Insurer Great American officially opens here

Mr Chee Keng Koon
Mr Chee Keng Koon

A new entrant in the local insurance sector believes it can grab market share despite stiff competition in the market here.

Great American Insurance Group, which officially opened its first office here yesterday - also its first in Asia - aims to derive about 70 per cent of its revenue in Singapore by providing cover to specific business sectors.

The company insures firms against damage and risks to property or construction projects. It also sells products to the maritime sector and malpractice insurance policies to professionals such as lawyers, accountants and doctors. It will provide personal insurance, such as car and home cover, as well.

The company is targeting businesses with annual revenue of up to $200 million and will predominantly use external brokers to distribute its products.

Its office, which started operating in May, employs 38 staff members and the company intends to hire 32 more by the end of next year.

Mr Chee Keng Koon, chief executive of Great American's Singapore branch, told a briefing that relatively few insurance companies here offered the commercial insurance Great American Insurance Group sold.

Great American, which has offices in North America and Europe, expects to generate annual revenue of $100 million by the end of 2017 from its Singapore branch and achieve a net profit of 6.5 per cent by then.

The firm said it has set up shop here because Singapore's insurance market was "well regulated" with "substantial potential for future growth", while also offering it the chance to establish a presence in Asia.

Mr Vince McLenaghan, executive vice-president at Great American Insurance Group, noted that reinsurance company, Munich RE, said that around 40 per cent of the world's gross premium will be written in Asia by 2020.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Insurer Great American officially opens here'. Print Edition | Subscribe