May 092013

MANILA, Philippines – After nearly two decades, a major foreign insurance and financial institution has entered the country’s struggling non-life insurance industry.

Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd. received its certificate of authority to operate from the Insurance Commission (IC) yesterday, after raising P1 billion as minimum paid-up capital.

Starr International is part of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc., the diversified investment group of Maurice “Hank” R. Greenberg, the former the head of insurance giant American International Group (AIG).

In an interview, Starr International Insurance president and chief executive officer Ross E. Matthews said they are willing to cooperate with other domestic insurers in creating business.

He said they would be starting exploratory talks with AIG’s former – subsidiary Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life), which has a composite license. A composite license holder empowers it to operate both as a life and non-life insurer.

Philam Life has not been utilizing its non-life insurance privileges in the past few years.

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“There are areas in their business were we can work together, especially their retail and corporate accounts,” Mattews added.

The Hong Kong-based insurer said the Philippines is favorably viewed by foreign businesses, and that foreign direct investments (FDI) are expected to flood the local market.

Starr International prefers to look for opportunities in the power sector, oil exploration and distribution, mining and mining-related activities, port operations and other port-related passenger and cargo activities, utilizes, real estate, airport and airport-related activities as well as airplanes, among others.

“We will not compete with the existing domestic players but in fact we are prepared to work with them,” Matthews said.

Starr International is also into risk management and risk management engineering, safety loss controls, and claims. It is also in a position to support the onshore re-insurance business.

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