Tony Egerton, CEO of Nexus Asia
Insurance intermediary holding company and managing general agent (MGA) Nexus Group is bullish about the growth prospects in Asia and is planning to launch into a number of specialty lines including trade credit and warranty & indemnity insurance when the right opportunities emerge.
That is according to Anthony Egerton, principal officer & chief executive officer, Asia, speaking during the SIRC 2020 Re-Mind virtual conference, taking place this week in place of the physical 17th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference, which has been rescheduled to November 2021.
As part of its ambitions to grow, the company has hired Justin Yeo as head of Nexus Accident & Health, Asia, from Aspen Singapore where he was previously head of accident & health responsible for establishing and developing Aspen’s accident & health presence in Asia.
Based in Singapore, Yeo will join the new Nexus Accident & Health division that has been created to build a diverse global accident & health account and will report to managing director Peter Slot.
Egerton said Yeo’s appointment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the group’s continued appetite for growth and willingness to invest in the business.
“This is particularly so in Asia for product lines where we already have expertise and experience elsewhere in the world.
“Nexus worldwide has continued to hire throughout these difficult times and launch new underwriting facilities. Indeed, we have just taken on the second annual intake of graduate trainees in our Labuan office to support regional and international growth initiatives,” he added.
“If the final quarter continues accordingly, 2020 will prove to be our best year’s results ever.” Anthony Egerton, Nexus
Room for growth
Egerton said the business sees opportunities for growth across Asia, although the specific nature of those opportunities varies considerably by country and line of business. Highly developed markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore offer “significant openings” for new and developing product lines, while the emerging and developing markets elsewhere in ASEAN continue to provide exciting growth potential, he explained.
“The mammoth markets of China and India are evolving at a phenomenal pace, with their domestic champions now keen to play influential roles on the regional stage. The latter have recognised the benefits that an experienced and professional MGA platform can offer in achieving their ambitions. Nexus is proud to be working with many of them in doing so.”
He added that while the macroeconomic impact of COVID-19 has clearly affected the demand for insurance, the robust and disciplined approach by Asian governments to contain the pandemic has positioned their markets to emerge earlier and stronger than those elsewhere.
“Evidence of this is already been seen in the return to positive gross domestic product growth across many regional economies,” he said.
“Nexus Asia has weathered this challenging crisis well so far, delivering the best first three quarters ever in our history in the region. If the final quarter continues accordingly, 2020 will prove to be our best year’s results ever.
“We are continuing to work with our clients and their brokers to deliver solutions that meet their needs and objectives.”
“One disappointment has been the slowdown in our investment and acquisition plans. As mentioned previously, we have continued to invest in the business and hire new team members, but it has not been to the scale that we had hoped. As such, we plan to accelerate this investment activity in order to make up for lost ground as societies and economies emerge from this pandemic.”
Egerton believes that the impact of COVID-19 has made all companies and individuals re-evaluate the costs and efficiencies associated with all aspects of daily life. He admits that re/insurance can be a notoriously inefficient business.
“The plans of all market participants, both existing and new entrants, will have been accelerated by the huge disruptions being experienced across the globe,” he said.
All this will play out against a backdrop of market conditions that are firmer now than at any time in recent years—although the hardening has not been as acute as elsewhere, he said.
“In particular, the local offices and branches of international players, including Lloyd’s Syndicates, are exiting lines of business and retrenching staff across the region.
“As marine and financial lines are two of the specialty lines of business undergoing the most restructuring, Nexus Asia has been impacted by and benefited from these market disruptions.
“However, we are continuing to work with our clients and their brokers to deliver solutions that meet their needs and objectives, while ensuring that the terms and conditions are adequate enough to be viable in the long term,” he concluded.
Nexus, SIRC, Insurance, Reinsurance, MGA, Anthony Egerton, Asia-Pacific