Willis Re grows agriculture team in Asia-Pacific

Agricultural insurance veterans to be posted in three major regional markets

Willis Re grows agriculture team in Asia-Pacific

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Amid changing weather patterns affecting the region’s farmlands, Willis Re has created an agriculture team for the Asia-Pacific region, headed by David Gregori (pictured).

Gregori, as head of agriculture for Asia-Pacific, is based in Hong Kong. He will lead the team in supporting clients and partners in developing insurance solutions to better protect farmers throughout the region. The team will use a data-driven and analytical approach to provide customised solutions for its clients and related stakeholders in the agriculture industry, such as crops, livestock, fish farms, and forestry.

Prior to joining Willis Re, Gregori was head of global agriculture at Canopius, a Lloyd’s syndicate in Singapore, for over four years. Before that, he was an agriculture underwriter at Partner Re. He has been dealing with crop insurance for the last 12 years and was involved in the design of a subsidised crop insurance scheme in Morocco, which covers around one million hectares of farmland. He is also an expert in parametric insurance solutions, and is passionate about educating and improving the level of knowledge of agriculture re/insurance throughout the industry.

In addition to Gregori, Willis Re has added two more names to its agriculture roster.

Dr Ajay Rakhe leads the agriculture business in India as vice president, treaty – agriculture. He is based in Willis Re’s Mumbai office and is responsible for developing and managing the agriculture treaty business along with designing other rural products for clients and partners in India.

Rakhe has more than 11 years’ experience in the general insurance business in India, ranging from reinsurance, underwriting and claims, to managing government business. In his earlier roles, he handled products such as crop & weather, livestock, health and personal accident. He was involved in the implementation of two major national insurance programmes in the Indian market – the PMFBY crop insurance scheme and RSBY health insurance scheme.

Meanwhile, Simiao He has been appointed associate director of reinsurance and leads the agriculture business in China while based in Willis Re’s Beijing office. She has a comprehensive knowledge of China’s agriculture re/insurance market and a strong technical background in innovative index products, including weather index, satellite index, and revenue insurance. Prior to joining Willis Re, Simiao spent five years at Swiss Re as an agriculture reinsurance underwriter after graduating from China Agricultural University.

“Asia faces extreme adverse weather events such as typhoons, large scale floods and drought,” said Mark Morley, head of Willis Re in Asia-Pacific. “These bring higher risk of yield shortfalls and failures which can impact farmers, companies and employment, especially with one out of three Asian people working in the agriculture industry. It is therefore important to use agriculture insurance as a tool to help farmers mitigate the financial and production risks, and protect their livelihood. The addition of David, Ajay, and Simiao to the agriculture team, and their international and local knowledge will enhance the value we provide to our clients and partners in the agriculture insurance market.”

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