Transportation of Passengers

Pioneer work: Direct motor insurance in Southeast Asia

Singapore, whose land area is roughly equivalent to that of the city of Hamburg in Germany, has an estimated population of 4.8 million. Due to the city state’s restrictive traffic policy, private car ownership is subject to strict regulations. Levies on imported motor vehicles amount to over 200% in some cases. Given that there are only about 550,000 registered passenger vehicles, the Singapore market is reasonably transparent and also an ideal platform for transferring the experience gained here with processes, systems and marketing activities to other Southeast Asian markets.


The Whittington Insurance Group began preparing to launch DirectAsia in Singapore at the beginning of 2009. Munich Re acted as a solution provider, supporting DirectAsia through its local market knowledge, access to an international network of experts and comprehensive motor insurance expertise. This strong cooperation led DirectAsia and Munich Re to negotiate a tailor-made reinsurance solution.

Knowledge and Capacity of Munich Re convincing

Besides knowledge and experience, solvency was a strategic factor behind DirectAsia’s decision to cooperate with Munich Re. Particularly with insurance startups, clients and the local insurance supervisory authority keep a close eye on an insurer’s reliability. Munich Re’s financial strength and rating were key elements in DirectAsia’s decision to select Munich Re as a risk carrier.

Munich Re put together a project team for DirectAsia consisting of employees from Munich Re in Singapore and Munich and from the Motor Consulting Unit (MCU). DirectAsia had already acquired above-average expertise and drafted a very solid business plan. Over the course of the entire project phase, Munich Re provided support for products, ideas, and processes across several classes of business.

In particular, the MCU’s many years of experience with internet startups of motor insurers in Europe – one MCU expert was involved in the direct insurance launch team of a major German primary insurance company – helped DirectAsia to refine its processes.

DirectAsia identifies with Singapore

DirectAsia was firmly committed to identifying with Singapore right from the start. Besides a creative approach to promoting its advertising messages using guerrilla marketing tactics, DirectAsia launched a variety of campaigns, such as a series of TV ads about traffic safety with a famous actor and his family highlighting dangerous situations, for example driving without a seat belt.

Great start and even better prospects for the future

The formula was successful – DirectAsia is progressing in line with its ambitious business plan: DirectAsia is planning to expand into new markets and wants to service the entire region in the long run. By the end of 2012 DirectAsia hopes to be selling insurance in four Asian territories.” And with Munich Re, DirectAsia can always rely on the service and the reinsurance protection of a strong and experienced partner.