How digital technology is making international insurance programmes easier
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As one of the most sophisticated financial markets in the world, commercial insurance can be challenging – a web of intertwined processes and complex policies underpinned by strict regulations. This applies to international insurance programmes in particular. The range of different systems and tools in use across geographies and between partners can be incompatible, methods of storing data can vary, and the use of multiple languages can throw up translation issues.
Digital innovation offers one way to unpick these complexities, and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions invested in technology that is comprehensive, easy to use, transcends international borders and helps to comply with regulations. By building a cloud-based International Programme Administration platform (IPA) from scratch, the insurer found a way to manage, structure and deliver multinational and cross-border programmes with greater speed, ease, and accuracy.
“By means of technology, we have a unique opportunity to address some of the challenges that our corporate customers are facing,” says Samrat Dua, Chief Innovation & Transformation Officer, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “We created a state-of-the-art digital platform to address the issue of high friction in information flow and, at the same time, improve the service experience. It allows for a smoother workflow: from communications with our customers, brokers and network partners to information validation and policy issuance.”
The work to make processes easier for corporate customers and brokers is underpinned by a wider shift in the insurance industry. As using internet-enabled devices becomes run of the mill, expectations of products and customer service are changing across all industries. Digitalisation means we can collect and use data in a multitude of ways and in near real time, and Swiss Re’s latest sigma report explores the wide-ranging changes this is likely to enact.
Corporate risk managers with international programmes are no different. In a fast-paced digitised world, they expect leaner processes, less administrative burdens and more transparency from their insurers. Combining technology and risk insights, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' online IPA platform addresses this desire for operational efficiency.
“Alongside this, we created an internet portal called PULSE, which allows risk and insurance managers – as well as their brokers - to view all their information in one place. They can see everything from what site visits are planned to how far along a claim is,” Dua says. “It also means that in the event of a loss, photos can be uploaded and claims handlers and surveyors can be appointed digitally. This means better efficiency and faster claims handling."
Beyond that, even more opportunities for smart data exchange and automation are applied.
"Customers with international programmes receive automated risk engineering recommendations. And they can upload their location and their exposures around the world in bulk, and then, if there is a big storm or a hurricane, we have the ability to automatically send them alerts,” Dua explains.
Notifications were offered in this way when Hurricane Dorian hit the US and the Bahamas in 2019, via a partnership with start-up EigenRisk. Real-time natural catastrophe notifications were delivered to customers, bringing together technology, data and risk knowledge to give reassurance in fast-changing situations.
Looking beyond its own platform, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is working with brokers, who face similar challenges, to build an IPA for them. Generating an open-market platform is unprecedented in the insurance industry, and mirrors a model already harnessed by asset managers.
Dua says: "It will be a win-win-win, with the customer getting the biggest benefit. Such digital collaborations are the future of insurance."
In this way, the IPA platform showcases how technology can be utilized to create something useful that can help power Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' business further into the digital age.
“We are one of the companies that can bring together everything: the risk knowledge, the insurance knowledge, the data, the technology, and the openness to establish partnerships with other market participants,” Dua says. “And that's the goal. We are in the position to address some of the industry inefficiencies that have been around for many, many decades and to offer a unique proposition to our customers.”