‘Risk managers haven’t had a handle on the data’

Data, software

Two weeks after her appointment as JLT Towers Re public entity practice vice-president, Embry Nichols said the sector must make more of big data.

Nichols joined JLT Towers Re having spent 24 years at Willis North America, where she gained extensive experience in complex alternative risk management self-insurance pools, co-ordinating and negotiating terms and developing and deploying custom underwriting platforms.

In an exclusive interview with GR’s sister title StrategicRISK, Nichols outlined her strategy to bring a risk management focus to the practice and explained why the public entity sector has been slow to wake up to the possibilities of using data to help their organisations.

“The key point of my new role is to bring a risk management focus into the business, to ground out the existing public entity business and also to help grow the business,” she said.

“I believe, from a broker perspective, that a risk management focus helps bring in some of the other elements so that we truly understand the business that our clients are in.”

Nichols said she aims to support clients in the sector by keeping abreast of the biggest risks to their business and by working with them on the data elements to ensure they are getting the best coverages, terms and are keeping up to speed with the changing market.

She said: “The use of data in public entity reinsurance has been lacking. Risk managers at the entities wear multiple hats and they haven’t found a way to get a handle on the data.

“The risk managers didn’t traditionally understand the need for exposure data, loss data and ways to slice and dice information that goes to the reinsurers but the reinsurers did and public entities have come a long way, especially with the help of JLT Towers.”