Sponsored: Swiss Re Corporate Solutions

Global Strategy, Local Execution and Delivery

By appointing a local CEO, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions looks to tap into Canada's commercial insurance market and its tremendous growth potential.
By: | August 29, 2017 • 5 min read

Since the time it was established in 1863, Swiss Re has built a reputation as a prestigious and respected name in the insurance industry. Its rich heritage, financial strength and penchant for innovation speak for themselves. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions provides insurance products through its various insurance companies worldwide.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, founded in 2010, continues to build and round out that legacy of excellence with a dedicated focus on the primary insurance market.

“Swiss Re Corporate Solutions now has more than 50 offices in over 20 countries, serving large corporations with a 5 to 10 percent market share in the segments we operate in,” said Adrian Hall, the recently appointed CEO Canada & Managing Director, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

Corporate Solutions excels in high-end specialty business as an excess lead insurer. It has been able to accomplish such rapid and sustainable growth because of its deep level of expertise in the industries it serves, a focused distribution strategy, commitment to the claims experience, and a client-centric approach.

Now, it is working to move into primary lead positions in the middle market. To do that effectively, it will leverage its global footprint while developing regional and local market focus.

Canada is just one of several regional markets the global insurer has targeted for its growth potential.

Canada: A Regional Focus

Adrian Hall, CEO Canada & Managing Director

Canada is the eighth-largest commercial insurance market in the world — and growing. According to rating agency Moody’s, the Canadian property/casualty industry is experiencing stable demand, strong underwriting discipline, and increasing competition from insurers with strong balance sheets.

The marine, financial & professional services, cyber, general liability and property markets in particular seem likely to remain competitive in 2017.

A dedicated local strategy will be critical to maximize the opportunity these markets offer.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Canada business currently employs about 50 people with a premium of around CAD 184 million. It writes property/casualty lines, energy, financial & professional services, marine, engineering & construction and aviation business.

“We will continue to focus on those areas but look to expand into others as well,” Hall said.

Corporate Solutions demonstrated its commitment to a localized approach by creating a separate enhanced leadership structure to operate the regional businesses and execute a more boots-on-the-ground strategy.

That’s why Corporate Solutions brought in Adrian Hall to head up the Canadian business as CEO on May 1st — a role created to reinforce Corporate Solutions’ commitment to the Canadian market and grow its presence there.

“The new role reflects Corporate Solutions’ localization strategy,” Hall said. “Part of the expansion strategy is to have a local leader responsible for the strategic, managerial and institutional matters, from a position that is closer to our clients and to ultimately proactively service our clients more effectively.”

Hall has filled many roles in the insurance industry over his 24-year, globe-trotting career.

“I’ve held a range of leadership roles over my career in a range of markets internationally from positions in a number of European markets for a couple of years, and then in South America for a few years leading our distribution strategic direction,” Hall said.

“I was then in the Middle East for five years, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then in Dubai, United Arab Emirates heading up the marketing and distribution strategy and external positioning of the company across the region. I then moved back to London for a short period of time, and I’ve been in Canada for the last 13 years where I have fulfilled a range of Commercial and Personal Insurance leadership positions.”

Hall’s global view of the insurance marketplace, combined with his firsthand knowledge and network of contacts within the Canadian market, made him a perfect fit for the new leadership role.

“I’m very much focused on that global strategic thinking while executing local delivery. We have to watch market dynamics and think proactively about where the market and clients are heading so we can ensure future sustainable success for our Clients and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions” Hall said.

Hall’s most recent prior experience as a chief customer officer aligned his strategic thinking with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ client-centric philosophy. That relentless client focus was one of the key differentiators that attracted Hall to the position of Canada CEO.

The Swiss Re Difference

In addition to Hall’s leadership, a few key tenets of Swiss Re Corporate Solution’s business model and mission prime the organization for continued growth.

Not least among these is the company’s dedication to claims handling as an integral element of the proposition delivery for its clients. Corporate Solutions positions its claims team at the core of its organization, meaning it is integrated with every business unit in order to create a seamless experience for clients.

