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EC News Asia Edition (8 May 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 Canopius, Great Eastern Holdings, Willis Towers Watson and more.

As part of a new growth strategy Canopius opens office in Australia

Global specialty (re)insurer Canopius has announced it is set to open a new office in Australia as part of its ongoing commitment to expand in the Asia Pacific region.

The local entity will open to underwrite business in time for the 30th June renewal season, subject to regulatory approval.

The announcement by Canopius stated that that the Sydney operation will deliver a local underwriting hub for business in Australia and New Zealand, targeting a combination of SME business via coverholders, wholesale direct and facultative, as well as reinsurance treaty business.

Claudio Saita, who will lead the new office, joins Canopius as country manager for Australia & Pacific and will become a member of the newly established Canopius Asia Pacific leadership team.

Prior to joining Canopius, Claudio was deputy CEO and executive director of Tokio Marine Management Australasia and will report to Mark Newman, CEO APAC & MENA.

Newman, CEO APAC & MENA, said: “I am delighted that Claudio has joined us. His significant experience and knowledge will help us as we pursue further growth in this priority market. Claudio has forged excellent distribution relationships, often built around modern technology, which will be a differentiator for Canopius as we target profitable business throughout the Pacific region.”

Saita, country manager for Australia & Pacific commented: “Growing the Canopius portfolio in Australia and New Zealand is a very exciting proposition. This region presents significant opportunities for committed and locally empowered carriers that embrace technology, and I look forward to working with Mark and our team on the next steps in the Canopius APAC journey.”

Great Eastern Holdings completes acquisition of PT QBE General Insurance Indonesia

Great Eastern holdings announce the successful completion of the acquisition of PT QBE General Insurance Indonesia as part of its broader strategy of building its general insurance operations.

Great Eastern now owns 95% of the Indonesian company and the remaining 5% by PT Suryasono Sentosa. According to an earlier release in December 2018 the deal was valued around US $28mn.

Khor Hock Seng, group CEO of Great Eastern Holdings comments: “Indonesia is a growth engine for the Great Eastern Group and presents exciting opportunities. The addition of the general insurance business fits in with our business strategy to further grow our business and footprint in a country which has the largest and fastest growing economy and the largest population in ASEAN with over 260 million. Together with our life subsidiary PT Great Eastern Life Indonesia and our partners, including Bank OCBC NISP, we look forward to providing a comprehensive suite of both general and life insurance solutions to better serve the needs of the business community and consumers in Indonesia.”

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance enters into strategic partnership with Canopius

Korea’s Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance (SMFI) and specialty (re)insurer Canopius has signed an agreement that will see SMFI become a significant minority investor in the company.

The investment, which is subject to necessary regulatory approvals, is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2019.

Michael Watson, chairman of Canopius said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome SFMI as a strategic investor in Canopius. SFMI is one of the best known and most trusted brands in the world. Their unrivalled financial security and extensive licence network complements that which we enjoy at Lloyd’s. Together we can offer innovative customer-focused insurance solutions across the globe. We look forward to collaborating with SFMI in this venture”.

Youngmoo Choi, CEO of SFMI added: “We plan to work closely with the management of Canopius and share in their in-depth knowledge of the Lloyd’s market. We look forward to participating and contributing to the development of an excellent, global insurance business in Canopius. This is a significant step forward for SFMI’s long term strategy and will allow us to thoroughly prepare to become a competitive, world class P&C insurance business”.

Willis Towers Watson appoints new global head of financial solutions

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) announces the appointment of Christophe Meurier as global head of financial solutions, effective 1 July 2019.

Meurier will succeed Paul Davidson in that capacity and Davidson will continue as the chairman of financial solutions.

He joins WTW from BNP Paribas where he spent 25 years, most recently serving as head of insurance solutions within Corporate and Institutional Banking as well as chief executive officer of the BNP PARIBAS political and credit risk insurance company, GreenStars.

Paul Davidson, chairman of financial solutions WTW said: "We are delighted to welcome Christophe to Willis Towers Watson and Financial Solutions. He brings a tremendous depth of financial institution knowledge and experience as well as extensive insurance expertise in our core discipline to continue the growth of our market leading business."

Adam Garrard, global lines of business leader, WTW, added: “Christophe is a key appointment reflecting our global lines of business approach and we are thrilled to welcome him to Willis Towers Watson. Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to investing in significant talent and expertise across the business spectrum enabling us to continue to provide significant value to clients.”

Qatar Re have appointed Michael Van Der Straaten as new CEO

Qatar Re, a subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) has named Michael Van der Straaten as the company’s permanent chief executive officer.

Van de Straaten was previously acting as CEO in January 2019 after former head of Qatar Re, Gunther Saacke stepped down in March.

Replacing Van de Straaten’s previous role, Qatar Re has appointed Pantelis Koulovasilopoulos to take over as chief underwriting officer (CUO) for Long Tail & Specialty Classes.

Prior to joining Qatar Re in late 2016, Van de Straaten most recently held the position of deputy head of London and head of casualty at ACE Tempest Re. He was appointed to his CUO post in February 2017, at which time he also joined Qatar Re’s Executive Management Committee.

Commenting on the appointment Sunil Talwar, chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Re said: “Mike has fitted seamlessly into the position, building on his achievements as our former chief underwriter for Long Tail and Specialty Classes. We are convinced that Mike will bring Qatar Re’s ongoing transition to a business model based on lower volatility and more reliable profitability to a successful conclusion.”

Willis Towers Watson names asset management experts to enhance FINEX Institutions practice

Global (re)insurance broker Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has appointed a number of asset management experts in its FINEX Financial Institutions practice as part of the company’s strategy to build financial institutions globally.

The new team will provide bespoke management liability product solutions and programmes for the asset management sector as part of a strengthened team of specialists.

A key hire, Henry Keville has 20 years’ experience serving the needs of high profile, multinational asset management clients. Keville joins from Lockton Companies where most recently served as divisional director at Lockton Companies.

He started his career at Marsh and has 20 years of experience serving the needs of high profile, multinational asset management clients and was instrumental in establishing the asset management portfolios at both Howden and Lockton.

Allison Barrett, managing director, global head of FINEX Financial Institutions, said: “Today’s announcement reflects our continued focus on industry specialisation and ongoing commitment to deliver leading solutions for financial institutions around the world.  By strengthening our expertise in the asset management sector, we will enhance our existing client offering with specialist solutions and ensure the continued growth of this important portfolio.”

Olivia Cooper, managing director, head of FINEX GB, adds: “This investment exemplifies our dedication to clients in the financial institutions sector.  In a rapidly evolving financial services market, our investment in such strong and experienced people ensures we are in a unique position to drive innovation and client value across our asset management business.”

Markel International names new assistant underwriter

Markel International appoints Lee Zong Wen as assistant underwriter in its trade credit and political risk team in Singapore.

In his new role he will responsible for servicing client accounts as well as supporting the existing underwriters and senior risk analysts, Dillon Matthews and Nick Davies, as they continue to grow the trade credit and political risk book in Singapore and the Asia Pacific markets.

Prior to joining Markel, Lee held the position of senior executive broker for credit, political and security risks team since 2016. Prior to that, he was an executive account manager at Coface’s Singapore branch.

Adrian Jones, head of strategy for trade credit in Asia and Middle East, commented: “Zong Wen will be a great addition to the team in Singapore and his appointment is a reflection of our running success in building on our presence in the region. His previous roles at JLT and Coface have given him a solid foundation in trade credit and political risk insurance and we are confident his support to Dillon and Nick will be invaluable as the team continues to grow the book in Singapore and expand further into Asia Pacific.”