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EC News Asia Edition (6th March 2019)

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author:by Alan Jarque

Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from AIG, Aviva, Arthur J. Gallagher and more.

AIG hires CEO of Thailand arm

AIG has appointed Isorasak Thesratanavong as CEO of its Thailand business, succeeding Tomi Latva-Kiskola, who has been appointed to a regional role within AIG.

Based in Bangkok, Thesratanavong reports to Sachin Shah, Asia Pacific CEO of AIG General Insurance.

In his new role which is effect from 1 March 2019, Thesratanavong will lead AIG’s business in Thailand, focusing on creating partnerships to deliver on growth opportunities.

Since January 2018, prior to re-joining AIG, Thesratanavong served as CEO of Direct Asia Thailand.

He was previously CEO of Sompo Insurance Thailand from 2015 to 2017. In his first time at AIG from 2011 to 2015, he was senior vice president of consumer lines.

Shah said: “Isorasak’s insurance expertise and deep relationships in Thailand positions AIG to deliver innovation and growth opportunities to our clients and distribution partners.”

Symbo unveils digital brokerage in Singapore

Singapore-based Symbo Platform Holdings has launched a digital insurance platform, after having obtained an insurance brokerage licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The platform serves both retail and corporate customers and offers digital solutions to quickly and seamlessly help purchase and administer a range of general and life insurance products across personal and commercial insurance lines.

Symbo, which was incorporated less than two years ago, is working to streamline the insurance lifecycle while resolving some of the industry’s largest operational and customer pain points, it said in a statement.

The firm focuses on data utilisation, workflow automation, and upcoming blockchain-based solutions.

The launch of the Singapore digital brokerage symbolises the beginning of Symbo’s Southeast Asian expansion efforts, with Indonesia and Malaysia coming up.

Symbo board member Siraj Ali commented: “We’re seeing a major opportunity… to transform insurance and reinsurance in the ASEAN region as digital penetration continues to leapfrog ahead of other regions and demand for risk cover continues to grow with changing demographics,”

Alongside its regional expansion, Symbo has appointed Laurens Koppelaar as head of international and CEO for Singapore, and Subhajit Mandal as head of product.

With extensive insurance sales and marketing experience across Southeast Asia (SEA), Koppelaar joins Symbo from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), where he was head of market management for SEA.

Meanwhile, Mandal’s career spans insurance, venture capital, proprietary trading firms, and family offices. Before joining Symbo, he was a director at LumenLab, MetLife’s innovation centre in Singapore. He was among those who oversaw the launch of Vitana, a blockchain-enabled health insurance solution within the MAS sandbox. He is also a founder and board member of the Singapore Fintech Association.

In a joint statement, Symbo’s board of directors said: “The launch of Symbo’s online insurance broking business in Singapore is a major milestone for the company as we intend to participate in Singapore’s vibrant innovation ecosystem to expand across SEA,”

“Our established team has strong experience bringing platform solutions to scale across the insurance and reinsurance value chains in Asia and we now look forward to applying their expertise to offer thought leading solutions in Singapore and the broader ASEAN region. We are thrilled to have Laurens and Subhajit join us in this journey and are confident that they will bring significant contributions to the business.”

AGCS appoints regional chief executive

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS) has named Hans-Joerg Mauthe as regional CEO for Central & Eastern Europe (CEE). 

Mauthe joined the insurance group in 1990 as a trainee in Frankfurt. His previous positions in the region include head of liability and head of market management.

In his new role, Mauthe will be in charge of the German market and of AGCS activities in Austria, Switzerland, and Eastern Europe.

Mauthe commented: “CEE is an important region that has been my professional home at AGCS for many years,”

“After years as deputy, I am delighted to now lead AGCS CEE as CEO, continuing to work together with my colleagues to support our clients and brokers across the region and internationally.”

AGCS CEO Chris Fischer Hirs believes the region deserves dedicated leadership as it is “the cornerstone on which AGCS has been built.”

Hirs stated: “I am therefore delighted that Hans-Joerg, who knows this region better than anyone, is taking on the role of regional CEO.

“With his broad know-how in the industrial insurance business, his extensive sales experience and excellent contacts to our clients and brokers, he will be able to continue to drive success in the CEE region and consolidate AGCS’s leading market position.”

Aviva confirms new CEO

Aviva has confirmed the appointment of Maurice Tulloch as the groups new CEO, succeeding Mark Wilson who left the role at the end of last year.

Tulloch joined Aviva in 1992 and was appointed to the Board of Aviva plc in June 2017.

Currently Aviva’s CEO of International Insurance, Tulloch is responsible for Aviva’s life insurance and general insurance operations in France, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Turkey and India.

He was previously CEO of Aviva UK and Ireland General Insurance, one of the largest businesses in the Aviva group.

Commenting on his appointment Tulloch said: “There is a clear opportunity to realise Aviva’s significant but untapped potential. Aviva is financially strong, we have a well-known brand and excellent businesses. But there is more to do to improve returns to shareholders.

“We must focus on the fundamentals of insurance and giving our customers the best possible experience – being there when they need us, protecting what’s important to them and helping them save for the future.”

The announcement of Tulloch’s new role also sees Sir Adrian Montague, who had been acting in an executive capacity, return to his role as non-executive chairman. Montague described Tulloch’s appointment as a “unanimous conclusion and a great result for Aviva.”

Arthur J Gallagher acquires JLT’s global aerospace operations

Arthur J. Gallagher has agreed to acquire JLT’s global aerospace operations.

