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Swiss Re launches regional HQ in Singapore

REINSURANCE major Swiss Re yesterday launched its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, signalling the strength of its commitment to the region.

It also announced the composition of a regional board of directors for Swiss Re Asia, headed by Lim Siong Guan, former group president of GIC and currently adviser to the GIC Group Executive Committee.

Jayne Plunkett, Swiss Re chief executive for Asia, said Asia has always been a key pillar of the business. The establishment of the regional headquarters here "brings us some new perspectives".

She added: "Having some inputs from our external board gives us different ways to think about opportunities going forward and helps us to craft our vision as we see these markets growing and changing."

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Asia accounts for about a quarter of Swiss Re's group revenues.

Asia's protection gap is huge, and this is an opportunity for Swiss Re, said Ms Plunkett. "We're not talking about the smallest risks; even relatively large risks don't have the right amount of insurance attached to them. The opportunity we see is to think about new models to bring to the insurance industry."

The potential areas of growth are health, natural catastrophe and cyber risks.

Mr Lim said the board is excited by the opportunities in the region and how Swiss Re can be best-positioned to tap into them. "Asia has experienced strong economic growth and development in recent years. This naturally comes with additional risk for businesses, governments and societies.

"As the world becomes more interconnected, the nature of risks develops - geopolitical uncertainty, growing environmental concerns, ageing populations and new health challenges become significant issues to be addressed in the region."

The other external directors to the board include Masaaki Shirakawa, professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and former governor of the Bank of Japan; and Deanna Ong Aun Nee, chief people officer and managing director at GIC. The board also includes five members of Swiss Re's group executive committee, including Ms Plunkett and Thomas Wellauer, group chief operating officer.

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