Munich Re announces leadership shakeup in APAC and Africa

Moves to bolster local P&C underwriting expertise

Munich Re announces leadership shakeup in APAC and Africa


By Kenneth Araullo

Munich Re has announced a comprehensive revision of its underwriting structure across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (APAC MEA) regions as it aims to enhance local market underwriting capabilities.

The revamp includes bolstering the mandate of local market underwriting positions and closer proximity to clients through increased localization of teams. The restructuring also aims to refine the focus within its business divisions in these regions.

In line with this initiative, Hitesh Kotak has been appointed to lead Munich Re’s property & casualty (P&C) business in Japan, India, Korea, and South-East Asia, based out of Singapore. Roland Eckl, meanwhile, will oversee operations in Australasia, Greater China, MENA, Africa, and the Cyber business in APAC MEA.

Munich Re in Japan, India, Korea, and SEA

Kotak, with a tenure starting in Munich Re in 2014 and pivotal in establishing the Munich Re’s India Branch, will also now serve as chief executive for Japan, India, Korea, and South-East Asia.

In Japan, Florian Gruson is set to become CEO, pending regulatory approval. Gruson, transitioning from his role leading global sales and distribution since 2021, succeeds Brian Jinzenji.

Additionally, Haruka Narahashi will now also oversee treaty underwriting for Korea, expanding her previous Japan-focused role.

For Korea, Ajeet Phatak will relocate to Seoul to assume the role of CEO Korea starting August 1, 2024, upon regulatory approval. Phatak’s previous roles include heading client management in Japan and leading the Agro business unit in India.

In South-East Asia, Michael Hauer, currently CEO of Korea, will become head of P&C for the region based in Singapore starting September 1, 2024. Joachim Zagrosek will transition to head of treaty P&C underwriting for South-East Asia & India after three years leading the Regional Underwriting Centre.

Munich Re in Australasia, Greater China, MENA, Africa, and cyber

Roland Eckl, currently based in Munich, will manage operations as chief executive for Australasia, Greater China, MENA, Africa, and cyber. He has been instrumental in the strategic direction of Munich Re’s regional centers since 2016.

In Greater China, Serene Chan has been appointed head of P&C, a promotion from her role of leading the cyber business in Asia-Pacific since 2018.

In the MENA region, Belhassen Tonat will take on the role of client management executive MENA based in Dubai, focusing on the expansion of Munich Re’s operations in this area, including the establishment of a new Dubai P&C desk. He replaces Andreas Pollmann, who will shift his focus to lead client management in Israel from Munich.

These leadership changes, effective primarily from July 1, 2024 unless otherwise noted, are part of Munich Re’s strategic adjustments to enhance its property & casualty operations and client service capabilities within the APAC and MENA regions.

“Munich Re has grown strongly and profitably in Asia-Pacific and Africa in recent years,” Munich Re board member Achim Kassow said. “One building block of this success has been the transfer of know-how and decision-making authorities to the region. We are now taking the next step in this process - Munich Re’s revised set-up in the region will be leaner at the top and closer to the markets.”

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