PartnerRe ‘closer to the client’ after restructure: Clarke

PartnerRe’s latest P&C restructuring will leave the business more agile and allow it to make quicker decisions, the reinsurer’s president and CEO Emmanuel Clarke has told The Insurance Insider

Earlier this month, Bermuda-based PartnerRe restructured its P&C business in an overhaul which included the departure of divisional CEO Charles Goldie. 

As this publication has previously reported, the latest structural change splits the P&C division into three segments: Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific. 

The decision to split the P&C platform into three regional sections comes two and a half years after PartnerRe made an initial overhaul of its business back in 2016. 

Some have questioned the rationale behind the repeated rethinking of its business model, but Clarke explained that the latest restructure is part of PartnerRe’s plan to help meet its clients’ needs. 

“[The changes allow] allows us to be more regionally focused, more agile and quicker in our decisions and closer to the client. That’s the reason we've done this,” Clarke said. 

“The industry is changing and the reinsurance world is changing, and I believe it’s the CEO’s responsibility to make sure we adapt and set up the best operating model to execute our strategy. Rather than a sign of weakness, this reorganisation is a sign of agility and willingness to change in order to continuously improve the service we offer our clients and the way we run our business.” 

Clarke said his company is one of few firms that occupy a special position in the industry. It is large enough to matter to its clients and can play in the big leagues in terms of having access to global brokers and being a partner they want to deal with. However, PartnerRe remains small enough to be nimbler than some of its larger competitors, the CEO said. 

“We’ve got to cultivate and maintain this agility because it’s one of our competitive differentiators – to be quicker, to be faster and to be more responsive,” said Clarke. 

“This reorganisation is also a way for me to preserve and even enhance that agility.” 

That ability to swiftly navigate the challenges posed by the industry’s evolution will put PartnerRe in a strong position moving forward, said Clarke. 

“What we’re going to see over time is a bifurcation of the reinsurance market – clients wanting to entertain a panel of core reinsurers of between five and 10. They’ll be really relevant and those who can offer across-the-board solutions. Not just commoditised solutions but more customised ones. 

“At the same, there will still be room, a need and space for smaller, more commodity play reinsurers. That will potentially go through the bidding platforms – it’s needed to complete some of the capacities that are out there. But that’s a different model to us.” 

Other companies that began life as reinsurance-focused entities have broadened their remit into the primary insurance space, but Clarke said PartnerRe remains committed to its business plan. 

“We’re committed to our strategy and bullish about the need for reinsurance going forward, and we think we have what it takes to actually win this. We’re not going to change our strategy and we’re relevant enough – we’re small and agile compared with some of the big guys,” said Clarke. 

“Long story short, our strategy is to diversify in non-life and specialty, and then life and health rather than trying to enter into insurance, which is something we know is going to be a lot more difficult to succeed in,” Clarke added. 



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