INSURANCE COMMISSIONER Dennis B. Funa was elected as chairman of Asian Reinsurance Corp. (Asian Re), the Insurance Commission (IC) said.

In a statement sent to reporters on Thursday, the regulator said that the regional reinsurance firm unanimously elected Mr. Funa last June 28 to head Asian Re for two years.

Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, Asian Re operates as a professional reinsurer accepting business from the insurance markets in member states and elsewhere. It also serves as a regional center for the collection of insurance information as well as development of expertise in insurance and reinsurance.

Mr. Funa replaced Abdolnaser Hemmati, who had been appointed as the governor of the Central Bank of Iran.

The last time the Philippines chaired Asian Re was in 1985 when Insurance Commissioner Gregoria Cruz Arnaldo was elected.

Asian Re was established in May 1979 as an intergovernmental organization endorsed by the United Nations Conference on Trade Development as well as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

At present, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand serve as regular member states of Asian Re.

In addition, 19 insurance and reinsurance firms from Asia serve as associate members of Asian Re, which include companies from Iran, India, Japan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, among others.

Mr. Funa said Asian Re is facing issues such as tight competition as well as the US’ sanctions against Iran.

“The reinsurance business is very competitive in Asia with the presence of big and well known reinsurers such as Swiss Re and Munich Re,” Mr. Funa said in a text message.

To address this, he said the firm is now looking at the African market.

Apart from this, he said the sanctions imposed by the US on Iran, which has a significant stake in Asian Re, is another main issue that impacts the business.

“However, Asian Re business has been growing strong in the past three years.” — Karl Angelo N. Vidal