December 17, 2018 / 2:50 PM / a month ago

Swiss Re names ReAssure CEO in advance of possible IPO

ZURICH, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Swiss Re named a chief executive officer for its British closed book business ReAssure on Monday as the Swiss reinsurance company prepares the business for a possible initial public offering (IPO).

Mark Hodges, a longtime insurance industry executive who is currently chief executive of British energy supplier Centrica’s consumer division, was named to fill the post starting on March 1. Separately, Centrica said Sarwjit Sambhi would replace Hodges from March 1.

Hit by a 17 percent fall in first-half net profit, Swiss Re in August announced it was exploring a possible 2019 listing for ReAssure on the grounds that the business needed access to new capital to acquire additional closed books. ReAssure has about 45 billion pounds ($57 billion) in assets under management and 3.3 million policies.

Hodges “combines strong leadership skills with deep industry knowledge,” Swiss Re Life Capital CEO Thierry Leger said in a statement. “I am confident that he is the right person to lead ReAssure through the next stage of its development into an even more successful future.”

If the IPO goes ahead, analysts have said ReAssure could achieve a market capitalisation of about $3 billion, or roughly half its book value, which was $6.2 billion in 2017.

Matthew Cuhls, currently the CEO of ReAssure Group, will become chief operating officer of ReAssure following Hodge’s elevation, a Swiss Re spokeswoman said. Cuhls’ role will be to continue to oversee the closed book life insurance business, while Hodges will steer the potential IPO.

$1 = 0.7937 pounds Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Mark Potter

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