Direct arm of giant reinsurer tipped as Chinese say no

Munich Re board member Ludger Arnoldussen is reported to have said the reinsurer’s direct arm ERGO wants to buy the Asian life operations of troubled US giant insurer AIG.

Reuters reported: "We are looking at AIG life operations in the Asia region," he told reporters in Hong Kong. "We think the Chinese market is interesting for the primary insurance group, ERGO, so they are looking at opportunities there," Arnoldussen said.

He also said the Munich Re believed global reinsurance rates would increase by double-digit levels for January renewals as the financial crisis boosts demand.

Dow Jones reported Arnoldussen saying: "We've indicated we're interested in some parts, especially the Asian life operations, but only if it fits our long-term strategy. AIG's assets give our Ergo unit an opportunity to expand in Asia on the life side.”

China’s insurance regulators meanwhile dismissed rumours of s Chinese company buying Aid’s Asian business. "I think it's unlikely," Meng Zhaoyi, head of the international department at the China Insurance Regulatory Commission is reported to have said by Reuters, which supplied the initial China bid rumour.