Reinsurer Gen Re has opened a new branch office for life and health reinsurance business in Tokyo, Japan. The Financial Services Agency granted Gen Re’s operating company KolnischeRuckversicherungs-Gesellschaft (KR) a license to establish a branch office in Tokyo in December 2009.

KR has received a non-life insurance branch license and will restrict its underwriting activities in the local branch office, while property/casualty reinsurance will continue to be underwritten by its parent company.

Dr Winfried Heinen, head of Gen Re’s international LifeHealth business, said: “The establishment of a branch office in Japan is testimony of our commitment to one of the largest insurance markets in the world. Our customers will benefit from the new legal status through truly local underwriting support with faster turnaround times.”

Dr Wolfgang Droste, head of LifeHealth business in the Asia Pacific region at Gen Re, said: “We see significant development potential for our life business in Japan, notably in view of its demographic challenges.

“The competition amongst life insurers has increased the pressure to develop new product ideas, in particular in the field of living assurance products, such as health-related plans offering long-term value to customers by leveraging Gen Re’s global expertise and by adapting our product and risk management solutions to local environments, clients gain strategic advantages to grow profitably.”

Gen Re has offices in India, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. It is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and is a holding company for global reinsurance and related operations.