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EC News Asia Edition (23rd January 2019)

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

Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from Chubb, Mapfre, Beazley and more.

Aviva’s Chris Wei elected chairman of IIS

The Executive Council of the International Insurance Society (IIS) has elected Aviva’s executive chairman of Asia, Chris Wei, as its chairman.

Wei will succeed former president and CEO of RGA, Greig Woodring, who remains on the Council serving as immediate past chair.

Wei joined Aviva in October 2014 as CEO, Global Life Insurance. Since then, his role has evolved and he is currently the executive chairman for Asia and Friends Provident International, as well as the global chairman for Aviva Digital.

Mike Morrissey, IIS president and CEO said: “Greig leaves big shoes to fill; under his stewardship IIS has flourished, expanding its profile significantly with new initiatives and pioneering partnerships. Most recently, Greig led IIS through the successful affiliation with The Institutes, positioning IIS for greater expansion,”

“We are grateful for Greig’s commitment and steady hand at the helm of IIS for more than five years and we are very pleased to have found in Chris such a worthy successor.”

Woodring added: “Chris serves as a guiding voice for IIS, providing expertise on a dynamic marketplace from the perspective of an industry frontrunner in Asia and globally. With the 2019 Global Insurance Forum taking place in Singapore, there is no better representation of IIS than Chris and we are proud to have him in this leadership role.”

Speaking of his appointment, Wei shared: “I am honoured to have been elected to serve as Chair of the IIS executive council.”

“The global marketplace is evolving at an accelerated pace with rapid technological advancement. I believe innovation in insurance can bring about real social impact and mitigate some of the greatest challenges facing society today.

“It is therefore imperative for insurers to collaborate with all stakeholders to strengthen the resilience of the industry and improve the lives of our customers at the same time. IIS provides a perfect platform for us to do just that – to drive betterment of the industry and communities.”

Chubb appoints Browne as deputy regional president for APAC & division president, SEA

Chubb has named Glen Browne as deputy regional president for Asia Pacific and division president, Southeast Asia, effective immediately.

In his new role, Browne will be responsible for the general management and business results in the six countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as any future territories in Southeast Asia. 

In addition to his new appointment, Browne keeps his current role as executive vice president and regional head of accident & health (A&H) for Asia Pacific, inclusive of all digital distribution and bancassurance for Asia.

He will continue to be based in Singapore and will report to Paul McNamee, senior vice president of Chubb Group and regional president, Asia Pacific. 

Browne joined the company (then known as ACE Group) in New Zealand in 2000 as the national commercial business manager and, over the course of the next five years, took on roles as regional SME manager for Asia and general manager for Taiwan’s A&H business.

After leaving the company in 2005, he served in operational and management positions of increasing responsibility at AIG, Cigna International and Prudential Assurance, including roles as chief marketing officer in Japan and regional CEO for Europe. He re-joined ACE in 2012 as country president for Thailand, where he led the growth of the general insurance business. 

Commenting on the appointment Juan Andrade, executive vice president of Chubb Group and president, overseas General Insurance said: “Glen’s more than two decades of experience in Asia includes successfully managing and building businesses in both developed and emerging markets,”

“I am confident that his technical expertise, local market knowledge and leadership skills will help us to achieve long-term profitable growth in our Asia Pacific general insurance business.”

Mapfre names Smith as chief global brokers officer

Mapfre has hired Christopher Smith as its new chief global brokers officer.

In his role, Smith will be responsible for client relationship strategy and policies for the global brokers channel.

He will report to the general manager of the corporate business and clients area, José Manuel Corral. 

Smith joined Mapfre Global Risk in 2013, where he worked as the head of European business and subsequently as chief regions & markets officer, international.

Before that, he spent almost 20 years at RSA, eventually becoming head of European Business in 2006. Whilst working at RSA, Smith developed his career with major brokers and global clients on the London market, particularly Marsh, Aon, Willis and JLT.

Allianz names Aaron Fryer as new regional CFO for Asia Pacific

Allianz has appointed Aaron Fryer as its new regional chief financial officer (CFO) for Asia Pacific, effective 1 January.

Fryer is responsible for providing financial leadership to support Allianz’s growth strategy in Asia, driving long term performance and value creation, and managing all aspects for the finance division - including business reporting, actuarial, finance, risk management, and tax.  

In addition, he will become a member of the company’s Regional Executive Board, which is responsible for setting and executing Allianz’s growth strategy in Asia. 

In his role, Fryer will be based in the Singapore regional office. He will report to the Allianz Asia Pacific Regional CEO, George Sartorel.

Fryer assumes the role previously held by Renate Wagner, who will continue to lead business growth and development as Allianz’s regional head of Life & Health Insurance, Asia Pacific, and remain a member of the regional executive board. 

Fryer joined Allianz in 2018 as deputy regional CFO, and brings over 20 years of financial services experience, with more than half of that within business roles throughout Southeast Asia. 

Before Allianz, he served as country CFO for Prudential Indonesia.  

Sartorel commented: “We are delighted to appoint Aaron to this role.  His extensive experience in insurance and financial operations will be a tremendous asset to Allianz as we look to drive stronger growth and profitability in the region.  We also thank Renate for her stewardship of the regional finance function in the last three years, which has positioned Allianz well for future success. As we start this new year, we can look forward to both Aaron and Renate’s leadership and expertise supporting our ambitious growth strategy for Asia.”

