Global Reinsurance caught up with Pina Albo, chief executive of Hamilton Insurance Group, ahead of the reinsurance rendezvous in Monte Carlo
It’s been over eight months since you took the helm of Hamilton Insurance Group. What’s been happening?
It’s no stretch to say that I hit the ground running at Hamilton – not just because I was eager to get started, but also because the Company had lost no momentum since Brian Duperreault left in May 2017. The team at Hamilton is a driven, passionate one and they’re committed to the Company’s mission. My first action was to reconfirm Hamilton’s strategy of leveraging data science and technology on both sides of the balance sheet to create superior shareholder value – and it took no time to reconfirm, as Hamilton has never deviated from that strategy – and then to put “meat on the bones” of a long-term plan to build a diversified, global insurance company. Since then, we’ve been executing our plan and building on the foundation that was in place when I joined: continuing to diversify our Bermuda operations; completing the transformation of the distressed syndicate we bought at Lloyd’s and bringing it to scale and profitability; and leveraging our investment in Attune, our insurtech play with AIG and Two Sigma.
What is your vision for Hamilton Insurance Group?
One of the key tenets of my leadership style is to work as a team, and that’s one of the main reasons I joined Hamilton, where team is in the Company’s DNA. OUR vision is to build the insurer of the future – a profitable company that’s lean, nimble, entrepreneurial, data-driven and tech-enabled, and represents the digital, diverse world we live in. An important part of this shared vision is to create a company where people want to work, where they feel they’re valued and where they understand the role they play in contributing to our collective success.
What are your main observations of the current market cycle?
I’ve been through a number of cycles and I think there’s general agreement that adjectives like “hard” and “soft” need to be retired. We’re never going back to the heady profit margins of past decades. If a cat season like 2017 doesn’t turn the market, nothing short of a true cataclysm will.
So those companies who continue to be successful in navigating the “new normal” will retain what I feel is the true measure of a company – disciplined underwriting – and enthusiastically embrace the opportunities presented by data science and technology to be smarter, quicker and better informed about risk selection and pricing as well as product development.
What key things did reinsurers learn from last year’s hurricane season when thinking about business strategies and relevance?
Perhaps the greatest learning was that alternative capital – what we call partner capital at Hamilton – is far more durable than anyone expected and will continue to play a critical role in shaping risk and capital management.
This is the first time you’ve been based in Bermuda. What are your observations of the market and how will it to continue to prove its relevance in an increasingly competitive world?
While I’ve never been based in Bermuda, I’ve done a lot of business with companies who are, so I know the market well. While this is a mature market, it remains an innovative one with a world-class regulator.
Premier David Burt’s government is aggressively pursuing a strategy to create an insurtech hub in Bermuda and that’s generating opportunities for cross-sector partnerships and some interesting R&D as far as product is concerned.
The combination of mature experience on the re/insurance side and entrepreneurial new entries on the technology side is going a long way to maintaining Bermuda’s relevance.
Which technologies do you believe will have the greatest impact on the industry?
Anything that gets us to a single source of truth – that’s the Holy Grail in our industry right now. We’ve been far too slow to change our traditional processes, many of which are still manual and duplicative, drawing from poor data. Artificial intelligence, robotics and telematics are all being put to effective use in our industry; block chain shows potential, although it’s not proven yet to be the shape-shifter everyone had thought it might be. At Hamilton, we create proprietary tools like our Hamilton Analytics & Risk Platform and at Attune, the team is well on their way to using data to transform underwriting in the small commercial insurance segment.
Hamilton Insurance Group is the lead sponsor of GR Innovation & Insurtech, Bermuda