Tony Egerton, CEO, Nexus Structured Solutions
16 November 2021Insurance

Nexus is looking ahead

As SIRC rolls on this week, one of the discussions that Intelligent Insurer keeps hearing is about the need to bring new blood into the industry, especially when the world is still rattling through a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Many have turned to hiring, onboarding, and training virtually. One of these is Nexus Structured Solutions. Joining Intelligent Insurer at the 1.1 Club, our online and on-demand platform for one-on-one interviews with industry leaders, was the company’s principal officer and chief executive officer Tony Egerton.

2021 has been a tough year in the market for some, he said. “It’s certainly been tougher from a buyer’s perspective,” he opined, “but I wouldn’t characterise the Asian specialty insurance markets as being a hard market, certainly not by historical standards elsewhere in the world.

“But by current standards, in the major wholesale markets, there’s still a lot of capacity for specialist insurance. It has been for many years a buyer’s market. I wouldn’t say so now, but it’s certainly not a hard market.”

“In the major wholesale markets, there’s still a lot of capacity for specialist insurance.” Tony Egerton, Nexus Structured Solutions

Egerton explained that 2021 has been a year in which Nexus has chosen to expand. He said: “The last 12 months have been ones of extraordinary growth for us,” he said. “This has brought its own challenges, but we’ve been fortunate that many of the investments made in recent years have begun to pay off, so that’s meant we’ve had to hire. And we’ve done it virtually, which is something we’ve never done before.”

“I don’t think many of us had done this until the last couple of years. We’ve gone on a hiring spree and it’s been a pleasure to create new jobs in this kind of environment, particularly for young people. We’ve hired about half a dozen new graduate trainees, none of whom I’ve met in person.”

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A diverse region

A key lesson that Nexus’s new staff will have to take on board is the diversity of the Asian region. Far from a one-size-fits-all approach, Egerton advised that there is great differentiation and variety in this part of the world. However, he said, “These markets continue to offer incredible opportunities.

“We have very advanced markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, but there are also emerging markets in places such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Thailand. Those countries, within their own borders, are hugely diverse, and that’s not even mentioning China and India, the two largest populations in the world.

“They will soon become the largest insurance markets in Asia. That scale of diversity is so difficult to explain easily.”

Given that there is seemingly so much potential in the Asian region’s insurance sector, how does it fit into Nexus’s plans?

“We’ve publicly said we want to get to $50 million of gross written premium in the region,” said Egerton. “That remains our objective, and we’re on target to deliver that within the next couple of years.”

“There is great differentiation and variety in this part of the world.”

“That would be great, except our parent company also continues to grow very fast. So we have to up our game, frankly, and think about how we can continue to make a meaningful contribution to Nexus and its aspirations. The company is already writing half a billion dollars around the world and it’s stated publicly that it wants to get to $1 billion of gross written premium within three years. That shows what we have to do to remain relevant in the group.”

This would involve working on closing the protection gap, notoriously large in the region. A growing and expanding middle class, accumulating more assets and material goods, should lead to an uptick for the industry. But that sort of development is still nascent.

Egerton sees the problem as partly economic. “There just hasn’t been an ability to pay. There’s also been a lack of knowledge and understanding, particularly in certain cultures where there’s an unwillingness or concern about embracing insurance.

“There are genuine cultural and, sometimes, religious reasons that mean we have to adapt, develop, and appreciate in order to provide the kind of service and safety that are needed in these societies and their economies. Often, this is desperately needed.”

To view the full 1.1 Club interview click here

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