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EC News Asia Edition (24 April 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 Sompo International, Munich Re, Allianz and more.

Sompo International names new CEO of European Unit

Speciality (re)insurer Sompo International Holdings has appointed Thomas Brazil as the new CEO of SI Insurance (Europe), subject to regulatory approval.

Brazil is currently senior vice president, and head of Europe property catastrophe reinsurance at Sompo International. In his new role, Brazil will relocate from Zurich to Luxembourg, where SI Insurance is headquartered.

He joined the company in 2012 as a senior property catastrophe reinsurance underwriter for Sompo International’s European portfolio, as well as Africa and the Middle East. In 2016 he was promoted to his current role.

Christopher Gallagher, executive director and CEO of Sompo International Commercial P&C said: “I am very pleased that Thomas has assumed the role of CEO of SI Insurance (Europe). He brings to this role extensive underwriting expertise, a commercial perspective and broad pan-European experience. Europe is a strategic market for our commercial P&C business and SI Insurance (Europe) provides Sompo with a core foundation for additional growth in this region. Thomas will work closely with colleagues in London and across the Continent as we continue to enhance our product offerings to our EEA clients.”

Munich Re names new CEO for South Korea

Munich Re has appointed Michael Hauer as the chief executive officer for South Korea effective 1 June 2019.

Hauer will be based in Seoul and will report to Roland Eckl, CEO Asia-Pacific, subject to regulatory approval.

Hauer is currently based in Singapore as head of marine reinsurance for Asia-Pacific and is responsible for all aspects of marine treaty and facultative reinsurance. He had led this role from Hong Kong since 2015 before relocating to Singapore in 2017.

He will succeed Ike Kim who will step into a new role as Munich Re Korea executive director after serving as CEO for Korea for the last nine years.

Commenting on the appointment, Eckl said: “Michael has had a strong 27-year career with Munich Re, spanning several countries in Asia Pacific. In his new capacity, he will combine his deep knowledge of our global reinsurance capabilities, particularly non-life insurance, with the strengths of our local team of experts to support our clients in this important market.”

Adding: “The Korean market is the seventh largest insurance market worldwide and presents numerous opportunities in traditional and non-traditional insurance and reinsurance. Munich Re has had a long-standing presence in Korea and there is strong momentum to build on, as we enter our next phase of growth under Michael’s leadership.”

Munich Re Syndicate announces coverholder partnership for Asia expansion

Munich Re Syndicate Singapore (MRSS) has announced the partnership with Singapore based coverholder Nectar Specialty Risk (Nectar) to expand further into emerging markets in Asia.

Nectar provides a range of professional lines products via its financial lines business unit Nectar Pro, focusing on emerging Asian markets in South East Asia and Indian sub-continent.

Nectar Pro team offers capacity and solid protection for corporations across the Asia-Pacific region as direct insurance and reinsurance via local insurers, with an emphasis on Directors and Officers (D&O), Professional Indemnity (PI), Crime and Financial Institutions.

Celine Ang, head of Asia, Munich Re Syndicate Limited said: “Asia Pacific is one of the key growth markets for Munich Re Syndicate, since the inauguration of our Singapore office as our Asia Hub last summer. We are able to capitalise on our regional experience of understanding different economies, cultures and businesses across geographies to provide quality service to the Asia Pacific region.”

Adding: “Nectar PRO will allow us to expand both our distribution into these Asian markets and also to service the mid-market segment with a high volume of transactions in an efficient manner. In this respect, it is completely complementary to both our current open market Financial Lines strategy in the region and to our overall business strategy of transitioning to a specialty Syndicate with a diverse business offering.”

Ram Garg, founder & CEO of Nectar commented: “Nectar has extremely close relationships with local insurers and brokers in the emerging Asian markets. By working with Munich Re Syndicate, whose brand represents deep industry expertise, innovation and financial strength, we are confident in the solutions we are able to provide as partners.”

Allianz appoints Alexander Grenz as Philippines CEO

Allianz PNB Life Insurance has announced the appointment of Alexander Grenz as its new president and chief executive officer, effective 1 June 2019.

Grenz has been promoted to the role of CEO after more than three years as chief operating officer (COO) for the insurance company. He will be taking over from Olaf Kliesow, who will be taking on a new role as global head of rewards and performance at Allianz SE.

Grenz will now be responsible for steering the growth of Allianz PNB Life and continue to develop the partnership with the Philippine National Bank (PNB). He will report into the regional CEO, life and health, Asia-Pacific, and join the Allianz Asia board as well as the Board of Directors of Allianz PNB Life.

