Insurance Business Swiss Re criticizes drive towards nationalism

Swiss Re criticizes drive towards nationalism Nationalism is “not a good thing at all,” and it’s here for the foreseeable future, according to Swiss Re’s CEO of reinsurance Moses Ojeisekhoba.

He made the comments during a speech to Canada’s insurance industry insiders at Swiss Re’s Canadian Insurance Outlook breakfast in downtown Toronto.

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Ojeisekhoba derided Brexit as part of a rising nationalist fervour and though he didn’t mention Trump by name, his presentation slide read: “Current US Administration has been mentioning some protectionist policies and stopped TPP and TTIP. If these policies are pursued a trade war could potentially ensue.”

The significance of a high ranking reinsurance player making the unusual step of wading into divisive political issues points to the likelihood that Swiss Re sees the wave of nationalism as particularly threatening.

Ojeisekhoba himself did not mince words.

“In geopolitics, there’s a driving force moving us towards greater protectionism and nationalism and from Swiss Re’s standpoint, this is not a good thing at all. I think the concept of globalization takes into consideration comparative advantages provided by various countries as a whole,” Ojeisekhoba said.

“The trend in geopolitics is not a positive one and this trend I think is here to stay for a while, at least another decade. Even if we begin to reverse it now it will still take a decade to reverse it completely. But global economic growth, turning to prosperity, is showing some very positive signs.”        

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Beyond basic criticism, Ojeisekhoba outlined his belief that the origins of the Trump Presidency, Brexit and nationalism around the globe originated in 2008.

“It’s not just restricted to wealthy countries - you see the exact same thing in emerging countries as well in the form of regulations and having protectionist measures,” Ojeisekhoba said. “Why is that? You have to relate this to the fallout from the global financial crisis over the last eight, nine years. The world over we’ve had low growth or negative growth, and people fear for their earnings.

“We’re also seeing the trend in globalization that allowed people to migrate from one country to another as a way to drive most productivity… people are worried about their pensions, and migrants are coming and the public think they’ll put stress on social services. So these are the trends we’re seeing on the global scale. It’s real and it’s here for a little while.”

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