Beazley partners with Pegasus Underwriting for Hong Kong expansion

Beazley has entered into a financial lines capacity arrangement with Hong Kong-based coverholder Pegasus Underwriting Limited.

The partnership comes as part of Beazley’s bid to expand its insurance offering in the Asian markets.

According to a statement by Beazley, the partnership seeks to harness Pegasus Underwriting Limited’s knowledge of the market and its broking relationships and combining it with Beazley’s expertise in underwriting specialist risks and capacity across professional indemnity, directors & officers, cyber, and medical malpractice lines.

The arrangement will enhance Beazley’s ability to serve brokers in Hong Kong from its existing underwriting hub in Singapore.

Pegasus Underwriting Limited is headed by insurance veteran of over 40 years Tony Lau, CEO. Prior to moving into underwriting, Lau held several senior roles at Marsh.

Lau will be assisted by Yvonne Leung in developing the financial lines portfolio. Leung has 20 years of underwriting experience and was previously a financial lines underwriter with XL Catlin.  

In the meantime, Nicholas Tey, Beazley’s financial lines regional manager for Asia, will be working closely with the Pegasus Underwriting Limited team to jointly build up the Hong Kong financial lines portfolio.

“We are very pleased to be working with Pegasus Underwriting Limited in Hong Kong as we continue to target niche growth opportunities across the region,” commented Lucien Mounier, Beazley’s head of Asia-Pacific.

Sompo Thailand appoints new CEO

Sompo Insurance Thailand has appointed Chayanna Siripirom as its new CEO.

Siripirom has 20 years' experience in academic research, business consulting and corporate career in both general and life insurance specializing in actuarial and product development and expanding into finance, and distribution development.

She also currently holds a position of vice president of the Society of Actuaries of Thailand.

Siripirom holds a Bachelor’s degree from Faculty of Commerce & Accountancy, Chulalongkorn University and a Master of Actuarial Science from Boston University; a former senior lecturer at multiple universities in Thailand.

Speaking of the new appointment, Yuji Kawauchi, president and managing director of Sompo Holdings (Asia) Pte Ltd said: “Chayanna’s wealth of knowledge of both the local and regional markets, as well as her intimate understanding of the insurance industry will be a key advantage as we strive to create long-term value for all our stakeholders across the ecosystem,”

Siripirom said: “The insurance industry in Thailand undergoes constant dynamic changes, making it both a challenging and competitive market,”

“My mission is to enhance the full potential that exists within the company, for the primary benefit of our clients and to overall deliver the best solutions for all our stakeholders.”

MetLife names Michel Khalaf as president and CEO

MetLife’s board of directors has announced that Michel Khalaf will become its new president and CEO, succeeding Steven Kandarian who is retiring.

Khalaf has also been appointed to the MetLife board.

Kandarian will continue to serve as chairman, president and CEO until 30 April 2019, with Khalaf becoming president, CEO and chair on 1 May 2019.  

Khalaf has been president of EMEA at MetLife since 2011. In July 2017 he added responsibility for the company’s US business.

In his expanded role, he has overseen the group benefits, retirement & income solutions, and P&C businesses in the US; global employee benefits, MetLife’s only horizontal business providing employee benefits solutions to local and multinational employers in 39 markets; and individual and group insurance businesses sold through agents, brokers, banks and direct channels in more than 25 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Before taking on the leadership of EMEA, Khalaf was executive vice president and CEO of MetLife’s Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

He joined MetLife through its acquisition of American Life Insurance Company (Alico) and AIG in 2010.

Glenn Hubbard, currently MetLife’s independent lead director, will become MetLife’s non-executive chairman upon Kandarian’s retirement. Hubbard joined the MetLife board in 2007 and became lead director in June 2017.

CITIC-Prudential Life Insurance to open 20th branch in China

The joint venture CITIC-Prudential Life Insurance has received approval from the  (China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission) CBIRC to start preparatory work for the establishment of a new branch in Shaanxi province - the company's 20th branch in China.

The expansion is part of CITIC-Prudential's commitment to expand its footprint in China and serve the protection and savings needs of millions of consumers in one of the country's most prominent regions.

In a statement, Nic Nicandrou, chief executive of Prudential Corporation Asia (PCA) and chairman of CITIC-Prudential, said: "China is central to Prudential's growth strategy and represents our third largest growth market in Asia. The rising middle class, ageing population and soaring household wealth present tremendous opportunities for us to support the health and protection needs of the population in China where many families are still un-insured or under-insured."

In the first nine months of 2018, health and protection solutions accounted for around 42 percent of the company's sales mix in China and increased 15 percent over this period.

"Since entering China in 2000, CITIC-Prudential has seen strong annual double-digit, high quality growth," Nicandrou continued.

"The addition of the Shaanxi branch is a milestone because it allows us to better serve customers in Northwest China. With our vast and growing network, we are well placed to meet the evolving needs of Chinese consumers, leveraging not just our geographic reach but also innovation and digital technology with a human touch."

Established in 2000, CITIC-Prudential is the first Sino-British insurance joint venture in China and has maintained a leading position among foreign joint venture companies in the country.