No natural endgame to where we can be – Adrian Cox, CEO, Beazley
In this week’s episode of The Voice of Insurance podcast, Mark Geoghegan chats to Adrian Cox, CEO, Beazley about his vision for the company, cyber insurance, digitisation of the market, how algorithmic underwriting complements human intuition, and working with clients on ESG projects.
Kicking off the discussion, Mark asks Adrian about his vision for Beazley, Adrian comments, “When I think about what the next 20 years for Beazley could look like, without sounding too trite about it, I think personally the vision I have for Beazley is for it to realise its potential as a specialty insurance company.”
Keeping on the theme of vision and realising its potential, Adrian talks about how the focus is on finding industries and products that suit the company and where it can apply its subject matter expertise. “What we’ve always wanted to do is to find industries and products which suit us as a specialty company i.e., where if we can apply some sort of subject matter expertise and deploy that at the point of sale that has some value,” says Adrian, “and we’ve always looked for products in areas that have those attributes, but also in areas that are growing themselves because from a growth perspective, it’s much easier to do that where the demand pool is naturally growing.”
Human intuition vs algorithmic underwriting
Is he worried about algorithmic underwriting, and if it will be good enough, asks Mark? Adrian comments that tacit knowledge will work alongside algorithms, “The trend that we’re trying to get in front of, is I think, that human ingenuity is going to be alongside other intelligence we can gather, other data that we can gather, other insights that we can gather so that it will be a sort of bionic version of where we get a mixture of human knowledge and better data we’ve ever had, and that will improve our segmentation and our pricing, and that is on the one hand very exciting because we’re doing some of it and we’re getting great new insights from working with different third parties to apply new sorts of data to the way we think about corporate risk or hull risk or whatever.”
As for the increasing amount of data entering the underwriting process, Adrian opines, “It makes it more important that we get access to and properly use our own data of which we have an enormous amount of, but it also means that we have to be constantly looking for new data and new ways of looking at that data, so we get fresh sets of insights.”
As insurers race to digitise processes and introduce innovative technology, Mark asks for Adrian’s view on the pace of transformation, “So, if we go back into the technology to help us process stuff better and more efficiently, that is much more where I see us going and we are developing technology to absolutely do that,” comments Mark, “and one of the exciting things that seems to have happened over the last three years is that technology has finally been good enough to deal with something as intrinsically messy as insurance and it can really start to make a difference in workflow and organisation and process, and that’s quite exciting actually.”
As the City of London slowly return to the office, Adrian discusses the digitation reform happening, and if a return to face-to-face contact will affect the pace of modernisation, “I don’t see it slipping back actually, and I do see us getting there, and I see a sort of determination there and less cynicism than before that it’s not going to work.”
Enjoy the podcast.