Reinsurance firm Munich Re has been placing an increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region, ensuring its operations and leadership are structured in the best manner to support its clients.
The reinsurer recognises the importance of the region, as a source of risk premium growth, with client relationships deemed as one of the vital keys to success in Asia-Pacific.
Roland Eckl, Munich Re’s CEO for the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Korea, India and South East Asia, explains that the needs of clients in the region are particularly diverse.
Asia-Pacific not only has a wealth of cultures, but also countries in a range of stages of economic development, which means the client relationships need to be particularly strong and the reinsurers footprint needs to be particularly wide, in order to see the best of the opportunities.
“With a view to becoming more agile and growing even closer together with our clients, we have transformed Munich Re’s regional set-up in Asia-Pacific,” Eckl explained in a recent article.
Continuing; “We are not only boosting client proximity by transferring management and teams to local markets, but also fully empowering our local teams.”
This focus on Asia-Pacific is unsurprising, given the challenging state of reinsurance markets.
With core reinsurance markets from the United States to Europe all in a state of high competition and softened rates, the opportunities for profitable, organic growth are currently slim. Profitable is a key word, as growth can certainly be found in these competitive areas, but how profitable it will be over the cycle remains to be seen.
Asia-Pacific meanwhile seems to offer the best opportunities for profitable growth, both in reinsurance and also in direct, commercial insurance of large risks, which is fast becoming almost as much of a focus as reinsurance for the big, global re/insurers.
So for Munich Re, putting in place the correct structure in a region it targets for growth is vital.
Eckls said that the company is; “Strengthening our presence in Tokyo, Beijing and Singapore, and expanding noticeably in emerging markets such as India.”
As we’ve seen over the last year, global reinsurance players are increasingly pitching themselves as a partner of choice for insurance technology start-ups, and it’s clear that Munich Re sees an opportunity for this to help it grow further in Asia-Pacific.
By providing expertise and access to the balance-sheet, Munich Re can become a key partner for Insurtech start-ups, helping them to overcome many of the issues that can hinder a tech start-up in achieving scale rapidly in competitive markets.
“Our global experience in digitalisation, our strategic focus on innovation, and our newly reinforced regional set-up in Asia-Pacific make us an ideal partner for companies seeking to take advantage of the digital revolution in insurance,” Eckl said.