New ASEAN boss Stefan Feldmann outlines growth plans for region

Business growth

HDI Global is on the look-out for acquisitions in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Phillipines as part of its growth plans in Asia-Pacific.

ASEAN and Australasian managing director Stefan Feldmann told StrategicRISK that the group was looking to expand its regional footprint in those “key growth markets”.

By 2019, HDI Global aims to derive 65% of its gross written premium from non-German markets. Today that figure is close to 60%.

Feldmann said he was “confident that the ASEAN region would be a significant contributor to that growth” through acquisitions, an increased focus on international programmes, new mid-market clients and growth in the group’s key lines of property, power and energy.

The group’s growth ambitions coincide with its rebrand last month from HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung to HDI Global SE, and a restructure of its Asia-Pacific operations.

HDI Global chief executive and deputy chairman of the board of management of parent group Talanx, Dr Christian Hinsch, said the renaming was an “important milestone in our more than 100-year history”.

“Our new name reflects the increasingly international profile of our business,” he said last month.

New ASEAN structure

HDI Global’s previous hubs in the Asia-Pacific region have now been combined into an ASEAN arm under Feldmann’s leadership.

The insurer has established bases in Singapore and Sydney, Australia, is currently in the process of opening a Labuan branch in Malaysia, and has also recently opened offices in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia.

“Our organisational integration now allows our offices to join forces in securing larger projects and working with more sizeable customers than previously possible with separate capacities,” Feldmann said.

“With this restructure it provides our colleagues in Singapore [with] access to the much higher capacities that the Australasian operations have built up and the technical knowledge of the team here.”

Over the past five years, Australasia’s operations enjoyed 560% growth and “solid underwriting returns”, Feldmann said.

“If you look at the potential of the ASEAN region, some of the numbers are quite staggering – there’s $2.5trn in GDP, there’s 620 million people, [and] collectively the region [has] the seventh largest economy in the world. There’s a lot of potential,” he said.

“It’s fair to say that compared to our position in Europe and Germany we are highly under-represented in [the ASEAN] area at present.

“We have a lot to offer in terms of our capabilities, particularly for large industrial and manufacturing clients for large projects, and also with our technical capability in assessing risk and working with clients and providing our technical input, loss control input, claims handling and risk engineering.

“We’re also not shying away from heavy-end liability risks. We understand those risks very well and it’s something we would like to see more of,” he said.

Feldmann added that another priority over the next 12 months was to increase the number of accounts on which HDI Global is the lead insurer.