3 Ways One Insurer Brings Agility to Complex Multinational Programs
“Agile” had become a bit of a buzzword in the business world. Every company wants to work with partners that are quick and responsive, and for good reason. We live in a deeply interconnected, fast-paced world. The current COVID-19 crisis underscores just how quickly the global risk environment can change, and how far the effects can reach.
Insurers are especially challenged to keep up. Building multinational programs is already akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, bridging differences in legal and regulatory standards, language and tax law, among other local nuances.
But the pace of change adds another layer of complexity. Multinational organizations need insurers with the ability to quickly adapt tools and solutions to changing demands, and that requires local expertise combined with the financial strength and resources of a global enterprise.
An agile insurer is one that is not only responsive and adaptive, but also reliable through disruption. Here’s how one insurer is bringing those qualities to the table for its multinational clients:
1. Adaptive Technology Platforms
Though the insurance industry is investing heavily in new technology promising to automate manual processes and improve the customer experience, many incumbent carriers are slow to incorporate new solutions because they are still contending with legacy systems. Hesitant to completely rebuild an IT infrastructure, they layer new programs on top of existing ones. While improvements are realized, they are generally slow and incremental.
That approach simply isn’t good enough for sophisticated clients who need faster and more streamlined service.
“Because we do have a state-of-the-art International Program Administration platform (IPA) that lacks legacy, we can create new solutions and integrations without the difficulties and costs that our competitors face,” said Gillian Gunnink, Head of International Program Strategy at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ customer portal, PULSE, offers a good example of this capability.
“We frequently gather international customers’ feedback, asking them questions about PULSE specifically as well as the customer journey in general to find out where friction points exist,” Gunnink said.
“What we are hearing loud and clear is that having a very sleek, nice-looking, online client platform isn’t necessarily going to make a difference for a customer. Clients have a portal for their broker, for their D&O program, for their casualty program, etc. They could end up dealing with four or five different portals, which is that many entry points, usernames and passwords to keep track of.”
To eliminate that burden, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ international business experts from the digital transformation community are designing push-style notifications. Clients are then able to decide what they wanted to be notified about and when. If their criteria are met – for instance have local policies been issued – notifications are pushed to the designated contact who can then seamlessly enter the portal.
This simple fix shifts the onus of monitoring an international program off of risk managers and onto the program itself.
Beyond that, even more opportunities for smart use of technology and automation are applied.
International program customers can receive automated and real-time Nat Cat alerts through PULSE and its integrated CatNet tool. By simply entering their locations or uploading their exposures around the world in bulk, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions can automatically send them alerts in the event a flood or a hurricane impacting their locations specifically. Notifications were offered in this way when Hurricane Dorian hit the US and the Bahamas in 2019.
“We’re able to integrate features into our systems for the benefit of our entire customer base,” Gunnink said. “Incorporating feedback and enhancing a system quickly is just not a reality for most insurers.”
2. A Regionalized Approach
In the context of a global insurance program, customer concerns are often specific to the country or region where they operate, and being agile requires having the local expertise to form a quick and targeted response.
When setting up its international structure, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions created a new, more decentralized structure that empowers regional business leaders to fully exercise their local expertise.
“While we have leaders who oversee our international program business as a whole, we’ve created a new role at the regional level – the Deal Architect,” Gunnink said. “We have already had very good experiences with this concept in the North American region and will create similar roles for the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions as well.”
The Deal Architect is an expert in international business charged with developing deep relationships with the most complex clients in their region and serving as their central point of contact. This dedicated service is an acknowledgement that the intricacies of global programs sometimes demand highly specialized, tailored solutions. With the Deal Architect, unique needs are met with swift and strong response.
“They’re steering the process for clients who require really custom programs. As difficulties arise, the Deal Architect is the glue that keeps the pieces together and ensures that the program is being managed at every level,” Gunnink said.
“But they’re also communicating with leadership to make sure feedback is incorporated into broader solutions. For example, if a Deal Architect is seeing an issue trending with our most complex customers, we can implement changes that solve those issues for everyone; for some, before they even encounter an issue in the first place.”
Ultimately, the regionalized approach allows insurers to get closer to their customers’ problems, their market, and their broker partners, all while maintaining a global framework.
“The regionalized approach really gives us the ability to create more bespoke solutions in the region, while again, leveraging our global expertise and creating consistency,” Gunnink said.
3. Strategic and Sustainable Growth
Much like an athlete can’t pivot and accelerate without solid footing, insurers can’t be agile without a base of financial strength. Strategic, sustainable growth ensures that expertise and resources are not diluted, and service doesn’t suffer for the sake of pursuing new opportunities.
“Our focus is on creating the best possible customer service. With slow and steady growth, we ensure we have the resources and dedication to run our core offering smoothly before adding new lines of business or new markets,” Gunnink said.
“Rather than broadening our production geographically, we are focusing in the short term on expanding the complexity of our core offering. For example, we have begun writing captive fronted business in 2020.”
In North America, concrete goals also include onboarding customers and broking partners in the important property segment to ONE Form, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ broad, globally standardized property policy.
“For our international program customers, ONE Form ensures alignment between master and local policies and makes complex issuance processes faster and more efficient.”
Why Insurer Agility Matters
A continued focus on complexity over size is a testament to the value Swiss Re Corporate Solutions places on expertise and customer centricity. At the end of the day, these traits are what position the insurer to respond and adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
They experience client’s challenges alongside them, deeply understand those challenges, and have processes to ensure every challenge leads to increased resiliency. That contributes to faster solutions and indicates longevity.
“We’re not a flash in the pan,” Gunnink said. “Our commitment to putting customers’ needs first is really what fuels our strategy, and that’s enabled us to be responsive and reliable partners.”
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.