The company’s ‘Claims Commitment’ states its mission to pay covered claims within five business days, and advance payments of up to 50 percent of a loss estimate even sooner in the event of an insured first-party property loss. A member of the claims team will also contact clients within one day after a loss notification, and work with them to tailor a strategy best suited to their needs and preferences, whether that means settling or defending a claim.

“Our claims commitment is a key differentiator for us in the marketplace, and it stems from our client-centric approach,” Hall said. “We know that the way a claim is handled matters just as much as the eventual claim outcome. Creating a fast and smooth experience goes a long way in earning our customers’ trust.”

The insurer’ risk expertise also stands apart from competitors.

“At Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, we are focused on core business segments that we have a strong appetite in, and then we go deep. In the areas of property, energy, financial & professional services, aviation and engineering & construction, for example, there is deep, solid local expertise that our clients really benefit from,” Hall said.

A targeted distribution strategy also focuses on working with brokers that are aligned with Swiss Re’s philosophy and strategic thinking, which ultimately helps to build a more seamless insurance experience for clients.

Finally, financial strength and capacity also provide clients the confidence that their exposures are covered and their claims can be paid. Balance sheet strength also provides Swiss Re Corporate Solutions with the flexibility and muscle to pursue growth in promising markets and be selective in the industries and risks they take on.

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

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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.

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Property

Insurers Take to the Skies

This year’s hurricane season sees the use of drones and other aerial intelligence gathering systems as insurers seek to estimate claims costs.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 6 min read

For Southern communities, current recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey will recall the painful devastation of 2005, when Katrina and Wilma struck. But those who look skyward will notice one conspicuous difference this time around: drones.

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Much has changed since Katrina and Wilma, both economically and technologically. The insurance industry evolved as well. Drones and other visual intelligence systems (VIS) are set to play an increasing role in loss assessment, claims handling and underwriting.

Farmers Insurance, which announced in August it launched a fleet of drones to enhance weather-related property damage claim assessment, confirmed it deployed its fleet in the aftermath of Harvey.

“The pent-up demand for drones, particularly from a claims-processing standpoint, has been accumulating for almost two years now,” said George Mathew, CEO of Kespry, Farmers’ drone and aerial intelligence platform provider partner.

“The current wind and hail damage season that we are entering is when many of the insurance carriers are switching from proof of concept work to full production rollout.”

 According to Mathew, Farmers’ fleet focused on wind damage in and around Corpus Christi, Texas, at the time of this writing. “Additional work is already underway in the greater Houston area and will expand in the coming weeks and months,” he added.

No doubt other carriers have fleets in the air. AIG, for example, occupied the forefront of VIS since winning its drone operation license in 2015. It deployed drones to inspections sites in the U.S. and abroad, including stadiums, hotels, office buildings, private homes, construction sites and energy plants.

Claims Response

At present, insurers are primarily using VIS for CAT loss assessment. After a catastrophe, access is often prohibited or impossible. Drones allow access for assessing damage over potentially vast areas in a more cost-effective and time-sensitive manner than sending human inspectors with clipboards and cameras.

“Drones improve risk analysis by providing a more efficient alternative to capturing aerial photos from a sky-view. They allow insurers to rapidly assess the scope of damages and provide access that may not otherwise be available,” explained Chris Luck, national practice leader of Advocacy at JLT Specialty USA.

“The pent-up demand for drones, particularly from a claims-processing standpoint, has been accumulating for almost two years now.” — George Mathew, CEO, Kespry

“In our experience, competitive advantage is gained mostly by claims departments and third-party administrators. Having the capability to provide exact measurements and details from photos taken by drones allows insurers to expedite the claim processing time,” he added.

Indeed, as tech becomes more disruptive, insurers will increasingly seek to take advantage of VIS technologies to help them provide faster, more accurate and more efficient insurance solutions.

