Tom Broughton, editor

It’s a reinsurance monster that performs in line with market expectation and assumption. A business that is built upon a disciplined, well-honed, organised culture that, at worst, is secretive and bureaucratic but, importantly, is massively profitable.

In a rare interview, Munich Re explains how its diversification tactics are being deployed to facilitate growth (see page 14). At the heart of its progression is a conservative investment and risk strategy that has insulated it in times of duress while its competitors have been left exposed. It is a legacy that has provided it with the confidence to delve into a war chest for further expansion in the general market, without unsettling its insurer customers.

This aggressive tactic in times of recession has prompted the Munich Re giant to stir and alert even the smallest of independent brokers to sit up and take note of what the impact on pricing will be. The market watches closely too to see where the Munich Re tentacles will spread next. Who will it partner with? Will it support the next MGA apprentice or buy a stake in a broking empire?

Thomas Lallinger, head of its reinsurance development division, insists that primary insurance has always been part of the plan and that the businesses are built upon a traditional model. But those who have worked with Munich Re will tell you that the parent group is ferocious in maintaining its own standards and that it is difficult to win its confidence.

It is also easy to see how Munich Re’s different “frontings” in the UK market, albeit developed slowly, deliberately and built upon assured foundations, creates pressure for its partner managers. And that’s the bit that will be interesting to watch. Just how ruthless will Munich Re be if things do not go according to plan? After all, the parent group is as powerful as it is predictable.

Why are regional brokers holding back from Lloyd’s?

It is a disconnect that is there for all to see. Lord Levene and Richard Ward (page 9) say that not a single regional broker has grasped the nettle to do business in Lloyd’s under access rule changes. Meanwhile, on page 16, Stephen Ross from Deloitte explains that the oldest insurer of them all enjoys a period of unprecedented strength – and why doing business in the Lloyd’s market is so attractive. What are you waiting for?