Munich Re: Everything you need to know
Premium income (2018): €49.1 billion
Employees: 41,000 worldwide
Munich Re is a leading global reinsurer, providing products that range from traditional reinsurance to solutions for risk assumption. Meanwhile, its primary insurance operations are concentrated in the ERGO Group AG, which is represented worldwide in more than 30 countries, though it focuses on Europe and Asia. ERGO has a broad spectrum of insurance-related products, including property and legal protection insurance in Germany (via ERGO Versicherung AG). It is also a specialist in capital market-focused insurance through ERGO Vorsorge Lebensversicherung AG.
Munich Re’s story started in 1880 when Carl Thieme established a business model based on independence from primary insurers, a broad spread of risks, and a system of treaty management, all working in unison with clients and innovative insurance concepts. The first iteration of Munich Re was Münchener Rück, and the company grew in product offerings and size, as well as across geographies throughout the 20th century.
In 2009, the company united its outposts under the Munich Re brand, which included the specialised providers and primary insurers that are managed from within reinsurance.
Munich Re in the news
2009: Munich Re acquires specialty insurer HSB Group from US insurer AIG for €555 million
2012: Munich Re becomes the first insurance group to provide serial loss cover for offshore wind turbines
2014: Munich Re begins offering insurance for commercial satellite operators that covered a satellite’s whole service life
2018: ERGO Group AG waves goodbye to its life insurance business in Russia
2019: Munich Re’s full-year profits soar to €2.3 billion
Key people as of 2019
Joachim Wenning – Chairman of the board of management
Wenning has been a member of the board of management since 2009. Between January 2009 and January 2017, he was responsible for the life division, while from October 2013 to April 2017, he also oversaw the human resources division and held the position of labour relations director.
Wenning was appointed chairman of the board of management in 2017, and was also responsible for group holdings until March 2019. Currently, he looks after a whole host of areas in the company, including group strategy and M&A, group communications, group audit, economics, sustainability and public affairs, group human resources, group executive affairs, and group compliance and legal.
Before working for Munich Re, Wenning received an economics degree from the University of Munich, and then joined the company in 1991, working as a treaty specialist with technical responsibility for life reinsurance clients in Germany. At the same time, Wenning was writing his doctoral thesis, before transferring to the group’s company Hamburg-Mannheimer Versicherungs-AG in Hamburg in 1997, where he stayed for for two and a half years. He later got experience in life reinsurance in several markets, and then took over the company’s strategic development, with a mandate focused on financial solutions in life and health reinsurance, and financial institutions business.
A key topic of focus for Munich Re is climate change. In fact, for over four decades, the company has been keeping up with climate change as well as the related risks and opportunities it poses for the insurance industry. Its approach to coping with the fallout of a warming planet is based on a combination of risk assessment, insurance solutions, and asset management.
One climate-related initiative the company has taken on has been divesting from coal under the Unfriend Coal campaign. As of March 2019, nine major insurers and reinsurers, including Munich Re, had announced they would stop insuring coal-fired power plants.
As part of its climate strategy, Munich Re is also committed to addressing the issue via the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII), which aims to protect newly industrialised and developing countries that will be especially affected by the impact of climate change.
MCII is a non-profit initiative made up of insurers, scientists, and representatives from non-governmental organisations who focus on the development of commercially viable insurance solutions to safeguard people in developing and emerging countries against the growing losses caused by weather-related extreme events. The initiative is hosted at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security.