Sponsored: Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

Applying Underwriting Heritage in New Markets

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is building on their complex claims legacy and expending it outward, leveraging their expertise and support to branch into the primary casualty market.
By: | June 13, 2017 • 6 min read

If you want to build a world class insurer with a full suite of offerings and a global reach, there are a just a few things you’ll need: underwriting discipline, risk management experience, a strong balance sheet, a broad risk appetite, and excellent claims handling and customer service.

These components may seem commonsense. They are, after all, what every broker or risk manager is looking for in a carrier.

But perfecting each piece is anything but common.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions was launched in 2010 with the goal of becoming a top ten player in commercial insurance globally. Through the unique heritage of its parent company Swiss Re, it had access to these key ingredients and used them to embark on a methodical journey of expansion, by line of coverage.

Building on Swiss Re’s area of expertise, Corporate Solutions started at the top, writing the most challenging and complex risks for large companies. Their status as a net capacity provider also enabled the latitude and flexibility to take this approach.

They then worked downward and outward, branching off from wholesale excess and specialty coverage, ultimately into the primary market.

“Casualty started that journey in 2009 with our lead U.S. umbrella product, which is exclusively a retail product with a focus on large risk management business,” said Robley Moor, Head, North America Casualty, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “Now we are trying to reach a wider variety of brokers and expand in the middle market.”  Simultaneously, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has launched a new U.S. domestic primary general liability product.

Supporting Global Programs with Underwriting Acumen

Robley Moor, Head, North America Casualty

Through the build out of a robust international network and leading edge technology, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions aspires to be their clients’ market of choice for their domestic and international primary insurance needs across various lines of coverage.  Today, they offer this capability for their property single carrier coverage.

“We are building our own foreign casualty product network through local offices around the world,” said Moor. “At the moment, the new U.S. primary casualty product allows the North American team to support international colleagues on a ‘reverse-flow’ basis.”

In an age when nearly every mid-size and large company has some type of international exposure, the ability to offer comprehensive coverage and services around the globe will be a key to further expansion.

Current adverse market conditions make the new product expansion risky, but a 20-year history of primary GL underwriting alleviates some of the uncertainty.

“We’re in a very soft part of the market cycle and any new product launch needs to be aware of that reality,” Moor said. “But when you write products in a sustainable fashion and take a long term view, there never really is a bad time to enter the market.”

A new dedicated team of underwriters in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles for the retail primary product, separate from established E&S teams, ensures that both distribution channels receive the full attention and expertise of its underwriters.

Expert Services

Mike Kwan, Head, Primary & Specialty Casualty, North America

In the excess space, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has developed claims expertise as well as risk engineering and crisis management services that it can bring to bear on its primary clients. The highly rated claims team is comprised of 120 professionals in North America with an average of 20 years of industry experience. This year, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions was awarded the Risk Manager Choice Award for No. 1 carrier on eight key factors, including claims handling.

“From an excess perspective, we consistently see how clients’ loss experiences could have benefitted from having our claims professionals involved at the primary level,” said Mike Kwan, Head of Primary & Specialty Casualty, North America, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

“It serves both the customers’ and our best interests to have our Swiss Re claims expertise come to bear on that first layer of risk transfer,” he said.

Their overall claims philosophy and approach is articulated through the company’s Claims Commitment, a pillar of the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offering in both the excess and primary space. This commitment promises speed of service and communicating with policyholders early and often once a loss notification comes in. Initial investigations typically take no longer than 30 days, and in the event of an insured first-party property loss, they will advance payment of up to 50 percent of their estimate.

“We know that the claims experience leaves a lasting impression. Even a positive outcome can be soured by a difficult experience with your claims representative,” Kwan said. “We can leverage the heritage of Swiss Re in large, complex claims to deliver high-quality service to our primary partners.”

In addition, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions also brings plenty of experience to primary GL business.  Though considered a new product for retail clients, Corporate Solutions has amassed over $1 billion in written premium of GL business through the E&S marketplace. The new underwriting department, located in most of the major regions across the country, will look to carry over this depth of knowledge and experience.

With a move into the primary market, crisis management and loss control advisory services honed for excess and specialty customers will be offered to primary policyholders.

“Last year we brought on a whole team of crisis management underwriters and contracted with a leading crisis management firm to support that effort. We are in the process of developing a companion product for the new primary general liability policy that will provide enhanced crisis management services,” Moor said.

