Thursday, October 19, 2017

Swiss Re: Solutions that make an impact

The industry needs to start doing things differently to help build a safer, more efficient, resilient future, writes Victor Kuk, head of client markets, SID, P&C reinsurance, Swiss Re.

Insurance plays a huge role for industry and society, but 75% of the world’s insurable values are not insured. At the same time, today’s dynamic risk landscape is confronting the re/insurance industry with new challenges and opportunities both at an even faster pace and increasingly in an unexpected way.

Going after new risks is no doubt a challenge. It requires new skills, innovation and a willingness to change. It requires fresh thinking to increase accessibility, affordability and visibility. Above all, it requires a resolute determination. We, as an industry, know how big these challenges can be and may not necessarily be ready to deal with these new or emerging risks.

Many of our potential customers simply lack awareness of the risks they face. Others have insufficient access to insurance to begin with. Our industry’s products often conform to the design principles we like and not necessarily to those that are most suitable for potential customers. In addition, products sometimes can cost too much. As an industry, reinsurers and insurers can start doing things differently to help break down some of these barriers.

By introducing more effective solutions, we believe we can reduce this protection gap. For example, parametric insurance covering natural catastrophes such as typhoon, flood and earthquake, and even delayed airline flights, will make insurance more widely and more accessible to end customers. Helping our clients manage risks and grow in times of disruptive change is the aim of our solutions and services. We see a need to develop the necessary systems and platforms to better understand risk and provide effective solutions. However, we must stay focused on our core value — it’s easy to get side-tracked by the technology hype. For this reason, we work with big tech players as well as start-ups to complement our differentiating value.

The industry is also experimenting with new services to boost customer engagement and collect data about new risk pools. Alongside increased customer contact, the provision of these value-added services facilitates collection of data that can be used to improve underwriting and pricing decisions. New risk pools are also being created and insurers are collaborating with startups to collect data and underwrite specialised or underserved niches.

In terms of digital, insurance companies are already on the way to transforming into digital companies — insurers acquire and use large amounts of data to market, underwrite, manage claims and provide risk-related services. Robotics, automation and AI will transform the insurance industry with cheaper products, delivered quickly and improved relevance of coverage. There are no quick wins but smartening the verticals — motor, home, health and energy, for example — and leveraging possibilities such as the internet of things enables more customer-centric solutions.

To stay competitive at Swiss Re, we take a long-term view on business. Long-term success requires new skills and innovation. It requires good people and a willingness to change. We’re working with our clients and partners to shape solutions for the world’s newest and emerging risks so as to build a safer, more efficient, resilient future.


Victor Kuk, head
of client markets,
SID, P&C reinsurance
for Swiss Re

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