Handelsblatt Exclusive Munich RE Open to Acquisitions in Primary Insurance

Jörg Schneider, Munich Re's chief financial officer, said in an interview that the company is interested in making large acquisitions outside the reinsurance market if prices come down.
CEO Jörg Schneider.

The world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, is interested in making large acquisitions in the primary insurance sector if prices come down, the company’s chief financial officer, Jörg Schneider, told Handelsblatt.

“We are open to large acquisitions but the prices simply haven’t been right in recent years,” Mr. Schneider said in an interview.

Acquisitions are too expensive and do not reflect the growing insecurity in the world, the executive said, adding that he doesn't expect prices to come down in the near term.

“If we were to make an acquisition, however, then it wouldn’t be in traditional reinsurance,” Mr. Schneider said.

Instead, primary insurance companies with specializations that would expand Munich Re's expertise would be the “ideal acquisition partners,” the executive said.

The fact that Munich RE sees a potential opening in the primary insurance market is another sign of the sector’s turmoil. Handelsblatt recently reported that German insurance giant Allianz has held discussions with Australian insurer QBE about a possible acquisition. If the deal became reality, Allianz would supplant France’s Axa to become the world’s largest insurer by total assets.

The Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo is also considering acquiring Generali, Italy’s largest insurer, and potentially dividing the company up with Allianz.

Read the full story in Thursday's Handelsblatt Global.