Since opening their sole international branch in Singapore 10 years ago, Turkish national reinsurer Milli Re has been doing good business across Asia Pacific. Mr Chew Kwok Choong, CEO, gives us his insight on the markets in Asia, and Milli Re’s plans moving forward.
Asia is crowded with reinsurers but Milli Re has stood its own successfully for the past 10 years in the region, with its branch office in Singapore.
Milli Re’s success factor has been a matter of focus. “We are focused on in-depth knowledge of clients, to cultivating relationships, to be responsive, the careful management of our risks and exposures and on the bottom line,” Mr Chew Kwok Choong said.
Providing certainty and stability for their clients and brokers
To Milli Re, this is the sustainable way to maintain a long-term business, providing certainty and stability for their clients and brokers. He attributes their ability through having good underwriters with solid experience, market knowledge and well-rounded technical expertise across lines of business.
This strategy is however not new; other reinsurers have been doing the same as well. “Larger reinsurance companies are getting more specialised to the extent that younger underwriters are only exposed to one to two lines of business or markets. Nevertheless, we are confident in our approach and are willing to train and invest in our underwriters,” he said.
At the same time, he does not see Milli Re competing with these larger reinsurers. “Our role as a following reinsurer allows us smaller line sizes for greater portfolio diversification in the region. This in turn provides stability and continuity to our clients and brokers in challenging market scenarios.”
“In recent years, we have been observing clients increasing the emphasis on diversifying their reinsurance panel. This has also benefitted us. With a smaller operation, we have the advantage of being more responsive and nimble. The decision-making authority and all reinsurance processes being located in the Singapore branch office provide for a quick and convenient service-oriented operation here,” he said.
Experts in their field
Milli Re operates in short-tail businesses, with their main lines of business being Property, Accident and Agriculture. This accounts for 95% of their portfolio. They also engage in other smaller lines of business, such as Marine Hull and Cargo, Motor and Liability.
“We write all lines on both proportional and non-proportional treaty basis. The ability to consider proportional treaty business has helped us in increasing our business scope and opportunities as some of our peers have moved away from this,” he said.
Milli Re had been involved in international markets since the 1970s when it started managing the FAIR Reinsurance Pool and developed strong business relations, as well as underwriting experience mainly in Middle East, North Africa and Asia, including the Far East.
This year, Milli Re Singapore celebrated its 10th year of operation, which coincided with Milli Re’s 89th anniversary. Mr Chew said: “As a national reinsurer, Milli Re Head Office has had relationships in Asia through the managing of FAIR Pool since its foundation in 1974. Being able to celebrate the Singapore branch’s 10th year anniversary this year in the 89th year of Milli Re’s history is very special indeed.”
“Being in Singapore has also been a huge plus. The excellent pool of talent, highly developed infrastructure and a world-class regulator all made our 10th year anniversary possible.”
Will be very much engaged in Asia Pacific
Moving forward, Mr Chew plans to keep Milli Re Singapore on the same track that has brought them so much success.
“We will grow selectively on new business and continue to deepen existing relationships by supporting the other lines of business that we are not already on. We will continue to invest in our staff and our Head Office will continue to be very much engaged in the Asia Pacific region through market visits.”
Milli Re is also proud to host the Reinsurance Seminar and The International Insurance Tennis Tournament in Istanbul since 1987, seeing these as further ways it can continue to strengthen its presence in the region’s reinsurance market. A