Senior View Of The Market And Challenges Faced By Underwriters With Vanessa Macdonald-Smith From Oneglobal Broking
In this week’s The Voice of Insurance podcast, Mark Geoghegan speaks to Vanessa Macdonald-Smith, Executive Director and Head of D&F at Oneglobal Broking.
As an insurance broker with years of experience, Vanessa provides her perspective on the current state of the market and discusses Oneglobal’s strategic plans for the future. In this blog, we also look at how data-driven analytics can boost underwriting profitability.
One interesting part of the conversation is Vanessa’s views on how the 2020 market compares to previous hard markets. Of course, there are very different dynamics at play; past hard markets didn’t have a pandemic and remote working to contend with.
One specific area Vanessa speaks about is the absence of face-to-face negotiation, which is a particular characteristic of the London Market and, as Vanessa says, “one of the reasons why people come to London” to do business. Before lockdown, Vanessa explains that brokers already had limited time slots with Underwriters, with the situation now being compounded further as Underwriters are inundated with hundreds of submissions from people that they may not necessarily know. As Vanessa mentions, in the old days, you could discuss the submissions face-to-face and iron out the creases, but today’s disjointed process and lack of hinders this.
The increase in new placing platforms has potentially made it easier for brokers to distribute all submissions to Underwriters, which can lead to a deluge of submissions. Remote working has removed the chance for brokers and Underwriters to negotiate the finer details and subjectivities of submissions. One thing Vanessa says is that “it’s all about face-to-face negotiation,” and the ability to dialogue.
We agree that certain nuances of the Underwriting process are best done face-to-face and that an Underwriter’s tacit knowledge cannot be replaced by technology. However, we believe that automating certain processes through an underwriting platform, and connecting disparate pockets of information to provide deeper insights will help Underwriters make better decisions and perform optimally.
Challenges in Data-driven Analytics
In today’s turbulent and uncertain marketplace, Underwriters are facing unprecedented levels of challenges. Insurers are under intense pressure to help people and businesses get back on their feet during this prolonged global crisis. Operating results have the most significant impact on overall financial performance, and smart underwriting based on data-driven analytics is one of the routes to profitable underwriting.
But don’t just take it from us. The Future at Lloyd’s Blueprint Two puts data right at the very heart of its vision and plan and is taking a data-led digital market approach to provide “a highly intuitive user experience.”
Blueprint Two aims to provide a “cheaper, faster, better” digital market place with a focus on capturing accurate data the first time that will create “one irrefutable version of the truth” and eliminate duplication and errors. For Lloyd’s, it’s all about the data and we couldn’t agree more.
Market participants and stakeholders have said Lloyd’s needs “to focus on fixing the disjointed processes and technology used in placement and claims and should make them seamless end-to-end experiences.”
Optimal performance relies on Underwriters having the tools and market-leading analytics solutions to operate efficiently and seamlessly in the new online world. Data is the new currency in the insurance industry and those Insurers who put data at the heart of their underwriting process with reap the benefits. Quality and accurate data that augments an Underwriter’s intellectual property will propel Underwriters forward when it comes to creating new products, efficiently managing their pipeline and business plans and understanding risk at new levels of granularity. Data is not an option; it’s the new frontier for the digital age.