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EC News Asia Edition (22 May 2019)

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

Round-up of the latest news and developments from the Asian insurance market with stories from Korea Re, Nexus, ArgoGlobal and more.

Korea Re opens hub in Switzerland as part of its expansion strategy

Seoul based (re)insurance company, Korea Re, has opened a new subsidiary branch called Korean Reinsurance Switzerland AG in Zurich, as part of its expansion strategy in the European market, licensed to start business from 1 June 2019.

The new establishment will be led by Markus A, Eugster, who has spent over two decades in the financial services industry, mostly in reinsurance and banking and was previously CEO and global head of reinsurance at Sompo Conpius Re in Zurich.

The move will allow South Korea’s sole reinsurer to strengthen its presence in Europe. Korean Re established the business as a Swiss company with USD $60mn of capital, and then acquired 100% of its shares, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.

Korea Re already operates in Europe from a base at Lloyd’s of London, however the new hub could also be a way for the company to ensure continuity for clients after the uncertainty of Brexit.

Korean Re has historically been the only reinsurer operating in the South Korean market, but the Financial Supervisory Commission said last year that it had decided to authorise new reinsurers in order to stimulate competition.

Nexus Asia names new CEO and non-executive chairman

Specialty Managing General Agent (MGA) Nexus Group has announced Tony Egerton as chief executive officer and Gerard Pennefather as non-executive chairman to its leadership team with immediate effect.  

Egerton has over 3 three decades of experience in (re)insurance and structured finance. He has spent the past 20 years in Asia where he worked in Hong Kong at Centre Solutions before becoming Lloyd’s Asia Pacific president, based in Singapore and then joining Nexus in August 2018 through the acquisition of Huntington Underwriters.

Meanwhile, Pennefather spent 12 years in corporate finance and treasury in New Zealand with New Zealand Equities and Ord Minett (now part of JP Morgan Chase). 

In 2001, he founded WP Capital and the Huntington Group which owns, operates and invests in companies focused on the insurance as well as human capital industry.

Colin Thompson, founder and group CEO of Nexus, said: “I’m delighted to announce these internal appointments, Tony being promoted to CEO of Nexus Asia and Gerard to Non-Executive Chairman - it would be difficult to find higher calibre individuals to strengthen the leadership team,”

Adding: “As we strive to continue building our size, scale and relevance in the Asian market through organic growth, as well as manage a busy pipeline of M&A opportunities and a number of other strategic initiatives, this appointment is recognition of the fantastic contribution Tony has made to the group in the short period of time since our acquisition of Nexus Structured Solutions (formerly Huntington Underwriting) in August 2018, where he is Principal Officer and will continue to run the business alongside his new duties.

Tony will lead our future expansion across the Asian market, where our goal over the next two years is to become the largest Specialty MGA in the region, generating $50+mn GWP and $3.5mn EBITDA.

Meanwhile, I know Gerard will be invaluable as Non-Executive Chairman of Nexus Asia, a position which he takes on in addition to his role as Chairman of Nexus Structured Solutions. Like Tony, Gerard is widely known and respected in Asia and will assist in generating future M&A and other growth opportunities for Nexus.”

ArgoGlobal appoints new International accident & health underwriter

ArgoGlobal, the Lloyd’s insurer and member of Argo Group, has named Zachary Tan as accident and health (A&H) Underwriter, effective immediately. Tan will focus on the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions and report to Michael Scala, chief underwriting officer, Asia Pacific.

Tan brings just shy of 20 years of insurance experience to ArgoGlobal, having started his career in 2000 as a development manager at ACE. Prior to joining ArgoGlobal, he held the position of accident and health underwriter at Tokio Marine Kiln since 2014.

Scala, chief underwriting officer, Asia Pacific shared: “With a strong team in place both at Lloyd’s and in Singapore, ArgoGlobal is determined to further develop a profitable and sustainable A&H portfolio across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Zachary’s proven expertise in the region’s A&H market will support Argo’s long-term, strategic interests.”

Munich Re announces Linus Phoon as CEO for Singapore and Southeast Asia

Munich Re names Linus Phoon as chief executive officer of Singapore and Southeast Asia effective 2 May 2019. Phoon is based in the Lion City, Singapore and reports to Roland Eckl, Munich Re CEO, Asia Pacific (Japan, India, Korea, and Southeast Asia).

In his new role, he will be responsible for leading Munich Re’s reinsurance operations in Singapore and Southeast Asia providing clients with traditional reinsurance and complex risk solutions, as well as comprehensive consulting services.

Phoon brings over 20 years of reinsurance experience and joins from (re)insurer Canopius where he held the position of CEO Reinsurance Asia, since 2008. Prior to his time with Canopius, Phoon held various positions with General and Cologne Re, St Paul Re and also Converium.

