Applying Underwriting Heritage in New Markets
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
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.
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.
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.