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EC News Asia Edition (9th January 2019)

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

Nat Re’s Allan Santos elected chairman of Philippine (re)insurers association

The Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (PIRA), the trade association of the Philippines’ non-life (re)insurance industry, has elected Allan Santos as its new chairman.

Santos, who is president and CEO of the National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re), was elected by the Board of Trustees of PIRA alongside a number of other additions.

These include Francisco Ramos of the Mercantile Insurance Company and Eden Tesoro of Bankers Assurance Corporation, who were elected as Trustees.

Newly elected officers of the Board also include Francisco Ramos as deputy chairman; Andrew Dee Co of the Reliance Surety & Insurance Company as treasurer; and Alberto Santos of BPI-MS Insurance Corporation as Corporate Secretary.

Santos commented on his election: “I am humbled and honored to have been chosen to serve as the Chairman of the PIRA Board of Trustees.

“I look forward to working closely with seasoned and talented industry professionals in furthering our industry’s common interests, promoting effective communication among our members, and pursuing our advocacies.”

The new electees join existing PIRA Board members Armand Pesigan of Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation; Edgardo Rosario of UCPB General Insurance Company; Shankar Prasad Sinha of the New India Assurance Company; Joli Co Wu of QBE Seaboard Insurance Philippines; and, Michael Rellosa, also the Executive Director of PIRA.

Santos was appointed as CEO of Nat Re in August 2018, succeeding Augusto Hidalgo, who previously held the position since 2014.

Willis Towers Watson names head of EMEA insurance business

Willis Towers Watson has appointed Colin Forrest as regional leader for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the company’s insurance consulting and technology business.

Forrest succeeds Frank Schepers, who will assume a new role managing large client engagements.

Forrest was most recently leader of the UK life team within Willis Towers Watson’s insurance consulting and technology business.

He has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, assuming a range of senior roles across life insurance companies and consulting firms. Prior to joining Willis Towers Watson, Forrest was a partner at Deloitte’s predictive analytics team, and he also spent time leading the Swiss actuarial practice in Zurich

Commenting on the appointment, Alice Underwood, global leader of Willis Towers Watson’s insurance consulting and technology business shared: “Colin has a proven track record with outstanding credibility, bringing expertise and a breadth of knowledge across the EMEA insurance space that will ensure we continue to serve the rapidly evolving risk and capital needs of our clients,”

Adding: “His deep industry expertise and strong business leadership skills will help us to provide the innovative solutions being sought by our clients, during this time of rapidly accelerating change.”

Allianz partners with POP Insurance to launch Fusion Specialty M&A

Allianz Global Corporate Specialty (AGCS) has partnered with POP Insurance Holdings - an Australia-based specialist insurance group - to launch a new managing general agent (MGA) focused on mergers & acquisitions (M&A) transactions spanning the Asia Pacific region.

Fusion Specialty M&A, which has already started writing business, will target the private equity and corporate M&A market offering a number of transactional insurance solutions including warranty & indemnity (W&I) coverage, tax opinion, and contingent liability.

Commenting on the launch, Killian McDermott, co-founder and executive partner of POP and Fusion, shared: “We are delighted to announce the launch of Fusion M&A Insurance MGA, in partnership with Allianz. Our team of experts are committed to delivering better local solutions for clients, enabled by advanced technologies and leading to greater efficiencies across distribution, underwriting and servicing.”

David Rogers, co-founder and executive partner, and head of M&A, added: “Fusion is pleased to partner with Allianz, one of the world’s leading insurers. Our partnership has provided Fusion’s M&A MGA with access to Allianz’s extensive network of operations across the APAC region, uniquely positioning Fusion and Allianz with a market leading M&A offering, right out of the gate.”

Damian Lynch, regional manager financial lines Asia Pacific, commented: “As an organisation, we are excited by the opportunity to partner with Fusion to bring another product to market to meet the needs of our clients. We strive to cover all aspects of our client’s operations and the introduction of our W&I offering puts us in the position to be able to do that.”

Willem VanWyk, CEO of AGCS, added: “Allianz is proud to broaden our suite of products to meet the changing demands of the market. As we strive to service our clients’ needs, the development of our offering is key to future success.”

China Re completes acquisition of Chaucer

China Re has successfully completed its acquisition of Chaucer, the London-based and Lloyd’s focused specialty (re)insurance business of The Hanover.

The transaction was valued at around $950mn, made up of a cash consideration of $865mn paid by China Re, as well as a pre-signing dividend from Chaucer of $85mn.

The Hanover, which acquired Chaucer back in 2011, had been exploring strategic alternatives for its Chaucer businesses in London and in Lloyd’s, while China Re had been looking for diversifying add-ons to enhance its global footprint and provide it greater access to the London specialty (re)insurance marketplace.

After gaining approval from European regulators at the beginning of December 2018, China Re has finalised the 100 percent equity acquisition of Hanover Insurance International Holdings Ltd., the holding company of Chaucer Holdings Ltd., from The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc.

Two other parts of the acquisition, the Dublin based Chaucer Insurance Company DAC and Hanover Australia Hold Co Pty Ltd (SLE) are still subject to local regulatory approval, but expected to close by the end of first quarter in 2019.

China Re plans to transfer its Syndicate 2088 at Lloyd’s into Chaucer’s Managing Agency, subject to regulatory approval. The syndicate had previously been managed by Catlin Managing Agency.