A Full Suite of Products

The new primary policy rounds out Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ suite of products, which can both serve middle market companies looking for primary GL coverage and provide additional support and continuity for existing excess buyers.  The primary product will be offered on both a loss sensitive basis and a guaranteed cost basis.

“From a risk management or broker standpoint, it’s as close to one stop shopping as you could possibly want. Even as your needs go beyond casualty,” Moor said. “There’s also a benefit to existing casualty customers to have the same carrier handle both excess and primary coverage. If there is a claim, you can avoid carriers fighting over who is paying what.”

With financial ratings of “AA-” by Standard & Poor’s, “Aa3” by Moody’s and “A+” by A.M. Best, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions can also back up its ability to pay claims.

“That is, of course, the number one priority for risk managers and brokers,” Kwan said.

The recent launch of the primary general liability coverage – which is already attracting interest in the market – will also provide a path forward into other product lines, like auto liability, in the future, Moor said.

“Those are future builds for us. But for right now, general liability is an extension of our current expertise.”

To learn more, visit https://corporatesolutions.swissre.com/insurance/casualty/.

Insurance products underwritten by Westport Insurance Corporation, Overland Park, Kansas, a member of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose.  Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article.  The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offers innovative, high-quality insurance capacity to mid-sized and large multinational corporations and public entities across the globe.

Insurance Executive

A Leader for Turbulent Times

Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale is tasked with guiding the venerable insurance market through Brexit and the demands of the fiercely competitive global specialty business.
By: | July 6, 2017 • 12 min read

Underwriters at Lloyd’s are accustomed to taking on complex, even daunting, risks. The company’s leader looks at the world today and sees plenty of opportunity, but also much to be concerned about.

“Political instability is something that troubles me more than anything else because I think there is now more uncertainty across the world than there has ever been,” said Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s of London.

“It feels that all of the norms that I grew up with are being challenged — openness, globalization, acceptance, inclusion — on a global scale.”

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Appropriately, we’re sitting around a table in Beale’s modern glass-fronted office at the top of the Lloyd’s Building — itself a vision from the future — to talk about Brexit and Lloyd’s newly announced Brussels subsidiary.

Add to the mix Donald Trump and the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea, the bombing of Syria and a spate of terrorist attacks across Europe, and it’s clear we are living in the most dangerous period certainly since the Cold War, or possibly ever, believes Beale.

That belief received even more chilling reinforcement when terrorists detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande performance in Manchester, England on May 22.  Twenty two people, some of them children, were killed and more than 50 wounded in that attack.

Three years ago, it was Beale herself making world headlines with her appointment as the first female CEO in Lloyd’s 329-year history. But now Brexit and other seismic disruptions to world order have taken center stage.

Lloyd’s announced at the end of March that it would establish a new European subsidiary in Brussels in time for January 1, 2019 renewals so it can continue writing risks for all 27 European Union (EU) and three European Economic Area states after the UK exits the EU.

Currently, it uses its passporting rights to serve EU customers from London, but the expected loss of those rights after Brexit necessitated the establishment of a new subsidiary.

For now though, it’s business as usual, said Beale, with the UK remaining a full EU member for at least two more years. She added, with a reassuring smile, that there will be no immediate impact on existing policies, renewals or new policies written during that time.

“We were campaigning very much to remain in the EU before the referendum because we knew what the likely impact [of leaving the EU] would be on Lloyd’s,” said Beale, whose impressive resume includes stints with GE Insurance Solutions, Zurich and Canopius.

“We rely very much on our licensing network, and being part of the EU means that from London we can write insurance and reinsurance for all of the EU countries with our passporting authority.

“But with the UK exiting the EU, it now means that we lose those licensing powers to offer insurance with immediate effect. To counteract this, we have determined to set up a subsidiary within the EU, meaning that about five percent of our global revenues will have to go through this subsidiary because it is insurance business offered to our EU-based clients.”

Beale and her team also negotiated that most of Lloyd’s underwriting business will remain in London, as will the majority of the transactions and decision-making powers. Meanwhile, the manpower needed to run the new Brussels operation will be in the “tens rather than hundreds,” she is quick to point out.

“It’s not a huge raft of people having to move over,” she said.

“Lloyd’s will continue to do 95 percent of its business as it has always done — it’s only the other five percent that will have to go through a separate legal entity, and we’re not anticipating any further changes to our business model as a result.”

