Mario Greco, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Insurance Group, has said that the company is optimistic about the prospects for property and casualty (P&C) re/insurance pricing in 2019.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum 2019 event in Davos, Switzerland this week, Greco said that market conditions in January 2019 point towards continued growth for P&C business.
The impact of major catastrophe losses in an unusually active fourth quarter last year is likely to “produce a positive impact on pricing in 2019,” according to the CEO.
Greco acknowledged that the ongoing excess of capital and liquidity in the re/insurance market dampened pricing increases following the devastating natural catastrophe losses in 2017, but said that conditions this year look more promising.
“Let’s see what happens this year,” he told reporters at CNBC. “We think that this year the prices will move up, the fact that capital is flowing out of many markets, we see that as a positive, as a sign that markets are re-establishing their balance.”
Re/insurance heads are convening with other global business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum Meeting to discuss global, regional and industry agendas in 2019.
The theme of the meeting this year is globalisation, and one topic that has received particular attention from insurance and political leaders alike is the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S and China.
Greco told CNBC that he was confident tensions would diminish over the coming weeks as the two countries meet for talks, although he noted that the nations may remain divided over the technological changes which have acted as a backdrop to the confrontation.
Nevertheless, he maintained that China would remain a strategic priority for Zurich no matter the outcome of trade dispute, due to the market’s size and fertility.
“You definitely have to work in China,” Greco explained. “China is such a big market, for a global corporation that we are, that you have to be there, and you have to grow your presence in China, there is no doubt about it.”
“But China is also spreading influence, all through Asia, and all through the world,” he added. “We recently made an important acquisition in Indonesia, which is a huge country there in Asia, and we expect that to be extremely beneficial for us over the next years.”