Lead Forensics


They keys to underwriting success by Jean-Jacques Henchoz, CEO, Hannover Re

17.12.20 AdvantageGo

“We are very much focused on underwriting discipline, underwriting consistency… we try to link it as much as possible to a key focus to client and client needs and being attentive to the expectations and demands of our customers, so that blend of underwriting culture and client focus has been one of the keys to success over the years.” Jean-Jacques Henchoz, CEO, Hannover Re.

As Mark Geoghegan puts it in the latest Voice of Insurance podcast, Hannover Re’s “story has been impressive.” In this interview, Jean-Jacques Henchoz outlines the keys to Hannover Re’s success and explains how a focus on underwriting discipline and consistency, while maintaining a client-centricity strategy, has positioned the organisation at the top of its game.

As Jean-Jacques Henchoz explains, the organisation’s underwriting focus is tightly intertwined with keeping the customer at the very heart of operations, anticipating their needs, and continuing to be relevant. Jean-Jacques Henchoz also speaks about the need to expand skill sets and embracing innovation through digitising processes.

It’s an insightful and fascinating interview as Jean-Jacques Henchoz discusses how Hannover Re balances and leverages the strengths of its unique business model while it moves forward with innovation plans and InsurTech investments to remain at the forefront of the insurance industry.

We were particularly interested in his comments around underwriting discipline and excellence. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you would quickly notice that we write a lot about how Insurers can take advantage of technology to drive an ‘underwriting first approach for underwriting profitability.’

However, how much emphasis do other Insurers really place on underwriting discipline, and what are the mechanisms they use to drive underwriting excellence? A lot is written about this topic, but what are the drivers and obstacles in place in employing an underwriting first approach?

We wanted to dig deeper and understand how scientific Insurers can be in making their underwriting decisions.

The science of Underwriting

But what do we mean by scientific?

In a nutshell, we mean how the industry combines smart technology, external data sources, machine learning, and intelligent insights to improve profitability, drive down combined ratios, guide underwriting decisions, and react and adapt quickly to change.

The extraordinary events of the last nine months have upended any notions of normal. Despite the insurance industry remaining relatively steady during this time and the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine, enormous uncertainty persists, and for how long, no one knows.

The pandemic compounded issues that already surrounded the insurance industry at the start of the year, making underwriting that much more difficult. So, we set out to discover just how scientific insurance organisations are in making their underwriting decisions.

Key survey findings

We recently surveyed 200 underwriting decision-makers across the UK and U.S. about their access to current external data sources and the technologies they deploy to support their underwriting decision making process.

Our research shows that a lack of access to the latest and most up-to-date data sources is holding the insurance industry back and impacting underwriting profitability.

To find out more, download our report The Science of Risk with all of the key findings.

Latest Insights