George Sartorel, regional CEO, Allianz Asia- Pacific said:  “We congratulate Alexander on this appointment. He’s a dynamic leader with a strong track record of delivering quality performance, and we’re confident he will take the company towards its next phase of growth. We also thank Olaf for his outstanding leadership in the last three years. During his tenure, he has consistently delivered top and bottom line growth ahead of its market, as well as strengthened our distribution channels and solutions for our Filipino customers. We wish Olaf the very best as he continues to drive success for the group in his new role.”

NTUC Income partners with ZhongAn for digital insurance products in Singapore

Leading insurer in Singapore, NTUC Income have teamed up with ZA Tech Global Ltd to create digital insurance products and innovation efforts in Singapore starting with a travel insurance product aimed at tourists in the Lion City.

ZA Tech operates as the global technology arm of China-based technology focused insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance.

NTUC Income will use ZhongAn’s technological expertise and knowledge in digital insurance to deliver innovative digital products tailored for modern lifestyle needs.

For ZhongAn, it aims to leverage NTUC Income’s position as a top insurer in Singapore to test-bed and scale digital innovation in Singapore and regionally, using ZhongAn technology to support its overseas business development.

In the beginning, the partnership will introduce a lifestyle insurance product for the tourism sector by the second quarter on 2019. The new product will use ZhongAn’s cloud-based insurtech capabilities, which will protect residents and tourists in Singapore against contingent events when visiting certain tourist attractions around the city.

Peter Tay, NTUC Income’s chief operating officer and digital transformation head said: “We believe that this partnership will enable Income to reach a segment of customers, who are typically less receptive to traditional insurance offering and distribution channels. Recognising that digital disruptions have cultivated new consumer behaviour, we aim to be future-ready to meet the digital lifestyle needs of tomorrow by disrupting insurance today.”

Bill Song, CEO of ZA Tech added: “Having identified huge potential for customised insurance products and high internet penetration in Singapore, we are excited to lend weight to re-imagine insurance by fostering cooperation on ZhongAn’s technology platform.”

China Re concludes acquisition of Chaucer Holdings

International (re)insurance speciality group China re completes the acquisition of the holding company Chaucer insurance Company DAC in Ireland and SLE in Australia, from Hanover Insurance Group.

China Re announced the takeover of the Dublin based Chaucer Insurance Company DAC, and Hanover Australia Hold Co Pty Ltd (SLE) in December 2018 however at the time this was subject to necessary regulatory approval. This has now been received which concludes the sale of Chaucer to China Re.

John Fowle, Chaucer’s CEO said: “Chaucer Dublin and SLE are key members of the Chaucer family and provide valuable services to our customers. Our Irish insurance company offers greater platform flexibility and complementary capacity with the benefit of full parental support from China Re, while SLE provides market leading specialty products in Australia. We are pleased to see these final elements of the transaction completed enabling the whole Chaucer Group to move forward as part of China Re.”

Aon uncovers historical data insights from artificial intelligence

Global (re)insurance broker Aon has partnered with Groundspeed artificial intelligence (AI) to unlock invaluable insights, helping the business identify the underlying causes of claims.

With the help of Groundspeed’s AI technology they have been able to identify 170 million data points from historical insurance documents.

In a recent press release Aon states the manual process of extracting key data led to a loss of 95% of valuable information, unsatisfactory accuracy and bottlenecks in the underwriting process.

By using Groundspeed’s AI technology which includes computer vision, machine learning and natural language processing, Aon can now accurately identify and structure information and store it all in one central place.

The data that was collected from the historical insurance documents represents $142bn in total incurred losses and $1.7trn in total insured values.

Aon Says that the harvested data is helping to identify underlying causes of claims, industry benchmarks and losses versus premiums while also driving opportunities to increase coverage and help businesses reduce their risk costs.

It also enables the business to create new risk transfer solutions and treaties designed for decreasing premiums for clients by developing a better understanding of loss trends within different lines of business and risk segments.

With Aon’s Enterprise Analytics Platform insurers can now also replace manual processes and access Groundspeed’s technology. This initiative is part of Aon’s technological evolution to deliver new products that meet clients’ needs in a transparent and efficient way.

Steve Petrevski, senior vice president of enterprise analytics, innovation & partnerships at Aon, commented: “Aon’s industry expertise and Groundspeed’s technology expertise have combined in this partnership to develop artificial intelligence capabilities that unlock insights that were trapped in a broad range of unstructured files and documents. Insurers will benefit from increased operational efficiency and a higher understanding of risks, while businesses can take advantage of more relevant products.”

Jeff Mason, Co-CEO at Groundspeed, added: “We’ve been very fortunate to work with Aon. They’ve been an incredible partner to Groundspeed. Even as a global powerhouse with over 50,000 employees, Aon’s commercial drive to enhance the value for their clients and improve its partnership with the (re)insurance carrier community is evident in our day to day collaborations and how they seek to utilize our capabilities.”