Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson, has made a trio of hires to set up its Asia Pacific business, including that of former Canopius agriculture global head, David Gregori, who will lead the new team.

Using a data-driven and analytical approach, Willis Re’s team of global and local experts provide customised solutions to address the diverse range of risks and business challenges faced by its clients in agriculture industries, such as crops, livestock, fish farms and forestry.

As head of agriculture Asia Pacific, Gregori (pictured) will support clients and partners in developing insurance solutions to better protect farmers throughout the region.

Gregori spent more than four years as head of global agriculture at Canopius in Singapore. Before that, he was an agriculture underwriter at Partner Re. He has been focused on crop insurance for the last 12 years and was involved in the design of a subsidised Moroccan crop insurance scheme, which today covers approximately 1 million hectares of farms.

In India, Ajay Rakhe has been appointed to lead the agriculture business as vice-president, treaty – agriculture. He is based in Willis Re’s Mumbai office and is responsible for developing and managing the agriculture treaty business and designing other rural products for clients in India. He has more than 11 years’ experience in the general insurance business in India, and joins from International Reinsurance and Insurance Consulting & Broking Services. He has also held positions at HDFC ERGO General Insurance and ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

Finally, Simiao He, associate director of reinsurance, has been hired to lead the agriculture business in China and is based in Willis Re’s Beijing office. She has a comprehensive knowledge of China’s agriculture (re)insurance market and a strong technical background in innovative index products, including weather index, satellite index and revenue insurance. She joins Willis Re from Swiss Re, where she had spent five years as an agriculture reinsurance underwriter.

Commenting on the appointments, Mark Morley, head of Willis Re, Asia Pacific, says: “Asia faces extreme adverse weather events, such as typhoons, large scale floods and drought. These bring higher risk of yield shortfalls and failures which can impact farmers, companies and employment, especially with one out of three Asian people working in the agriculture industry. It is therefore important to use agriculture insurance as a tool to help farmers mitigate the financial and production risks and protect their livelihood.

“The addition of David, Ajay and Simiao to the agriculture team, and their international and local knowledge will enhance the value we provide to our clients and partners in the agriculture insurance market.”