Should the industry do more to solve clients’ needs?

Julian James

The insurance industry should be less insular and do more to solve the needs of its clients, according to Allied World Europe president Julian James.

Speaking to GR at the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous, James said:

“If I had one plea for the industry as a whole, it would be to lift up our heads and look at what’s happening outside. I do despair sometimes when I read this obsession about pricing, or M&A, when actually I don’t hear as much talk as I would like about what the industry should be doing to solve the needs of clients.”

“I’ve always felt that as an industry we are probably too internally focussed and should spend more time putting ourselves in the shoes of our end buyers and asking how the world looks from that end of the telescope.”

James added that the insurance industry was not very capable at handling emerging risks.

“Insurance is very good at helping when buildings fall down or aeroplanes fall out of the sky, but it doesn’t really do a very good job at dealing with some of the other risks that companies face,” he said.

“So I’d love to see more debate about that and see us close the gap between economic losses and insured losses. I look at some of the data on that and the gap hasn’t closed in ten years, and that’s not a very good reflection on the work that we’ve done.”

James added that 2016 would see Allied World continue its strategy of increasing its range of products, ensure its relevance to brokers and buyers and make sure its distribution channels were strong.

Allied World will also continue its focus on Asia insurance growth, James added.

“In Asia, we’ve signalled our ambitions to expand and make ourselves more relevant,” he said. “We completed our acquisition of the old RSA operations at the beginning of April. With that came market-leading positions in Singapore and Hong Kong, and we are integrating those operations into the Allied World family.”