Swiss Re CEO optimistic on China prospects

Nation has a "real competitive advantage"

Swiss Re CEO optimistic on China prospects


By Kenneth Araullo

Christian Mumenthaler, CEO of Swiss Re, anticipates significant growth in China's insurance sector, which is projected to double over the next decade.

This growth comes amid China's robust economic expansion, despite some concerns about a potential slowdown. Mumenthaler noted that China remains one of the world's fastest-growing economies, with an expected growth rate of about 5%.

In a report from China Daily, Mumenthaler explained China's insurance market is expanding at a pace faster than the overall economy.

“We think that premiums will double in 10 years, so we want to be part of that,” he said, underscoring the strategic importance of the Chinese market to Swiss Re's operations.

China is poised to become an increasingly crucial market for Swiss Re, which already considers it a key strategic location. The insurance penetration rate in China is relatively low, and the gap between economic and insured losses in natural disasters remains substantial. These factors highlight the potential for growth in sectors like catastrophe, corporate, and agricultural insurance.

Swiss Re's involvement in China is significant, with net premiums and fee income in the country totaling $1.537 billion in 2023, accounting for about 3% of its total net premiums. This makes China the fifth-largest market for Swiss Re and its largest emerging economy market.

Mumenthaler mentioned that Swiss Re has built “very close, very strong relationships” in China since establishing a wholly owned branch in Beijing in 2003. He credited the early liberalization of China's reinsurance market post-WTO accession for Swiss Re's strong position in the region.

Looking forward, Swiss Re is focusing on expanding its mortality products in China, responding to the country's aging population. Property and casualty products, particularly in areas linked to natural catastrophes, agriculture, and the green transition, also present significant opportunities.

Mumenthaler expressed optimism about China's progress in green transition, which could provide Swiss Re with new business opportunities as the country leads in the production of vital green materials such as steel and aluminum.

“On the decarbonization front, I think China has a real potential competitive advantage because China last year has probably installed more green energy than the rest of the world,” he said.

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