Margaret Ho, Chief Executive, BPL Hong Kong, gives us a minute of her time to tell us a bit about herself and her role at BPL Global.
Margaret, what led you to become an insurance broker?
I entered the insurance industry back in 1997. I was job-hunting after graduating from university and I spotted an opportunity with an in-house insurance broking firm in Hong Kong for a position as a management trainee. Really, I wanted a role that provided a mixture of client-facing and analytical work – and I soon realised insurance broking could offer that.
And how did you enter the CPRI market?
My role at the in-house insurance broker focused on credit insurance, where I learnt the business basically from scratch, and I’ve continued to work in the area ever since. Later on, when I joined JLT (now Marsh JLT), I expanded my product knowledge, gaining experience in structured credit and political risk insurance.
How have you seen the CPRI market in APAC develop since you started?
It has changed hugely since I joined in the nineties. Back then, the CPRI market in APAC comprised only a couple of monoline trade credit insurers writing mainly short-term multi-buyer or whole turnover credit insurance. This had been the case for many years. But about six or seven years ago, the supply side really opened up and we have seen a lot of insurers coming over to Singapore to focus on structured credit and political risk insurance for medium-to-long-term tenors.
The demand side in APAC has also changed a bit since I first joined the industry. Traditionally, the product largely attracted corporates looking to buy whole turnover and multi-buyer credit insurance policies to cover non-payment risk of their buyers. But over the last ten years or so, I have seen European and Japanese banks increasingly using the CPRI products for counterparty limit or regulatory capital relief.
Can you give a brief outline of your role and what your remit is? Which client sector do you predominantly work with and along which lines of business?
If you ask my colleagues, they will tell you that my job is to run the Hong Kong office. To me, this means developing new business opportunities with prospective and existing clients, raising the profile of BPL Global in Hong Kong, and ensuring our client base is well served. In terms of client base, banking clients still account for a very high proportion of the BPL Hong Kong book – though I am also keen to get more corporate clients on board.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of being a broker is the process of building trust and long-lasting relationships with my clients.
Can you tell us about a highlight from your time at BPL Global?
I remember in 2015, just one year after I joined BPL Global, I was working on a contract frustration policy for a banking client. Given the high policy limit needed, 10 insurers were involved, which required a lot of discussion around wording. Facing a tight time frame, I had to work around-the-clock to bind the policy on time, because back then, the Hong Kong office was a one-woman show! To date, it is the second-largest limit I’ve handled during my time at BPL Global.