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CIO interview: Balancing internal and external clients at an insurer's affiliate

SCOR decided to fully centralise the investment process at group level in 2008, and open asset management services to third-party clients in 2011. Francois De Varenne, in charge of today's €20bn investment portfolio, explains the rational around the decision, how it went about building the current structure. Interview by Vincent Huck

Nine lessons from general account investing in 2021

2020 bruised many chief investment officers who had to fight to maintain their general accounts. But insurers' full-year results are revealing that the year wasn't a losing battle for many. David Walker reports

Hong Kong's modern-day CIO is investment 'match-maker'

Hong Kong's life insurers face the ongoing challenge of unearthing long-dated assets to match long-dated liabilities - a task set to get harder under the planned risk-based capital rules. David Walker discusses the options with investment professionals at insurers confronting the challenge head-on

A testing climate for munis

US municipal bonds have been a staple asset for insurers. But as underwriters brace for the effects of climate change, some insurers are questioning if lending to states hit with increasingly frequent and more severe hurricanes and wild fires is a sensible use of their general accounts. David Walker and Sarfraz Thind report

Germany's ZZR remains a conundrum for insurers

Calculating pay-ins in Germany's Zinszusatzreserve (ZZR) was overhauled in 2018 to reduce pressure on German insurers to build the reserve too quickly by selling valuable investments just to satisfy mandatory contributions. Has the reform been just a 'one-year wonder'? David Walker investigates

Sunlife CIO on the art of catching flying daggers

COVID-19 was the 'known unknown' that Randy Brown, CIO at SunLife, has been preparing for the best part of the last five years. So, when markets went into turmoil in H1 2020 the only question that remained was one of timing: when to catch the falling knife? Interview by Vincent Huck

US insurers timidly assessing climate risk

From increasingly fierce wildfires in California to recurring hurricane hits to the country's southern and eastern seaboards, US insurers are only too familiar with some intensifying effects of climate change, but are they doing anything about it? David Walker takes the temperature.