Peak Re aims to ride Asia-Pacific potential

'Asia-centric' reinsurer launches in Hong Kong with plans for push into mainland markets

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 4:21am

Peak Reinsurance, a new reinsurer aiming to capture the burgeoning Asia-Pacific market, launched yesterday, two weeks after getting official approval to offer underwriting operations in Hong Kong.

Peak Re, which promotes itself as the first regional reinsurer, is funded by Fosun International, an investment group with a focus on China, and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.

It has initial capital of US$550 million and was rated A-minus by credit rating agency A.M. Best.

Fosun put US$468 million into the venture while IFC contributed the remainder.

The firm's initial focus will be on mainland markets, specialising in property and casualty treaty reinsurance.

Fosun Group president Wang Qunbin said there was huge potential for the insurance industry in the Asia-Pacific, especially in China where there were few players.

Peak Re's first client is China Pacific Insurance, the nation's No3 insurer.

The company also has plans to service markets in Japan, Korea and Australia, saying the mature insurance markets would be vital to risk management and portfolio diversification.

Peak Re chief executive Franz-Josef Hahn said Hong Kong is the best location from a financial perspective, citing the city's ready access to the mainland and efficient insurance regulations as main reasons for the company locating its headquarters here.

Hahn said that while the Asia-Pacific held great opportunities as economies continued to outpace world growth, they were still "appallingly" underinsured.

"Countries like Thailand and Indonesia have experienced great economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2011, with 78 per cent of losses uninsured," he said.

This was in contrast with the US, where 27 per cent of the losses were uninsured in the same year.

Hahn also added that "Peak Re aims to play a major role by keeping risks in check for developing economies across Asia".

In a market dominated by international names such as Swiss Re and Munich Re, Hahn said: "Peak Re's Asia-centric focus … will allow Peak Reinsurance to stand out."