Duncan Ellis, U.S. property practice leader, Marsh

One way Farmers is differentiating its drone program is by employing its own FAA-licensed drone operators, who are also Farmers-trained claim representatives.

Keith Daly, E.V.P. and chief claims officer for Farmers Insurance, said when launching the program that this sets Farmers apart from most carriers, who typically engage third-party drone pilots to conduct evaluations.

“In the end, it’s all about the experience for the policyholder who has their claim adjudicated in the most expeditious manner possible,” said Mathew.

“The technology should simply work and just melt away into the background. That’s why we don’t just focus on building an industrial-grade drone, but a complete aerial intelligence platform for — in this case — claims management.”

Insurance Applications

Duncan Ellis, U.S. property practice leader at Marsh, believes that, while currently employed primarily to assess catastrophic damage, VIS will increasingly be employed to inspect standard property damage claims.

However, he admitted that at this stage they are better at identifying binary factors such as the area affected by a peril rather than complex assessments, since VIS cannot look inside structures nor assess their structural integrity.

“If a chemical plant suffers an explosion, it might be difficult to say whether the plant is fully or partially out of operation, for example, which would affect a business interruption claim dramatically.

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“But for simpler assessments, such as identifying how many houses or industrial units have been destroyed by a tornado, or how many rental cars in a lot have suffered hail damage from a storm, a VIS drone could do this easily, and the insurer can calculate its estimated losses from there,” he said.

In addition,VIS possess powerful applications for pre-loss risk assessment and underwriting. The high-end drones used by insurers can capture not just visual images, but mapping heat, moisture or 3D topography, among other variables.

This has clear applications in the assessment and completion of claims, but also in potentially mitigating risk before an event happens, and pricing insurance accordingly.

“VIS and drones will play an increasing underwriting support role as they can help underwriters get a better idea of the risk — a picture tells a thousand words and is so much better than a report,” said Ellis.

VIS images allow underwriters to see risks in real time, and to visually spot risk factors that could get overlooked using traditional checks or even mature visual technologies like satellites. For example, VIS could map thermal hotspots that could signal danger or poor maintenance at a chemical plant.

Chris Luck, national practice leader of Advocacy, JLT Specialty USA

“Risk and underwriting are very natural adjacencies, especially when high risk/high value policies are being underwritten,” said Mathew.

“We are in a transformational moment in insurance where claims processing, risk management and underwriting can be reimagined with entirely new sources of data. The drone just happens to be one of most compelling of those sources.”

Ellis added that drones also could be employed to monitor supplies in the marine, agriculture or oil sectors, for example, to ensure shipments, inventories and supply chains are running uninterrupted.

“However, we’re still mainly seeing insurers using VIS drones for loss assessment and estimates, and it’s not even clear how extensively they are using drones for that purpose at this point,” he noted.

“Insurers are experimenting with this technology, but given that some of the laws around drone use are still developing and restrictions are often placed on using drones [after] a CAT event, the extent to which VIS is being used is not made overly public.”

Drone inspections could raise liability risks of their own, particularly if undertaken in busy spaces in which they could cause human injury.

Privacy issues also are a potential stumbling block, so insurers are dipping their toes into the water carefully.

Risk Improvement

There is no doubt, however, that VIS use will increase among insurers.

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“Although our clients do not have tremendous experience utilizing drones, this technology is beneficial in many ways, from providing security monitoring of their perimeter to loss control inspections of areas that would otherwise require more costly inspections using heavy equipment or climbers,” said Luck.

In other words, drones could help insurance buyers spot weaknesses, mitigate risk and ultimately win more favorable coverage from their insurers.

“Some risks will see pricing and coverage improvements because the information and data provided by drones will put underwriters at ease and reduce uncertainty,” said Ellis.

The flip-side, he noted, is that there will be fewer places to hide for companies with poor risk management that may have been benefiting from underwriters not being able to access the full picture.

Either way, drones will increasingly help insurers differentiate good risks from bad. In time, they may also help insurance buyers differentiate between carriers, too. &

Antony Ireland is a London-based financial journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]