8bn of benefit payments were paid out to policyholders and super fund members. By contrast, just A$2.2bn went in profits to shareholders.
Risk product profitability, a key indicator of the industry’s health, bounced back to a more normalised level in 2018, earning A$1,307mn, more than double compared to last year.
KPMG’s study confirms the growing role played by reinsurers in this market, with the level of reinsurance increasing from 23 percent to 30 percent over the past five years.
SoftBank's Vision Fund to help ZhongAn go international
SoftBank's Vision Fund is backing ZhongAn through its latest investment, which could take the company into international markets.
The Vision Fund has announced that it has made an undisclosed investment in ZhongAn International, the global arm of the online-only insurer created by insurance giant Ping An and internet firms Tencent and Alibaba, reports TechCrunch.
ZhongAn International was created last December to identify overseas opportunities. Alongside the investment, ZongAn International is creating a new entity in partnership with SoftBank that will be dedicated to “exploring international opportunities”. SoftBank’s Vision Fund is easily the largest tech investment firm in the world.
SoftBank plans to use ZhongAn’s technology and its network to expand to “multiple markets” in Asia, although it isn’t specific about which countries or a timeframe for the potential launches.
In a statement, ZhongAn Online CEO Jeffrey Chen said that the partnership will allow the company to explore new and innovative ways to serve more customers outside of China.
In 2017, SoftBank bought a stake of just below 5 percent in ZhongAn as a cornerstone investor in the latter's IPO.