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Swiss Re to set up regional headquarters in Singapore next year

IN a sign that Swiss Re is increasing its focus on this part of the world, the reinsurer says that it will set up a regional headquarters in Singapore in 2018 under a new entity that will oversee its network of reinsurance operations in Asia.

Called Swiss Re Asia, the company will be wholly owned by its Zurich-based global parent, Swiss Re Ltd, and will share the latter's credit rating, the reinsurer said on Tuesday.

It said that the Asian reinsurance network is expected to realign to the new structure by 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

Swiss Re Asia will continue to serve its clients and partners across the region through its network of offices, mirroring its existing footprint in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, it said.

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The new structure of the reinsurance business will not affect Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in Asia, the group said, adding that the move aligns the company's legal entity structure across its Asia, Europe and Americas regions.

Jayne Plunkett, Swiss Re's chief executive of reinsurance in Asia and also regional president of Asia, said that the move demonstrates the group's commitment to Asia.

The Asian insurance sector has seen strong growth over the past decade, with the region now accounting for 30 per cent of global insurance premiums, compared with 20 per cent in 2007.

Swiss Re said that it expects the region's non-life and life premiums to grow by 5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively in real terms per annum in the coming decade. Emerging Asian insurance markets are projected to grow even faster.

"To embrace the fast growing insurance industry, we are committed to the growth of our talent base. This change will provide our employees with more opportunities for personal growth within the region itself," said Ms Plunkett.

Swiss Re's Hong Kong branch, formed in 1956, will continue to be the Asian hub for the company's life and health business. It will also remain as the base for a number of its property and casualty teams.

Clients and partners will continue to be served by the local teams, said Swiss Re, which has been operating in Asia since 1913 and now employs over 1,900 staff.