Beale, whose dual role is both supervisor and advocate for the market’s 100-something member underwriting syndicates, says that the franchise board chose Brussels over other locations including Luxembourg, Dublin and Malta because of its “robust and quality” regulatory regime.

“At the time, I didn’t even know that reinsurance existed, but once I discovered it I absolutely loved it.” — Inga Beale, CEO, Lloyd’s of London

It also provides access to a multilingual talent pool, is near to London, and, most importantly she stresses, is located in a member state with a “very high certainty of staying in the EU.”

“We want people who reflect our customers,” she said.

“The London insurance market is littered with people from all over the world because London is such a global insurance hub, so we need experts here who speak the language and understand the different cultures.”

North American Footprint

Despite its large European market, it’s the other side of the pond where Lloyd’s really thrives. Approximately 46 percent of its business comes from the U.S., mainly California earthquake and East Coast hurricane risks, she said.

Lloyd’s also remains the No.1 excess and surplus lines insurer in the U.S. and the largest non-U.S. domiciled insurer, she added.

“We have done really well in terms of growing our E&S market share over there,” she said.

“That’s our sweet spot; those non-standard risks that are hard to place.”

By contrast, Beale said that reinsurance has become a much more competitive market with new entrants offering alternative types of reinsurance putting a squeeze on prices. As a consequence, Lloyd’s has focused more on insurance, she said.

“We have also done well in Canada and with our delegated authority through our Managing General Underwriters and Managing General Agents,” she said.

“It’s this very local and specialist distribution channel that has been our success story across North America.”

In January, Beale was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire — the female equivalent of being knighted — and is also the Association of Professional Insurance Women’s Insurance Woman of the Year for 2017.

“What concerns us most is not individual risks such as earthquakes and hurricanes, but rather assessing the aggregation of our exposures to financial and liability-type risks with no geographical boundaries.” — Inga Beale, CEO, Lloyd’s of London

As the person directing Lloyd’s, she is also acutely aware of the shift in power towards emerging economies, with McKinsey recently reporting that 67 percent of commercial insurance growth will come from those markets by 2020.

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In response, Lloyd’s has focused its efforts on Asia and Latin America, transferring more than half of its managing agents to its Shanghai and Beijing platforms; and it was recently granted final approval to open a reinsurance office in Mumbai, she said.

“That’s where the future’s going to be,” she said.

“We know that a lot of the business is no longer coming to London in the traditional way, hence we have set up a Singapore platform and platforms in China, and opened up an office in Dubai as well as in India to be closer to our clients and brokers there.”

Lloyd’s profits last year were flat at $2.7 billion, while GWP was up $3.9 billion.

The market made a profit despite taking a $2.7 billion hit for major claims — the fifth highest such total since the turn of the century — primarily due to Hurricane Matthew and the Fort McMurray Wildfire in Canada.

Although natural disasters are Lloyd’s bread and butter, its real strength is in insuring complex risks, from cargo ships and satellites to political and terrorism risks.

Lloyd’s Role in Cyber

It’s the aggregation of those harder-to-quantify risks such as cyber security that concerns Beale most. Expected to grow to $7.5 billion in global premiums business by 2020, cyber is a big focus for Lloyd’s. It has a 25 percent market share and aggregate limits of approximately $650 million per risk, she said.

“What concerns us most is not individual risks such as earthquakes and hurricanes, but rather assessing the aggregation of our exposures to financial and liability-type risks with no geographical boundaries,” she said.

“We saw that with the financial crisis and the collapse of Fanny and Freddie, and its impact on Greece, but now it’s cyber.

“We have interviewed numerous risk managers and they are telling us that they are only insured against less than 10 percent of the risks that their businesses face on a daily basis. Our challenge is to make sure that we are continuing to adapt as fast as their businesses do and that we are delivering the relevant products that they need.”

Another area where Lloyd’s has seen an uptick is political and terrorism risk, said Beale.

The U.S. standoff with North Korea, Brexit and a swath of ISIS terrorist attacks across Europe have only exacerbated the problem, heightening fears among those countries’ citizens and tearing whole communities apart.

“We would love to get to a stage where a client can track something being quoted or a claim being paid, just like you do with a package being delivered [to your home].” — Inga Beale, CEO, Lloyd’s of London

Just witness the anguish of the victims and families in the Manchester concert bombing.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for these types of products because of the political instability everywhere at the moment, particularly for companies that are trading cross border with countries where governments can suddenly intervene at a moment’s notice,” she said.