Commenting on the completed acquisition, Yuan Linjiang, chairman of China Re, shared: “This is an exciting time for China Re. We are very pleased to have gained the regulatory approvals to complete the acquisition of Chaucer Holdings Limited. This deal fits China Re’s strategic positioning of ‘reinsurance as the core business’ and the pursuit of international development in our ‘One Core, Three Breakthroughs and Five Cross-overs’ corporate strategy. We expect to take advantage of Chaucer’s business platforms across the world to maximize the opportunities for mutually beneficial growth.”

He Chunlei, vice chairman and president of China Re, commented: “Chaucer is an outstanding performer in the Lloyd’s market run by a well-respected management team with business access to more than 200 countries and regions across the world. The acquisition of Chaucer will expand China Re’s global reach and raise our profile in the international markets.”

“This is an auspicious day for Chaucer, our clients and for China Re as this significantly enhances the strength of our market offering and creates new global opportunities to explore, including those from the Belt and Road initiative,” said John Fowle, CEO at Chaucer.

Adding: “The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in our history and we are ready to accelerate our business development and growth with the support of China Re.”

Aon Securities, the capital markets and M&A unit of the broker, and law firm Sidley Austin both provided advice to China Re during the acquisition process.

MSIG Hong Kong appoints Philip Kent as CEO

MSIG has appointed Philip Kent as its new CEO, succeeding Kenneth Reid who has retired after 26 years with MSIG Hong Kong.

Kent most recently served as executive vice president of planning for the Singapore-based regional holding company, MSIG Holdings Asia, over the last two years leading business development across the region and spearheading the regional digital strategy in Asia.

With over 28 years’ experience in the insurance industry, Kent has encompassed leadership and technical roles across Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Commenting on the appointment Alan Wilson, regional CEO, MSIG Holdings Asia said: “We are pleased to have Philip lead MSIG Hong Kong as CEO. His accomplishments and track record of building strong partner relationships and inspiring colleagues make him an ideal leader. He is also very familiar with the market having worked in Hong Kong for 11 years,”

He added: “The industry is dynamic with many insurers going digital and leveraging on new technologies. With Philip’s experience, he will be able to continue the digital transformation that Ken has started for MSIG, ensuring that we are well placed to continue serving the needs of our customers in Hong Kong.”

Reid retired from the role after leading MSIG Hong Kong as CEO for 13 years and after a successful career of nearly 35 years with the Group.

Generali completes stake increase in Indian joint ventures

Generali Group has completed its previously announced plans to increase its stakes in Future Generali insurance joint ventures in India from 25.5 percent to 49 percent.

The completion of the transaction saw Generali commit approximately EUR120mn to the Future Group, a platform and customer ecosystem that offers digital insurance protection solutions in India.

Generali currently operates in India via two insurance joint ventures (Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited and Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited) as well as the newly established distribution joint venture FG&G Distribution Private Limited.

The company explained that increasing its stake in the Indian joint ventures would accelerate the leverage of Future Group’s distribution network.

“The new Generali strategy is focusing on high potential insurance markets: India will play a significant role in our expansion plan in Asia,” said Jaime Anchustegui Melgarejo, CEO International at Generali.

He continued: “The strengthening of our partnership with Future Group is a clear signal of the commitment of Generali Group to further invest in the development of partner customer systems with the ambition to expand customer reach,”

Group CEO of Future Group, Kishore Biyani, also commented: “We are excited with the prospect of a larger partnership with Generali as it brings along increased commitment to India and empowers our strategy to redefine insurance.”

Adding: “We are committed to making our insurance businesses more customer-focused and together with Generali’s global expertise, we believe that we can create unique and differentiated platforms in India.”

Lloyd's names Iain Ferguson as regional director of APAC

Lloyd's has appointed Iain Ferguson as regional director of Asia Pacific (APAC).

In addition to being regional director, APAC, Ferguson will also continue in his role as president and chief operating officer (COO) for Lloyd's Japan.

He will continue his role based in Tokyo.

Under the new organisational structure, the APAC region is a combination of the existing APAC and Greater China regions.

Ferguson joined Lloyd’s in 2007, having spent the previous 20 years with RSA in a variety of international roles.

NWS Holdings to acquire FTLife Insurance for HKD$21.5bn

Hong Kong's NWS Holdings has agreed to buy FTLife Insurance from the Beijing-based JD Group for HK$21.5bn ($2.75bn) in cash.

NWS is the logistics and transport service arm of New World Development Co. (NWD), and will act as a conduit to allow the group to expand from its core businesses of infrastructure and services, according to a statement by the company.

FTLife has been present in Hong Kong for over 30 years. It offers a comprehensive range of life insurance products, including whole life, term life, endowment, investment-linked, accident, and health cover.

FTLife was the 12th largest individual life insurer in Hong Kong by annualised premium equivalent, with a 1.4 percent market share at the end of 2017, according to a September Fitch Ratings report on the company.

According to NWS, FTLife is well positioned to benefit from the robust long-term outlook for the Hong Kong life insurance industry, which is primarily driven by a growing high net worth population, an aging population and the high savings rate in Hong Kong.

Despite lower demand due to regulatory action, NWS expects Hong Kong to continue being a favoured destination for mainland Chinese and overseas visitors looking to buy insurance.

JD Group bought FTLife for HK$10.7bn in 2016 from Belgian insurer Ageas as it sought growth through acquisitions in Hong Kong’s financial sector. The group has brokerage, mutual funds and private equity businesses.

“This transaction is a significant step towards our goal of building an immersive ecosystem of premium quality offerings to our customers and community,” said Adrian Cheng, executive vice chairman and general manager of New World Development.