How Jörg Asmussen navigates GDV through the crisis

In the past few days, the pressure from Asmussen’s former colleagues from politics has become too great. The insurers – known for their still well-stocked coffers – should not steal their responsibility for the economy with reference to different contractual arrangements, the statements of governments were not only in Germany.

Since then, the insurance industry has faced a huge image problem. Many critics confirmed their view that the industry would always withdraw with reference to the fine print if there were expensive costs. The insurers shifted responsibility to the industry association GDV, which should look for a uniform solution.

For Jörg Asmussen, it was the first major test in the new environment. There was considerable pressure on the 53-year-old, since even healthy companies have faced financial difficulties in recent days.

Above all because many business partners, some of whom had long trading relationships, no longer dared to do so, and the internationally secured trade in goods at home and abroad threatened to stall.

A quick and surprising solution, in which Jörg Asmussen also played a key role, came on Thursday. The Federal Government and the German credit insurers agreed on the establishment of a protective shield in the amount of 30 billion euros to secure the movement of goods. This gives suppliers the certainty that they will also receive money, even if their customers cannot pay in times of tight budgets.

High loss is programmed

For Jörg Asmussen and the insurers, however, the deal was not in vain. Not only do they commit to largely maintaining their previous credit limits of around € 400 billion, they also transfer 65 percent of their premium income to the federal government this year. Last year, the total amount was a remarkable 817 million euros.

A loss is almost inevitable for the successful industry this year. Nevertheless, praise comes from the industry for what the association has negotiated in the shortest possible time. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures”, Ron van het Hof evaluates the deal between Asmussens Verband and the German government.

The Dutchman is the CEO of Euler Hermes in the German-speaking countries and refers to the eminent importance of such security chains for the German middle class. With a market share of almost 50 percent allianceSubsidiary, known for its Hermes loan guarantees, by far the largest credit insurer in Germany.

For Asmussen, whose path at the GDV from the Presidium member to the General Manager is already planned for October 1, quite different priorities are emerging than he formulated when he became known when he joined the association in January.

Handelsblatt Morning Briefing - Corona Spezial

The graduate economist emphasized that insurers could make a major contribution to private retirement provision and in dealing with risks such as climate change and cyber security. All these issues will still be overshadowed by the corona crisis when Asmussen takes over the management of the association in autumn.

There is no doubt in the association that he will continue to be available for quick and sometimes extraordinary solutions. “With his extensive experience, Mr. Asmussen will give the German insurance industry a powerful voice as future general manager,” says Wolfgang Weiler, the long-time boss of Huk-Coburg and current president of GDV.

The industry association has known that Asmussen, who is known as a string puller, does not need a long familiarization period since this week at the latest.

More: The federal government and credit insurers secure German trade


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