Risk and insurance is ever changing and ever growing. It has to be in order to keep up with shifts in the market.
Increased catastrophic events are tightening property lines, with many carriers offering lower limits, higher retentions, and price hikes. On the opposite end, in financial lines, there’s more capital investment and a rise in new entrants looking to make waves.
“There’s more capacity flooding into financial lines like D&O and professional liability, which is a real contrast to the firmness we’re seeing in CAT property,” said Ron Willett, EVP, Field Management, North America Retail, Sompo International.
“The benefit of the diversified specialty portfolio we have built at Sompo International is that we are not overly reliant on a single line of business to deliver the returns we need from the business. For example, where the ever-changing landscape of cyber continues to be a challenge for all parties (clients, brokers, and carriers), there are areas within our casualty portfolio where we are seeing more aggressive competition.”
With so many areas seeing change, clients and brokers are seeking stability through their insurance partners. Stability and consistency are two hallmarks of Sompo International’s operating model.
“Meeting clients and brokers where we “intersect” has become the mantra here in Business Development. From a client perspective, it’s important to note that our core value proposition is that we continue to maintain our creativity and solution-oriented approach no matter the line of business. We are not class underwriters and we look at the individual risk on its own merit with the holistic view of the account as our guiding star,” said Willett.
Here’s a closer look at what that means for Sompo International and how this approach to business is paving the path forward for client and broker success.
Location is everything in business, and there is no better way to understand a client or broker than to be operating in the region, states and cities that they are in.
For Sompo International, geographic expansion into markets where clients and brokers operate is key to the company’s strategy and top of mind for the North America Insurance team. With several regional office openings planned across the U.S. and in Canada, Willett believes that to build strong, enduring partnerships you need to have a deep understanding of your partners’ business goals and the environment in which they operate.
As Willett explained, “At any given time, we are analyzing cities across the country where we see material economic growth and compare that to the markets we are in. We talk with our business unit leaders, we look at demographic studies, the talent pool and the industries that may be concentrated in those geographies. From there, we try to triangulate all those different inputs to see if it’s a good place for us to plant a flag.”
The benefit of this approach really comes in understanding the client and their locale. It’s one thing to operate in a large city, servicing clients and brokers nationwide. It’s another to be rooted in the same place as those clients and brokers, understanding not just the nuances of their insurance needs but also the lifeblood of the city that they’re in.
But location is just part of the equation.
Having boots-on-the-ground enables insurers to better understand and more closely align with our clients and brokers culturally and operationally, at a deeper level.
Once the carrier is entrenched both geographically and operationally, to truly integrate into a region, they must look internally to make sure they are meeting the mark when it comes to matching the talent required to service the clients and brokers in that locale.
Sompo International is currently working to expand its geographic reach, using a strategically crafted expansion plan. In addition, the team is putting forward a concerted effort to staff those new locations with the right people.
A lot goes into making sure talent is up to par: “We want the people who share the same core values as the company; that’s the goal,” Willett said.
As he further explained, Sompo International takes pride in its company culture. It’s a collaborative environment where everyone works toward the betterment of their fellow colleagues. That is a prime value that the team takes to each and every location the company expands into. As an extension, that value drives the importance of intersecting with clients where they are – both physically and metaphorically speaking.
“If you’re going to perpetuate and build upon this strong culture of collaboration, you’re going to look for people who are wired the same way, somebody who wants to also work as a team, somebody who can see the promising future that exists here with this company that’s growing,” Willett said.
“Expanding our reach into new offices won’t mean anything unless we have good people in them – it won’t mean anything unless our talent can match and deliver on what our clients and brokers need.”
After all, insurance is a relationship business, and client relations is a key part of any successful partnership. To respond to that dynamic, the team has developed a client executive role to liaise with clients and drill down and discover what they really need, and to provide that level of service.
“Finding the right fit for a client executive role starts with their personality, their ability to present, their ability to ask and answer challenging questions, and their ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to structure solutions to the client’s problems or challenges,” said Willett.
This role is vital to clients and brokers because it establishes the relationship from the first interaction on.
The market is changing, for the U.S. and for the world at large. From both growth areas and certain lines firming up, clients and brokers must find the right team to back them up through any shift.
Sompo International is staffed with insurance and reinsurance experts and has a talented pool of claims and risk control specialists, all of whom provide perspective and insight on a wide range of topics affecting the industry.
One area that Sompo International strives to distinguish itself as a carrier is its multinational capabilities.
“We can service clients in over 150 countries. In our global economy, many clients have requirements, country by country, to have locally admitted policies. The investment we have made to ensure our ability to deliver our value proposition with consistency across the globe, is a significant differentiator for us,” Willett explained.
Having that multinational reach and knowledge enables Sompo International to take this idea of meeting clients and brokers where they are to the next level.
Willett added, “Multinational is an area where few carriers are able to deliver excellence, however, it’s in our organizational DNA. It differentiates us and creates a distinct competitive advantage rooted in our overall global expertise as well as the understanding of how to successfully execute in the local marketplaces of our global economy.”
To learn more about Sompo International, visit: https://www.sompo-intl.com.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Sompo International. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.