Anthony Hobrow, the chief executive officer (CEO) of NexAssure Solutions, talks to Intelligent Insurer about establishing a managing general agent, yachting and international travel.
Why is this move right for you at this stage in your career?
This is not a career move; I have taken up the appointment as part-time CEO of NexAssure as a representative of VenturesOne Asia, a major shareholder in NexAssure as it’s an important investment in the VenturesOne portfolio.
What are your initial objectives?
The scope of the business needs to expand to build on the three years of awareness, contracts and brand-building that the management team have concentrated on. We see the market for NexAssure specialty products as expanding in Asia and we want to be at the forefront of introducing innovative solutions and products to our end customers.
To that end we plan to establish a MGA – for underwriting and a third party administrator (TPA) – for policy administration and claims handing, to offer full service solutions.
Why have you chosen Hong Kong and not Singapore to set up your MGA?
Hong Kong regulations specifically recognise the MGA business model and it is already a centre for MGA business. Like Singapore it has attractive infrastructure and tax structures. We will also be servicing business in China and so Hong Kong’s location is appropriate.
What will be your biggest challenge?
I cannot single out one big challenge. With any start-up business, one has many challenges ranging from people, regulation, marketing, operations and systems. We feel confident though that we understand what needs to be done and have the resources and route map well prepared to achieve our goals.
We are experienced in start-up businesses and know that each hurdle has to be tackled, but with a clear vision we can reach the finishing line. The biggest unknown is the rate at which we can attract profitable business; lead times are quite long.
Why did you choose to work in this industry initially?
I had several insurance audit clients when I was a chartered accountant and when I decided that an accountancy career was not for me, I rejected a client job offer but started my insurance career with a small insurance business that had just moved its back office to the West of England, where I lived. I never thought I would stay, but I did and have enjoyed being in the industry ever since.
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what would it have been?
I always thought I wanted to be in a job connected with two of my then passions; wine and yachting. I love wine to this day but have never owned a boat! The latter may happen if and when I ever slow down my work schedule!
What are you doing when you are not at work?
Honest truth is I am usually in a plane going somewhere! I travel every week and often at weekends. Phuket, my family home, is my destination of choice to relax, eat wonderful seafood, sip cocktails after a massage on the beach and swim or play golf.
What is your secret vice?
It’s a secret! I was asked to be vice chairman a year ago and I asked to be called deputy chairman instead as I know my friends would have dubbed me chairman of vice!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
Aged 59, I am building my first “dream” house, in Phuket, designed by my daughter’s Singapore company Aym Design. It’s been great to work with her in this challenging, exciting, but mildly scary and expensive enterprise!
Anthony Hobrow, 60 Seconds, Asia-Pacific, NexAssure Solutions