Swiss Re, 4 other reinsurers granted licence to operate in India

European reinsurance major Swiss Re has received the approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to open a branch in Mumbai. With the composite branch licence, Swiss Re will be able to operate in India and offer both non-life and life and health reinsurance solutions directly to clients and brokers in the country.

Global insurance majors are flocking to India to utilise its untapped potential, as the Indian insurance sector is poised to grow at an average annual growth rate of 8 per cent from 2017 to 2025.

Swiss Re is among the first five foreign reinsurance companies to obtain a licence to sell reinsurance in India. Swiss Re's newly licenced entity, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd, India Branch, will begin its operation on 1 February 2017, the company stated in a release.

Besides Swiss Re, IRDA has granted final licences (R3) to Munich Re, Hannover Re, SCOR and RGA to open branch operations in India.

Besides, the insurance sector regulator has cleared preliminary approvals to four more players, including Lloyd's of London, Gen Re of Warren Buffett and Axa Re last week. While Lloyd's has received R2, the second round of regulatory approvals, Axa Re and Gen Re have received R1. XL Catlin has also received the preliminary licence.

Swiss Re chief executive officer Reinsurance Asia, Jayne Plunkett, says: "This is a significant milestone for us. As a reinsurer, Swiss Re has served Indian insurers for over 87 years. Our new India branch, together with Swiss Re Global Business Solutions centered in Bangalore, represent our commitment and investment in India's long term future, and our ambition to be part of this dynamic high growth market."

"We will continue to be actively involved in supporting the development of the Indian insurance market and making India's society more resilient. Our clients and partners will benefit from a combination of innovative, customised risk transfer and capital management solutions, as well as our knowledge transfer and risk services support and delivery," adds Jayne.

Kalpana Sampat, currently managing director of Swiss Re Services India Private Ltd, will head the Swiss Re India branch as its chief executive officer (CEO). She will be responsible for developing the reinsurance business and operations of the branch. She brings with her 30 years of life insurance industry expertise with experience in insurance, audit and law, and has a profound understanding of the business culture.

Kalpana Sampat, CEO of the India branch, says: "India is a high growth market for Swiss Re and we are committed to the healthy and sustainable growth of the insurance market here. With Swiss Re's global experience, strong financial ratings, large net capacity, deep insight and proven underwriting knowledge, we have a strong value proposition for India and will generate significant value to our clients and partners in the market."

Over the years, Swiss Re has worked closely with various sectors across the Indian insurance industry to deploy a number of reinsurance solutions in the areas of life, health, agriculture and infrastructure.Swiss Re will capitalise on its more than 150 years of insurance knowledge, act as a trusted partner to the industry, lend support in pricing, product development, risk mitigation, risk management, claims handling, technology development and data analytics to the insurance market in India, the release adds.

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "A1" by Moody's and "A+" by AM Best.