Commenting on the appointment, Eckl shared: “We are pleased to welcome Linus to this new leadership role. His deep reinsurance expertise and experience of managing operations and client relationships across the Asia region are important assets that will help us grow our business in Southeast Asia, and continue to partner with our clients across the industry.”

Richard Montminy joins Beazley as new global head of property

Specialist insurer Beazley has announced the appointment of Richard Montminy as global head of its property division, reporting to Adrian Cox, chief underwriting officer, effective 20 May 2019.

Montminy will succeed Mark Bernacki who stepped down from the position at the end of April after 13 years at the company.

In his new role he will now be responsible for developing the company’s global property strategy and will lead property teams based across the U.S., the U.K. (including at Lloyd's) and Singapore. He will also join the firm’s executive committees.

Montminy brings more than 30 years of experience in commercial property insurance within both senior underwriting and broking roles and prior to joining Beazley, he recently served as head of property for the U.S. commercial insurance operation at Zurich North America. Before joining Zurich four years ago, he spent 17 years at Marsh USA where he held a number of insurance broking and practice leader positions in cities across the U.S.

Adrian Cox, Beazley chief underwriting officer, said: "I am delighted to welcome Richard to Beazley. He brings a wealth of experience to our second largest division, including a deep understanding of both the U.S. and London property insurance markets."

Guy Carpenter announces several senior appointments to enhance client value

Reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter has announced a series of international leadership appointments after the integration of JLT Re, effective immediately.  

These appointments are a reflection on the company’s strategy to the align the firm’s structure, to integrate the capabilities of JLT Re and ultimately create a leadership team that enhances the company’s ability to deliver strategic services, solutions and value to clients.

The business details in a press release that Kevin Fisher has been named chairman of London North America, in addition to his previously announced role as chairman of UK and Global Specialties. He will continue reporting to Peter Hearn, president & CEO of Guy Carpenter.

In the Global Capital Solutions segment, Vicky Carter who is currently chairman of global strategic advisory has been promoted to chairman of Global Capital Solutions, International. She will also report to Hearn.

Global Specialties changes include the appointment of Bradley Maltese as vice chairman of Global Specialties, while James Boyce will continue in his role as CEO of the division. Each Global Specialties segment will have a leader reporting to Boyce, as well as a senior leadership team responsible for advancing the business and the integration of clients and colleagues.

  • Marine & Energy will continue to be led by Jim Summers.
    • The senior leadership team will be comprised of: Graham Devlin, Nick Jay and Martin Stephenson
  • Aviation & Aerospace will continue to be led by Ian Wrigglesworth.
    • The senior leadership will be comprised of: Graham Barden, Paul Smith, Barry Stiff and Martin Stoney
  • Non-Marine Specialties will continue to be led by Richard Morgan.
    • The senior leadership team will be comprised of: Bill Bennett, Richard Carver, Paul Esterbrook, Stephen Firmin, Roland Morse, Simon Sharpe and Dean Smith
  • Trade Credit & Political Risk will be co-led by David Edwards and Ashley De Laroque.
    • David Edwards will focus on the production and servicing of international clients working closely with the wider International platform.
    • Ashley De Laroque will focus on the production and servicing of London market clients.

Internationally, James Nash will continue as CEO of International, reporting to Hearn. The following business units and leaders will report to Nash:

  • Carolyn Morley and Ian Kerton will co-lead a newly combined unit which will bring together the capabilities of the Global Casualty and UK Property & Casualty teams. This market leading unit will allow us to deliver the best of Guy Carpenter to their clients.
  • Carolyn Morley will lead the Global Casualty business, continuing to advise global clients and driving production around the world.
  • Ian Kerton will lead the drive for growth in the London market, and maintain responsibility for South Africa.
  • Jonathan Fahie has been appointed chief operating officer for this unit
  • Charles Whitmore will continue in his role as head of the Placement Solutions Group.
  • Shaun Scade will continue in his role as head of Accident & Health.
  • Massimo Reina will continue in his role as CEO of Continental Europe & Middle East.
  • Tony Gallagher will continue in his role as CEO of Asia Pacific and Jeremy Fox has moved into his previously announced role as chairman of Asia Pacific.

The business has also announced that Aidan Pope, CEO of Latin America & Caribbean plans to retire from Guy Carpenter.

Additionally, after over 40 years of leadership in the reinsurance business, Ross Howard, vice chairman of Guy Carpenter, plans to retire later in 2019. Meanwhile he will continue to support the company’s integration efforts and ensure the combined business delivers maximum value.

Hearn, president and CEO of Guy Carpenter said: “Our focus throughout the integration is building a structure that allows our firm and our colleagues to deliver the full value of the combined organization to clients. We are confident that we have the right structure, leaders and teams in place to deliver on Guy Carpenter’s commitment to its clients: to identify opportunity in risk that will drive profitable growth.”

Adding: “I would like to thank Ross Howard for his partnership during the integration process, his advocacy for colleagues and clients across the organization and his contribution to the reinsurance industry over the past 42 years.”