``We certainly see India as one of high primary growth market with future growth potential across all segments of insurance''

Munich Re is the largest reinsurer in the world and has multi-pronged business exposures in India. It is one of the first reinsurers to set up branches in India.

Hitesh Kotak, CEO, Munich Re, India

 

How you are getting ready to start your operations?

Munich Re is glad to be amongst the first set of reinsurers to better support our clients with technical knowledge and expertise directly from our Mumbai office.

The approvals to open a composite branch office in Mumbai is a step towards deepening our ties with our Indian and sub-continent clients,servicing the property/casualty, Life and Health reinsurance market in the region. Munich Re is amongst the first set of foreign reinsurers, which applied for a branch in India once the Insurance Bill was amended in 2015. This will set in motion the process of developing India as an active reinsurance market and improve overall risk management.

This new branch is reinforcing our commitment towards India and Asia overall. This is in line with the recent strengthening of our regional centres in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo so that we are closer to our clients to help them achieve their growth ambitions in today’s innovative and disruptive environment.

 

What kind of capital you would bring in? What kind of manpower you will have?

At this stage, we can say that it would be higher than the minimum threshold of Rs1.00 bn.

 

How do you see the current Indian insurance- life, P&C and healthmarket and potentials it has ? How long you have been doing business in India?

Munich Re has been active in the Indian market since 1950s, when it entered into first reinsurance contract in 1951.Our association with the country is more than seven decades old. We certainly see India as one of high primary growth market with future growth potential across all segments of insurance. The demographic profile, infrastructure investment,the ‘Make in India’ campaign, or the PM’s agricultural insurance program are some of the catalysts which will drive the Indian market forward. We see potential of traditional as well as tailor made and innovative solutions to support clients in risk management and capital management areas to help them grow.

 

``We see potential of traditional as well as tailor made and innovative solutions to support clients in risk management and capital management areas to help them grow.We see potential of traditional as well as tailor made and innovative solutions to support clients in risk management and capital management areas to help them grow.''

 

How do you see the growth prospects in the Indian reinsurance market?

The growing Indian market is an important pillar in our mid-term strategy. With our expertise closer to the customer through our branch,we are well positioned to support our clients’ growth with tailored innovative risk solutions.Munich Re’s Economic Research unit estimates that real premium growth in emerging Asia will grow by 9.0% in P&C (annual average growth) and 10.1% in life until 2025. For India, expectations for P&C are even somewhat higher, at 9.2%.

 

What is the ratio of life and non-life business in your portfolio?

It would be difficult to estimate this ratio as we have been operating as a cross-border reinsurer and our clients and brokers have been in engagement with us through various offices across the organization.

 

Who are your big customers, private sector or public sector companies?

Munich Re has enjoyed a strong presence in the Indian market since the 1950s and has continuously engaged with insurers and large corporate clients in India, providing technical expertise and state of the art risk management solutions. Considering our size and our proposition, in one form or the other we provide solutions to most client segments.

 

Will you launch new products for the Indian market and which are these segments?

We are ready to introduce new and innovative solutions across various reinsurance segments and we will actively cooperate and develop with clients through our Mumbai office and blend this with best practices and our experience across the globe. We are also hopeful that the ROFR rule will be reviewed in favour of fostering innovation.

 

Do you think Indian reinsurance industry will get competitive after new reinsurers enter the market?

The current soft market cycle has continued and has had its impact on the profitability of the market overall. There are certain segments which face high competitive intensity on the primary insurance side leading to departure from risk based pricing. In general, the market has begun to realize this and we see some corrections. The frequency of natural catastrophe events in the recent past has also been on the rise creating increased awareness and sensitivity on a more adequate protection from such events. We see the opening of the reinsurance market as a welcome move and in the long run, we expect positive developments for the market in terms of technical approach, new solutions,better customer engagement and service,as well as sharing of best practices.

 

When Munich Re-through its subsidiary ERGO- is starting its life operations in India?

Deferred.

 

Now that Munich Re is present life,non-life, health, reinsurance, what kind of global focus the company has in the country?

Munich Re as a group has a very strong commitment towards India. With its reinsurance branch in Mumbai, Munich Re will be represented across all its business fields, namely life and P&C reinsurance, primary insurance (HDFC Ergo joint venture), and health (Apollo Munich Health), confirming Munich Re’s strong commitment to this region.

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