Fresh approach to the Indian market
It is predicted that India will become the world's third largest economy in terms of GDP by 2020. Munich Re expects strong growth in the construction, energy, liability and agriculture segments, and is currently aligning its strategic approach to participate in this growth. The new Chief Representative (Non-Life) of Munich Re, Mumbai, Hitesh Kotak, about his initial experience and expectations for the future.
What has your experience been like so far working for Munich Re in India?
The last year with Munich Re have been quite exciting for me. Switching from being a buyer of reinsurance to being a seller, and moving from a very local market leader in primary insurance to one of the largest reinsurers worldwide has been quite an interesting transition. I was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in Munich interacting with different teams and developing my understanding of our rich legacy of knowledge and expertise. This allowed me to focus on some of our strengths that might be relevant for the market. I also gained very useful insights from my visits to some other business units in Asia, both from their understanding of the local markets and their approach to business. I was very impressed by the extensive knowledge base that Munich Re can offer its clients. Going forward, I am keen to work on the best ways to combine Munich Re's expertise with market solutions and position ourselves in the Indian market.
What are your expectations for the Indian market for the next five years?
Needless to say, to establish ourselves as one of the leading reinsurers for our targeted client groups. We will be tracking changes on the regulatory front closely and ensuring that we are in the best possible position to exploit any opportunities from this reform process. We would really like to return to basics and work closely with clients to identify new opportunities and present them with solutions that can help them achieve their key objectives of customer focus, profitable growth and capital efficiency. The reinsurance sector is expected to remain quite competitive as most of the leading reinsurers are active in the market, so it will be even more critical for us to establish close ties with our clients. We also need to ensure we are able to provide them with the best possible reinsurance solutions. As well, we would like to occupy the value-added space and work our way towards a 'preferred partnership'. The only way to be successful is to keep our initiatives rolling forward and remain proactive with our clients.
What do you consider the biggest challenges, and what are the biggest opportunities?
I have been asked this question many times over the last few months and I openly admit that, contrary to my expectations, I found that most of the teams support the initiatives we are planning for our re-focus on India. Various teams in Munich have been prepared to revise their previous assumptions and apply a fresh approach to their forecasts for the market. It is true that managing profitable growth in such a diverse and competitive market remains a constant challenge, but a focused approach with a mix of customized solutions and stronger client engagement can bring us closer to our goals. I already see many colleagues becoming increasingly comfortable about sharing our fresh perspective with clients and, by the same token, clients are displaying more transparency in their approach to helping us bridge the gap at a rapid pace. I also feel that our new office in Mumbai is helping us establish a good footing in the market. Munich Re is now both aware of short-term opportunities and fully equipped to plan long-term solutions for clients, based on their individual requirements.