“Similarly, businesses are looking to protect themselves against the ever-growing threat of terrorism, which is where Lloyd’s can step in to give them the confidence to keep on trading.”

Reforming Lloyd’s

Within Lloyd’s itself, Beale has been at the forefront of trying to modernize the aging institution. Despite its modern metallic and glass exterior, inside Lloyd’s there’s still very much what some might term a stuffy “old boys’ club” culture.

Men are required to wear a tie and women weren’t allowed into the underwriting room until 1972. Brokers still walk around with leather slipcases crammed full of paper.

The Lloyd’s headquarters on Lime Street.

Beale’s predecessor, Richard Ward, tried to modernize Lloyd’s but left plenty for Beale to address in that respect.

Beale committed $700 million over the next five years to upgrade Lloyd’s aging computer and IT systems, with the end goal of achieving one-touch data capture to speed up the premiums and claims process.

“It’s about following that data all the way through the process from the client to the intermediary and the underwriter, and the processing of the premiums and claims,” she said.

“We would love to get to a stage where a client can track something being quoted or a claim being paid, just like you do with a package being delivered [to your home].”

Another area Beale is keen to shake up is diversity within Lloyd’s itself. Currently the market is two-thirds male, while only 11 percent of the whole London insurance market are non-UK nationals — a damning statistic that Beale is all too aware of.

“The Lloyd’s market doesn’t reflect the demographics of the whole of London and we are very conscious that we’re not tapping into all of the available talent that’s out there,” she said.

“We need to cut out the old ideas, try to challenge the unconscious bias and create an environment that is welcoming for people who are a bit different.”

Beale has also been pushing the [email protected] initiative, currently in its third year, and in September Lloyd’s will host the third annual Dive In festival to promote diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry.

In addition, 95 percent of the Lloyd’s market has already signed up to its Diversity & Inclusion charter to improve diversity, she said.

“To attract the best talent we need to modernize and look at how we can change our working practices and hiring decisions for the better,” she said.

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“There’s a vast amount of work that we are actively doing to encourage people to be more open and seek more diverse talent.”

On a personal level, Beale readily admits that she was late to the leadership game, and it was only her mentor, Annette Sadolin at GE, who convinced her to take her first promotion.

That lack of confidence is something that, as a leader, Beale has witnessed in her own team and she is keen to help overcome.

“Annette became very much a mentor for me throughout my career, so whenever I have had to make key decisions I would always ask her view,” she said.

“The key lesson that I have learnt from her is that things move so quickly and you need to take opportunities when they come along that give you exposure to something new, even if they don’t seem like a natural career path at the time.

“For me, being a leader is all about inclusion and being passionate about the people you work with because you need to inspire and motivate them. But there is also nothing more rewarding than watching people progress their careers.”

A Truly Global Journey

Beale, who initially harbored ambitions of being an architect, admits that she “fell into reinsurance,” starting as a trainee international treaty reinsurance underwriter at Prudential Assurance Company in London in 1982. But once she had a taste there was no turning back.

“At the time, I didn’t even know that reinsurance existed, but once I discovered it I absolutely loved it,” she said.

“I fell in love with the global nature of the risks that came to London; one day you could be looking at a piece of business from Chile, the next from Australia.”

But, back then, working in a male-dominated industry where she was the only woman among 35 men, Beale struggled to fit in. So she quit and went travelling for 10 months.

It was during her time as a receptionist at the BBC in Sydney, Australia that Beale worked under her first female boss, a formidable woman, she said.

Inspired by her boss’s strong work ethic, Beale decided to return to the insurance business.

She soon landed a job with GE Insurance Solutions in Kansas City, where she held various underwriting management roles, before being appointed president of GE Frankona and head of continental Europe, Middle East and Africa for GE Insurance Solutions in Germany.

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After 14 years at GE, Beale moved to Switzerland with Converium as group CEO in 2006.

Two years later, she joined Zurich Insurance Group as a member of the group management board in Zurich before being appointed global chief underwriting officer, prior to her appointment as group CEO at Canopius in 2012.

The breadth and depth of her experience makes Beale a natural fit for the demands of the Lloyd’s top job.

There’s no doubt she’ll be drawing upon every ounce of that expertise and experience to keep Lloyd’s at the cutting edge of this harrowing new world we live in.

Alex Wright is a U.K.-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected]