Munich Re still optimistic on China prospects

Global reinsurer may scale up business over time, CEO says

Munich Re still optimistic on China prospects


By Kenneth Araullo

Munich Re continues to view China as a key market, offering promising business opportunities despite the complex geopolitical landscape.

In an interview with China Daily, Joachim Wenning, Munich Re’s chair of the board of management, said that the firm, which has operated in China for two decades, anticipates that its Chinese operations may become a more significant part of its global business portfolio over time. The company is hopeful that its presence in China might eventually surpass other markets.

In China, Munich Re records an annual premium income of approximately €2 billion euros ($2.19 billion), a figure that continues to grow. The increase is attributed to the potential for a wider range of risks in China, particularly those related to natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, to be insured and reinsured.

The National Financial Regulatory Administration, though not providing an official estimate, acknowledged in November that the catastrophe insurance business in China is experiencing a growth phase. Last summer, the insurance industry paid out over €10 billion yuan ($1.39 billion) in claims to regions affected by typhoons and floods.

Wenning also noted emerging opportunities linked to China’s progress on green technologies and energy investments, which introduce new risks requiring insurance solutions.

“The need for reinsurance and the need for global expertise in China is unchanged. I could even say (it) is as vivid as it ever was,” he said. “It is strategic for Munich Re to be in the economy and in the market, locally present, which over time is going to be the largest economy in the world, which over time is going to be the largest insurance market in the world.”

Munich Re’s confidence in China is also further bolstered by the country’s efforts to improve its business environment, including greater adherence to the rule of law and effective regulation by the insurance authority.

The Central Economic Work Conference in December reiterated China’s ambition to create a world-class, market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment, strengthening the “Invest in China” brand.

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