QBE enjoyed another successful presence at AIRMIC this year, joining topical conversations and sharing insights on market trends and upcoming challenges
AIRMIC showed us that we need increased dialogue with our customers regarding cyber risk. It’s important that we keep talking because sometimes the insured will focus on an issue that’s not relevant to their risk profile, but they’re concerned and preoccupied by it. For example, many customers are keen to clarify in the event of a cyber extortion, how would the ransom be paid? Where does the Bitcoin come from? Do they need a Bitcoin wallet?
In practice, we’re going to do everything possible so that the insured doesn’t need to pay. The customer may not have understood that there are sanction repercussions to consider; that paying a ransom is directly funding crime; or that one of our partners may have a decryption key.
Equally, as the insurer we may be concerned about various protections and practices, but the customer may have processes in place to address vulnerabilities. Unless we talk, neither party will realise. If we are in regular dialogue, it means that we can work together to remove concerns, freeing capacity to concentrate on the systems and security.
Everyone understands what a fire or a flood looks like, and the impact it could have on business operations – but not everybody understands what a cyber event looks like, or what follows. As part of ongoing dialogue, we also focus on ‘being ready’. We can share appropriate information on failed attacks and which protections worked, and the vulnerabilities which have allowed cyber breaches to happen. The activity at AIRMIC further highlighted to me that a greater level of data sharing both ways helps insurers better understand their customer’s business so they can assess and advise on risk in the most effective way.
There was certainly a renewed focus on the benefits of multinational programmes at AIRMIC this year, with discussion centring on the major trends of international taxes, sanctions, and regulatory changes. My panel discussion covered QBE’s strategies in managing and optimising multinational programmes and there was keen interest in how customers might further their understanding of these key benefits and make better use of the insurance market to structure their global programmes.
The team welcomed the opportunity to highlight the advantages of Multinational coverage, getting into the detail of the complexities of tax and compliance across many jurisdictions, the ease of a single package and central contact, and the considerable cost benefit available to global customers.
Technology was also high on the agenda and many delegates were keen to hear how tech development will continue to play a key part in multinational programmes in terms of both contract certainty and data analytics and management. We crunch a lot of data in multinational programmes for insurance and it’s likely that AI (which we already use for some tasks in claims) has the potential to play a part in this type of coverage moving forward, particularly in data management.
It never ceases to amaze me how engaged our customers and our brokers are with us at the conference; there is never a shortage of people looking to meet with us, engage with the activity on our stand and find out what we have to say in terms of expertise and thought leadership.
We benefit from going with a clear set of expectations; we are there, primarily, to retain existing and secure new business. Our frontline client service team is in the room, so we have key leaders from underwriting, Risk Solutions, the Multinational Client Centre (MCC), claims and the Client Engagement team – and that means the visitors to our stand are talking to the people that they’ll be working with.
Customers and brokers like meeting the people they will be doing business with. After a few years of volatile and uncertain conditions in the UK insurance market, with premium rates for different lines of business accelerating / decelerating at different paces, they want to know what our view is of market conditions in the medium term, how we can help them manage that volatility, and how can we help them manage their stakeholders? This was one of the underlying themes of the event for me: what can we do? What are we expecting to see? How can we support customers through changing market conditions?