April 28, 2017 / 2:45 PM / 3 months ago

Munich Re's troubled Ergo explores digital push in China

2 Min Read

FRANKFURT, April 28 (Reuters) - Ergo, Munich Re's troubled primary insurance company, is making a digital push in the massive Chinese market.

Mark Klein, Ergo's chief digital officer, recently visited China to explore how the insurer can partner on data with Chinese companies, such as the telecommunication giant China Unicom and the e-commerce business JD.com. Ergo aims to use data to grow its insurance business.

Klein gave details of his trip this week in a post on an Ergo blog. Ergo's parent Munich Re, the reinsurance company whose profit is set to drop in 2017 for a fifth consecutive year, has been highlighting its digital efforts and tweeted the blog on Friday.

Investors voiced concern this week at Munich Re's annual meeting that multiple digital initiatives have been slow to translate into profit and growth.

In his blog, Klein described a meeting with China Unicom: "A formal setting, translators, a huge table."

"China Unicom wants to develop its business with data and we want to be one of its first customers," he wrote.

"We entered a strategic partnership. The goal: to combine data analytics applications with the expertise of the insurance company."

Klein also said he met with Talking Data, which he described as the Google Analytics of China. It captures the data from more than half a billion devices and knows user figures of all apps in China, he wrote.

"Here, too, we are working on a cooperation," he wrote. "The intention is that they help ERGO China Life to identify potential clients and improve sales agents management."

Ergo was unable to immediately provide figures for its China business.

In 2016, Ergo generated nearly a quarter of revenue internationally, according to information on its website. Ergo posted a loss last year but expects to post a profit this year following restructuring and layoffs.

Ergo hired Klein last year from T-Mobile Netherlands. (Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Keith Weir)

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