General Insurance Corp of India (GIC Re) chairman and managing director Alice G. Vaidyan is excited about this year’s edition of Rendez Vous de Septembre international insurance and reinsurance congress in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
For the national reinsurer of India, its global ranking is set for upside changes at the 60th edition of the congress.
We have done well and we expect to move above the current 14th, and within the top 10, in 2020.
Her confidence also stems from the fact that the company chalked up a record 21.4 per cent growth this year, with total premiums to the tune of US$2.8 billion (RM11.4 billion).
It stands among the top three players in Asia.
The Tier-1 reinsurer wants to balance its current portfolio mix of domestic and foreign business within the same timeframe. Diversification is the name of the game.
We have a good strategy to evenly spread out our business across the world, she told Business Times.
Malaysia is a key market for GIC Re.
Having set up office in Labuan six years ago, it now serves all 10 Asean member countries as well as Timor Leste.
For the latest financial year, it recorded RM484 million in gross premiums, from RM447.1 million previously.
We have a long-term commitment to this market, with it being part of the Asian insurance and reinsurance community, and we have drawn up long-term plans.
GIC Re has offices in London to serve the United Kingdom and European Union, Dubai for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) markets and South Africa for rest of Africa.
GIC Re plans to serve Russia and Brazil while United States and China will feature in its long-term plans.
Meanwhile, it is awaiting approval from Chinese regulators to set up a representative office in Beijing.
The Indian reinsurer has also got into the merger and acquisition game, and is on the lookout for partners to spur inorganic growth.
Last year, it bought an outfit in South Africa. Lloyds is on its radar next.
We are also keen on Asia. We are not desperate or anxious but when the right target comes, we are game for it.
Global players such as Munich Re and Swiss Re will soon enter the Indian market but for GIC Re, which has a 50 per cent market share, there is ample space for all.
The entry of the global players will benefit the pulsating insurance market with their innovation, new products and best international practices.
In the region, Malaysia plays an important part, lending Asian connectedness to GIC Re.
Its Kuala Lumpur office is the fastest claims settling reinsurance company in this part of the world.
For us, Malaysia is a good country with stable political environment and is part of the Asian community. This will enable us to connect easily, she said.
On plans for the region, Alice said the company had infused an additional US$79.07 million capital into the Labuan office to expand capacity and to better serve Asean countries.
Malaysia is the fastest-growing market while others, such as the Philippines, are also growing quickly for GIC Re as well.
On the breakdown of the underwriting interest in Malaysia, motor ranks the highest and the Kuala Lumpur office is now beginning to underwrite for smaller aviation companies.
Apart from the five per cent growth which comes from Malaysia, the Mena markets also provide growth opportunities.
I think Asia is under-insured, so why not put all the alternate capital in the market and close the protection gap that we have? said Alice.
Asia has the highest protection gap as 80 per cent of the population are uninsured.
Digital insurance is making its mark and already the 40 per cent of marketing done online is able to reach the younger group in the demographic dividend of countries like India.
Alice is creating waves in the general insurance industry as she is the first woman to be appointed as chair in the history of the Indian insurance industry.
With 33 years of experience, Alice is confident that India’s growth story will be able to mitigate the soft global growth.
It’s been the longest soft market cycle and the low interest rate does not augur well for investments, but it’s not affecting India.
Unlike the saturated insurance markets in the West, the Indian market is looking at 15 to 20 per cent growth this year.
GIC Re is also ranked the fourth-largest aviation reinsurer globally and second-largest agriculture reinsurer globally.
There is a lot of growth happening as the government has a lot of plans crop insurance scheme (premium US$3 billion this year) for farmers, while health and motor insurances also hold a lot of potential for the 1.3 billion population.
The Indian government’s push for insurance for every Indian and financial inclusion efforts through bank accounts augur well for the growth of insurance and reinsurance companies.
We are looking for good growth and to grow smartly, and the bottomline growth is priority and should be sustainable, she added.
Curated from GIC Re expects higher global ranking