Germany 'must open up' to global insurance market
Fri 08 Jun 2012
The euro-zone crisis and the export-led boom in German industry are making Germany’s insurance buyers look to markets outside their own borders for insurance solutions, according to Jan Blumenthal, Lloyd’s General Representative for Germany.
Blumenthal, who in January succeeded Burkard von Siegfried following his retirement after 20 years in the role, believes the Euro’s difficulties have highlighted issues with insurer solvency and the long-term sustainability of the German insurance market.
It shows that countries can’t 'go it alone' – they should look beyond their domestic markets. German buyers want to be sure that their insurers will be there when they need them. "Lloyd’s is a transparent market that enjoys an excellent A+ financial-strength rating," he says. "And it is also a front runner in preparing for Europe’s new capital rules, Solvency II."
Germany’s thriving export sector is another reason why German buyers could benefit by engaging with international insurers. "From large multinational corporates to medium-sized family-run technology companies, German businesses are selling goods across the world. Germany is a big beneficiary of globalisation, and this trend lends itself to Lloyd’s," says Blumenthal.
German companies, including small- to medium-sized firms, need access to the world insurance market. "For the domestic insurance market in Germany to be sustainable, it must act as one with the wider European and global insurance markets."
Germany’s domestic insurance market is competitive, but it remains relatively closed. "Clients believe that they can get everything they need in the German market, but there are many products available at Lloyd’s that they do not know about – such as insurance to cover mergers and acquisitions," he says.
Lloyd’s is also a leading market for international catastrophe and political risk insurance, which could help German companies exporting to, or operating in, unfamiliar markets.
"German companies operate in international markets, and have international boards and shareholders. It is now time for Germany to open up to the international insurance market. Lloyd’s is easy to access and is in a strong strategic position," says Blumenthal.
He has set himself the goal of making the Lloyd’s market more visible in Germany. "I want to promote Lloyd’s as a strategic, stable and reliable partner for insurance."
Germany’s in-house brokers are an important target group. Many large German companies operate insurance brokers to arrange their own insurance, as well as to offer insurance to employees and clients. "Lloyd’s has many products and the capacity to offer in-house brokers, who could potentially become Lloyd’s coverholders," he says.
There are already 20 Lloyd’s coverholders geared to small- to medium-sized companies in Germany, and their number is expected to grow as coverholder business increases by 10-20% per annum. There are also opportunities for managing agents at Lloyd’s to work with domestic German brokers – both international and national – as well as regional and specialist brokers.
"There are a wide number of professional German brokers who would be interested in the products that local German insurers currently do not have," he says.
Lloyd’s could also be an attractive market for German insurers, as it can provide them with additional reinsurance capacity, as well as solutions that would enable them to sell specialist insurance under their own brand names.
"We have been opening up the German market for Lloyd’s managing agents. The time is right to grow in Germany."