Vincent Vandendael talks about how Lloyd’s marries the traditional with the morden, and outlines the opportunity for the emerging market to carry the innovation torch

Lloyd’s chief commercial officer Vincent Vandendael is responsible for promoting and protecting Lloyd’s business across the globe, seeking new business opportunities and monitoring the development of emerging markets, whilst also managing Lloyd’s international operations.

Vandendael started his insurance career as a financial lines underwriter and has more than 22 years of underwriting and general management experience with both Chubb and Zurich Insurance. Having lived and worked in Belgium, France, the United States, Switzerland and Hong Kong, he has gained extensive international experience and foreign business culture expertise.

Vandendael answers our buzz round three questions and talks about marrying the traditional with the modern, and the opportunity for emerging markets to innovate.

What will be the key themes for your keynote at this year’s DWIC?

I’m on the agenda as speaking about ‘emerging markets, technologies and customers – a view from Lloyd’s of London’, and as such these are my key themes. This is a very interesting topic for DWIC to address and I’m really looking forward to taking part. At Lloyd’s we have a long history of innovation and of tailoring our insurance products to fit with evolving customer needs, but this is probably the most challenging marketplace we have ever faced. I will talk about what some of those challenges are and then present a vision of what the future of insurance could look like if we adopt new ways of working and new technologies.

How is Lloyd’s approaching emerging technologies and balancing this with tradition and establishment?

Lloyd’s is a fascinating mix of the traditional and the modern. For example, risks are still bound by brokers and underwriters meeting face to face and by passing around bits of paper. But more and more risks can also be bound electronically – one of the many new developments driven by the London insurance market’s modernisation programme. As you can imagine, there are those companies that are really keen to adopt new technology, and others that are more reluctant to do so. At Lloyd’s we have dedicated a lot of time to explaining why the new technology is good for business; now we have to make sure we prove it is in reality. We are making progress and we are seeing more and more Lloyd’s insurers use the various new technologies, but we know we must continue to make the case for using it at every opportunity. I think market modernisation is going to be one of those developments that we look back on in 10 years’ time and ask ourselves why we didn’t do it earlier.

What part are emerging markets playing in the evolution of the (re)insurance industry, particularly with regard to technology and the emerging customer?

Emerging markets are really interesting because they have an opportunity to build new systems and processes that miss out the legacy systems that often make it hard for established insurers to adopt new technologies quickly. It’s similar to communications where many emerging economies go straight to mobile networks, missing out landline technology altogether because it’s costly and outdated. What we are seeing in India and China – two countries in which Lloyd’s operates – are dynamic, tech-driven insurance markets bursting with new ideas and approaches. There is no doubt that insurers like Lloyd’s can learn from some of these companies. At the same time, they often lack experience and expertise – and that’s where established insurers can add value. Market development can also be hampered by protectionism, and where that’s the case, Lloyd’s works with governments to make the case for more liberal insurance markets and seeks to demonstrate that the full value of transferring risk can only be realised when capital is free to move across borders without restriction.


Vincent Vandendael will be speaking at Dubai World Insurance Congress (DWIC) 2018, taking place 27 – 28 February. Click here to find out more and register.