Welcome to SIRC Today

While the 17th annual Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC) has been delayed for a year due to COVID-19, its organisers have instead launched SIRC 2020 Re-Mind, a virtual conference taking place this week.

The event has a full agenda of senior executives from the region commenting on the most pertinent issues of the day—all of which we are reporting on as usual in our annual newsletter SIRC Today.

Coverage of the virtual event will be complemented by interviews, news stories and reports from the region.

In the following pages, readers will find insight and news from industry leaders speaking at and around the virtual event.

As in previous years, we endeavour to bring our readers high-level market insights and ensure their fingers stay on the pulse of the re/insurance industry in these unprecedented times.

Wyn Jenkins, managing editor, Intelligent Insurer

A sneak preview: more exclusive content and interviews inside

COVID-19 uncertainty triggers a flight to quality by cedants in Asia

Hannover Re sees potential for growth in Asia as insurers seek large, stable, reinsurers to work with, according to the firm’s Sven Althoff and Daniel Gunawan.

The uncertainty generated by COVID-19 has triggered a flight to quality towards larger, financially stronger reinsurers by Asia cedants, a phenomenon that is itself an exaggeration of a longer-term trend in cedants’ buying habits.

That is the view of Sven Althoff, member of the executive board at Hannover Re, speaking during the SIRC 2020 Re-Mind virtual conference, taking place this week in place of the physical 17th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference, which has been rescheduled to November 2021.

“There is a flight to quality globally as businesses gravitate towards the well-rated reinsurers with strong solvency ratios—and we are seeing that in Asia too,” Althoff said.

“That trend goes hand-in-hand with the wider issue of how cedant companies are buying these days. They are taking a more holistic view on their reinsurance relationships, preferring to work with a smaller number of big players globally instead of a larger number of reinsurers on different product lines.”

Daniel Gunawan, chief executive officer of Hannover Re’s Malaysia branch (pictured), added that in Asia, Hannover Re is increasingly being asked by brokers to come on to a panel or take a bigger share because of this logic.

“It is because of the uncertainty. There is a stronger desire for quality reinsurance capacity. In addition, we are being asked to look at specific challenges and offer bespoke solutions—things we are very good at.”

A sneak preview: more exclusive content and interviews inside

Supply chains present new opportunities

Those centred around China are key, says Swiss Re’s Haegeli.

Healthy supply chain risk management

COVID-19 has significantly accelerated digitisation in the sector.

A sneak preview: more exclusive content and interviews inside

Asia remains underinsured but industry must stay mindful of climate change

Many markets across Asia lack cover for core risks, presenting an opportunity for the reinsurance industry, says Tobias Farny, chief executive, Asia-Pacific at Munich Re.

Many Asian markets remain underinsured, presenting an opportunity for the reinsurance industry to devise solutions. But the industry must also remain mindful of the impact climate change may be having on the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes, an issue that has been somewhat eclipsed by COVID-19.

That is the view of Tobias Farny, chief executive, Asia-Pacific (Greater China, Australia and New Zealand), Munich Re. Speaking during the SIRC 2020 Re-Mind virtual conference, taking place this week in place of the physical 17th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference, which has been rescheduled to November 2021, Farny highlighted some of the key issues facing the industry.

“There are a number of markets where we see underinsurance of core risks such as natural catastrophes,” Farny said.

“Especially in Asia, including China, we see that sums insured do not match the substantial values at risk. Together with the relevant institutions, such as provincial governments, Munich Re is active in pushing solutions for the main natural perils.

“Another area that risks being overshadowed by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is climate change. Some regions and regulators have been proactively putting the topic of climate change on the agenda.”