PartnerRe looks set for catastrophe growth, makes Haft CEO Global Cat

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Bermuda headquartered, EXOR owned reinsurance company PartnerRe is targeting growth in catastrophe exposed underwriting opportunities and has created a new leadership role of CEO Global Cat, which it has given to current leadership executive Greg Haft.

PartnerRe logoPartnerRe has always had a focus on property catastrophe underwriting and has used third-party capital structures to enable investors and ILS funds to participate in the underwriting returns it generates from this business.

Operating a collateralised reinsurance sidecar like structure for some time now, PartnerRe is no stranger to catastrophe risks or working with third-party investors.

But today’s news of an expanded focus on catastrophe risks perhaps suggests more opportunity for investors to work with PartnerRe going forwards.

PartnerRe has created the new role of CEO Global Cat, which has been given to Greg Haft, who is currently the reinsurers CEO Specialty Lines and member of the Executive Leadership Team.

Haft will assume the role of CEO Global Cat from June 1st, to lead a newly created unit that combines PartnerRe’s centrally managed Property catastrophe risks portfolio and its Group Cat technical functions of research, modeling and portfolio management.

Philippe Meyenhofer, currently CEO P&C EMEA and member of the PartnerRe Executive Leadership Team will be appointed CEO Specialty Lines in Haft’s place.

The move suggests a growing appetite for catastrophe risk underwriting at PartnerRe at a time when rates are hardening and opportunities therefore improving.

As we reported recently, PartnerRe has also expanded its activities with third-party capital investors in recent months as well, not least by establishing a relationship with the largest ILS end-investor, Dutch pension fund manager PGGM.

Haft had previously led PartnerRe’s Cat unit for 5 years as Head of Global Cat and Property North America, having joined the reinsurer back in 2013.

Meyenhofer, Haft’s replacement as CEO Specialty Lines, joined PartnerRe in August 2010 and has held a number of leadership positions, including as Head of P&C Europe from July 2016 to April 2019.

Both appointments suggest a desire to grow into catastrophe lines and specialty lines, which are likely to be two areas of reinsurance that see the most hardening of rates over the coming months.

PartnerRe CEO Emmanuel Clarke explained, “Specialty Lines and Global Cat are critical to our performance and success as a global diversified reinsurer, with unique leadership requirements. Going forward, as markets improve, we need to ensure the Specialty book can deliver sustainable profitability and we can fully leverage our expertise and relationships to grow profitably in this diverse segment. Philippe has a proven track record of leading technical, complex businesses and has the skills needed to lead this unit.

“At the same time, the newly created Global Cat unit will enhance our ability to deploy our Cat capacity with a more centralized steering of our portfolio management. Greg’s deep knowledge of the catastrophe business, his franchise in the Cat market and his experience in leading our Cat unit make him the right choice to help advance our strategy and performance.”

Nick Hughes, Head of Global Cat, will now report to Haft and take responsibility for an expanded Cat portfolio, including US Cat as well as PartnerRe’s specific, large monoline relationships.

Joe Hooks, head of the North America Cat team at PartnerRe, will report to Hughes.

In Specialty lines, Christian Mitterer, currently PartnerRe’s Head of Specialty Casualty in P&C EMEA, will take on the role of Head of P&C EMEA, reporting to CEO Emmanuel Clarke. Mitterer has been leading PartnerRe’s Specialty Casualty unit within P&C EMEA since 2016.

Clarke added, “I am pleased we can fill these roles with our existing talent and leadership. As a result, this allows us to act now, ensuring we are well positioned as we respond to a fast-improving market, with leaders who are well known to the organization and our business partners.”

Of course, PartnerRe had recently been the subject of an acquisition attempt by French insurer Covea that failed to be completed. So it’s encouraging to see the reinsurer doubling-down on its own structure, to position itself to capitalise on market improvements in rates.

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