Clients need human support in dealing with technology-based ‘new’ risks

Clients need human support in dealing with technology-based ‘new’ risks

At our recent Forum debating the ‘implications of a changing risk landscape’ there was a particularly interesting thread focused on the human impact of technology on both clients and insurers, and where we must seek solutions.

Julia Graham, Deputy CEO and Technical Director of AIRMIC, made a specific plea for insurers to create products that meet the clients’ needs, rather than to focus on using technology to solve our own internal problems.  There is no doubt that the focus of our Target Operating Model is to make London an easier place to do business, but we need to make sure that, going forward, we are always plugged in to client requirements.

An integral part of the discussion was the changing shape of risk – the shift in focus away from physical inventory to intangible assets. It is, as Julia said, a big switch to move away from assessing the risks to buildings and plant; and into an understanding and valuing the intangible. This is a very different skill-set and one that everyone – broker, insurer and clients needs to grasp.

Julia believes that, to thrive, insurers must plan the make-up of their innovation teams, so that technical brilliance is always allied to a good understanding of and connection to the client. For clients, the big value-add right now is advice, training and support on how to manage the ‘new’ risks.  And while the wider insurance industry is investing intellectual capital and energy in this process, the London Market ecosystem is particularly well placed to help because it has a wealth of collective experience. In most cases, risk managers often face this alone and have only the experience of their specific business - being able to tap into the brokers and underwriters can help risk managers to upskill and stay relevant as their world changes.

I found this thought-provoking stuff.  There is clearly an opportunity to continue building value for clients by becoming genuine business partners beyond the pure transaction and in a world where technology is great enabler, there is a real role for personal interactions with our customers.

Another issue raised was the focus of technology at the front end of the placement process. The real need that clients have is for help with their cashflow if disaster strikes, and the point was made that the claims process is often slow and unwieldy and often gets in way of putting  money into the hands of clients as fast as possible.

So, while risk is reshaping itself, and the buzzwords of blockchain and quote-apps surround us like a cloud of flies, let’s not forget that we are here to support people and businesses. We need to be relevant as their needs change, we need technology to make us relevant and competitive, but we also need to deliver on our promise to pay in the timescale that works for our clients. We must innovate at every stage of the value chain.



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