The agreement consists of the acquisition of all assets within JLT's global aerospace retail and wholesale insurance broking division, which includes operations in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and 10 other countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Also included in the agreement is the assets of Hayward Aviation, a UK insurance broker that specialises in aviation for high-net worth individuals and smaller airlines.

An estimated 250 employees from JLT’s global aerospace division will join Gallagher as part of the agreement, including around 100 employees within JLT’s London Market operations who will become part of Gallagher’s existing aviation division.

Subject to European Commission approval the acquisition is expected to close this spring in connection with the closing of the JLT purchase by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Commenting on the acquisition, J Patrick Gallagher, Jr., chairman, president and CEO said: “The addition of JLT’s global aerospace broking operations will firmly position Gallagher as a leading broker in the extremely attractive and dynamic aviation and aerospace sector,”

Adding: “The business portfolio is a highly complementary geographic fit with Gallagher’s existing footprint and will provide significant growth opportunities for our international businesses. We look forward to welcoming the team to Gallagher later this spring."

AXA Insurance Singapore names a trio of new members to its executive committee

AXA Insurance has appointed Kevin Leong as managing director - commercial lines, Juliet Khew as managing director - health and Hayley Yap as chief people officer.

Leong takes on his new role in addition to his current responsibilities as country leader, Singapore-Insurance for AXA XL, a division of AXA Group.

In his role, he will be leading the commercial lines businesses of AXA Singapore. He will be co-reporting to AXA Singapore CEO Jean Drouffe and AXA XL Asia Pacific chief executive Craig Langham.

This appointment follows AXA’s recent acquisition of XL Group Ltd and the subsequent creation of the AXA XL division.

Khew will be responsible for driving the continued growth of AXA’s health business and a superior experience for health customers.

Khew joined AXA in December 2009, with many years of experience in life insurance sales and accident & health (A&H) underwriting.

Yap assumes her role after over two decades of experience in human resources, risk and assurance, and strategic business planning and partnering, and was previously the head of business execution for South East Asia (SEA), India, and Middle East at ANZ.

Yap will continue to drive AXA’s strategic people agenda while aligning to its business objectives for growth.

Willis Re introduces agriculture team in Asia Pacific

Willis Re has appointed David Gregori as head of agriculture for Asia Pacific and has revealed the set-up of its agriculture team for the region.

Based in Hong Kong, Gregori will head up the Agriculture team, supporting clients and partners in developing insurance solutions to better protect farmers throughout the region.

The team will use a data-driven and analytical approach to provide customised solutions for its clients and related stakeholders in the agriculture industry, such as crops, livestock, fish farms, and forestry.

Before joining Willis Re, Gregori was head of global agriculture at Canopius, a Lloyd’s syndicate in Singapore, for over four years. Prior to this, he was an agriculture underwriter at Partner Re. He has been dealing with crop insurance for the last 12 years and was involved in the design of a subsidised crop insurance scheme in Morocco, which covers around one million hectares of farmland. He is also an expert in parametric insurance solutions.

As well as Gregori, Willis Re has announced two more appointments within its agriculture roster in India and China.

Dr Ajay Rakhe leads the agriculture business in India as vice president, treaty – agriculture. Based in Willis Re’s Mumbai office Dr Rakhe is responsible for developing and managing the agriculture treaty business along with designing other rural products for clients and partners in India.

Dr Rakhe has over 11 years’ experience in the general insurance business in India, ranging from in reinsurance, underwriting and claims, to managing government business. In his earlier roles, he also handled products such as crop & weather, livestock, health and personal accident. He was involved in the implementation of two major national insurance programmes in the Indian market – the PMFBY crop insurance scheme and RSBY health insurance scheme.

Simiao He, associate director of reinsurance, leads the agriculture business in China and is based in Willis Re’s Beijing office. She has a comprehensive knowledge of China’s agriculture (re)insurance market and a strong technical background in innovative index products. Before Willis Re, she spent five years at Swiss Re as an agriculture reinsurance underwriter and graduated from China Agricultural University.

Mark Morley, head of Willis Re in Asia-Pacific commented: “Asia faces extreme adverse weather events such as typhoons, large scale floods and drought,”

“These bring higher risk of yield shortfalls and failures which can impact farmers, companies and employment, especially with one out of three Asian people working in the agriculture industry. It is therefore important to use agriculture insurance as a tool to help farmers mitigate the financial and production risks, and protect their livelihood. The addition of David, Ajay, and Simiao to the agriculture team, and their international and local knowledge will enhance the value we provide to our clients and partners in the agriculture insurance market.”

Allianz appoints CEO for Asia P&C division

Allianz has named Claudia Salem as CEO of its property & casualty (P&C) division in Asia Pacific, effective 1 March 2019.

In her new role, Salem is responsible for the P&L and functional development of Allianz’s P&C business in the region.

Based in the Singapore office, Salem reports to Allianz Asia Pacific regional CEO George Sartorel and serves as a member of the global insurer’s regional executive board.

Salem joins Allianz from AIG where she most recently served as CEO, Singapore and head of Southeast Asia (SEA).

In her career spanning over 15 years, she held a number of leadership roles across operations management, business development and customer solutions.

Speaking of the appointment Sartorel shared: “We look forward to having Claudia join our senior leadership team to lead our (P&C) operations in the region,”

“Claudia is an accomplished leader with extensive insurance and management experience, and she will be a great asset for Allianz as we continue to drive stronger growth and profitability in the region.”