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Corporates seek more client focussed partnerships with insurers

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Helen Pope

Helen Pope

Monday 23 June 2014 – Risk managers want closer partnerships with their insurers, and would also like to see more bespoke, customer focussed insurance solutions, according to Helen Pope, the new Chair of the UK insurance and risk management association, Airmic. (source: Lloyd’s of London)

What do you see as being the biggest risks for corporates today?

Cyber and supply chain risks are among the risks that concern companies, but the biggest risks for most will still be the big macro issues, like the economy. The UK and world economies have started to pick up but there has not yet been much improvement in Europe while growth in China appears to be slowing.

Do you think the world is becoming a riskier place for business?

It does feel like we have been bombarded with issues over the past ten to 20 years with political upheavals and large natural catastrophes. But are such events new? I suspect the world 100 years or 200 years ago was just as challenging, but the speed of change today has increased, especially with modern communications.

Lloyds Risk Index includes many intangible risks – is this something insurers can help with?

Intangible risks do not have to be uninsurable but they do take more work to quantify. For example, in my previous role as risk manager at a financial services company we worked with insurers to come up with cover for the risk of mis-selling of products.

How can insurers better serve the needs of corporates?

I would like to see insurers put the customer at the heart of everything they do and to become true business partners. I believe that insurers are becoming more customer focussed, but I want to really feel like my insurer is working for me. Insurers need to work in closer partnership with corporates and provide a more bespoke offering that addresses an individual company’s needs.

Do you believe insurers should look to partner with clients more?

As the Chair of Airmic I would like to focus on the importance of partnerships. I believe that brokers and insurers need to immerse themselves in their client’s business and understand their risks better in order to provide a more bespoke solution.

Why does the industry need to change in this way?

Insurers need to become more client focussed and seek closer partnerships if they are to continue to be relevant to corporates. Large and complex organisations increasingly face risks that insurers do not currently provide adequate insurance for, like reputational damage. The industry needs to invest more in research and development if they are to stay one step ahead of fast pace of change in business today.

What else could insurers do to make it easier for you?

Insurance policies are not user friendly. It would be good if insurers could make their policies easier to read and to make cover more joined up – at the moment we have to buy several policies to cover different perils affecting the same building. I think that insurers need to rethink the usability of the product and start to see things from the customer’s perspective.

What have you learnt from working at Tesco, and what can insurers take on board?

In addition to making customers the centre of everything we do, we also are constantly looking to make it easier for them to do business with us. This is also something that insurers could do more. I have also learnt that it is important to stay ahead of the game, and I would like to see insurers sitting down with clients to identify emerging risks and consider solutions.

Airmic has just published its efficacy guide, why is it needed?

The view of Airmic is that current insurance contract law is too much in favour of the insurer and there are concerns among buyers about the reliability of their insurance when it comes to making a complex claim. There are plans to address this under the Law Commissions proposed Insurance Contracts Bill, but this is still subject to parliamentary process. In the meantime, Airmic’s efficacy guide should address some of these issues and concerns.

How can the guide help?

The efficacy guide provides buyers and insurers with a process that will help minimise the risk of a claim being repudiated and should bring contract certainty and clarity through best practice

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