What It Truly Takes to Run a Seamless and Successful Global Insurance Program
Putting together a global insurance program that runs smoothly takes time, precision and a whole lot of dedication. Insurers stepping into the space must have an understanding of the exposures faced by their customers around the globe, all while issuing policies that offer coverage complying with local regulation.
A program like this has many moving parts, but the carriers that have a grip on what it takes to run it know how to aim for success.
Take Swiss Re Corporate Solutions as an example. The company spent the necessary time researching and then building a comprehensive international program offering with an eye toward the brokers and customers it serves. With a reach to more than 150 countries, Swiss Re’s is no stranger to the complexities of global insurance programs.
But, the company and its dedicated team make sure everything runs smoothly.
“We’ve been very deliberate about the approach that we’ve taken,” said William Porter, deal architect for international business, North America, at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.
“After Corporate Solutions was founded as its own entity within Swiss Re, we started to look at if we could be a player in the international program space,” he continued. “The first steps were taken to make sure we were going out to where we knew we could be successful, where we knew we could actually bring something that added value for our clients.”
Now Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is taking the step toward becoming a carrier of choice for the largest and the most complex global programs. It is expanding to more countries, offering higher limits, moving into fronted captive programs and more, all to deliver the best for clients.
The Draw of a Global Insurance Program
Customers interested in global insurance programs come about in two ways. First, their business is growing to a point where they want an international program, or, second, they already purchase such a program and they are looking to improve.
“That’s something we’re always talking about,” Porter said, “how we can make the program better for the customer.”
Part of improving the program comes in the form of helping alleviate complications for customers.
Risk managers, he said, want to focus on their role. “Buying insurance is something they have to do, it’s a necessary part of their job. But they also have to look at the broader impact of risk on their organization,” Porter said.
A savvy global insurance partner can help risk managers focus back on the big picture.
A key draw of an international program is in its ability to ease the administrative burden for clients. Rather than having to coordinate with the various countries a business is operating from and acquiring different insurance policies for all lines of business in each, risk managers can rely on their insurance partner to handle it.
“Having an international program enables them to focus on that enterprise risk management aspect of their role and not worry about the purchasing of insurance in so many countries around the world,” said Porter.
The program partner is also there to track and monitor money movement, as well as handle claims that may arise. All of that goes into building the program, “and how we’re going to structure what we’d recommend as the best program for any single customer,” said Porter.
We’ve Got You Covered
Another draw is knowing that coverage is readily available across the globe.
“Having the broadest possible coverage around the world is really what the goal is for most of our clients,” Porter said.
The Swiss Re program has worked to provide its global insurance partners with policies that dig down into the coverages available to them. Advancements in policy language and policy forms have enabled clients to fully understand the coverages available to them upfront.
“For years, we tried to make the master policy as clear-cut as possible: This is the coverage you have, this is what isn’t included. Now, we’ve been able to take the next step in issuing the same policy language in many countries around the world,” Porter said.
That’s thanks to the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions ONE Form, a document that provides efficiency, compliance and contract certainty between local policies and the master policy in the customer’s home country. Standard wording enables the insured to fully grasp their property and business interruption risk around the globe.
Porter added, “There’s no more guessing, there’s no more trying to do a spreadsheet. And it’s something that’s really helping us take the conversation around coverage to a new level.”
The Important Role Technology Plays
No global insurance program is complete without the technology used to support it. Advancement in technologies has brought significant depth to the Swiss Re offering, and it is a big component of what’s made this particular portfolio as successful as it is.
“Swiss Re has taken technology and applied it and purpose-built it for writing and servicing these international programs,” said Porter.
As he explained it, the Swiss Re program was built with technology in mind. With so many moving parts, from internal offices and networks, to broker partners’ networks and customers’ programs, aligning the different technologies used across the globe, as well as keeping information accessible without delay or confusion, has always been a primary goal.
Swiss Re, a relatively new entrant to the international marketplace, wanted technology that would last. A legacy system would not hold up to an ever-changing tech landscape, and flexibility was key. So the team built its system on a global platform with the end user in mind.
This enables underwriters from across the globe to input data on the price of certain risks, the price points for certain risk transfer solutions, as well as location information, buildings being insured and more into one accessible program.
“That process flows from one system into another. It’s called our International Program Administration Tool, and it feeds the same data to everyone involved in the process,” said Porter. “So there’s no changing of data, there’s no exporting of information into Excel and then re-importing it or keying it in manually.
“The technology shows the clients what we’re doing to really bring them and the brokers into the process,” Porter added. “They want weekly updates; some customers want daily updates for where we are. Having the technology that allows us to connect what our systems are seeing and what we’re working on has taken our international programs to the next level.”
Building a Partnership
Porter said that part of Swiss Re’s success really stems back to building a strong partnership with customers and brokers at the start. No program can truly survive without understanding and open communication.
“Getting carrier, customer and broker involved as early as possible is important,” he said.
Premium allocations, re-insurance agreements, binders sent out, policies issued — all that and more is needed to make a global program work. There are milestone dates that need to be met in order to stay on schedule.
“The fronting carrier is the one that has to bring it all together and make sure that everyone stays on track, but we can’t do what we do if we have a client that’s not interested in giving us the information we need or helping with their local offices. And the same is with brokers. We can’t make the program work without the help and support of the brokers who are placing the business and are really our partners in making sure that we’re performing,” Porter explained.
“Each of those three entities has a role to play in a successful global program.” &