The secrets of underwriting success in the hardening market of 2021 – Charles Mathias, Group CRO, Fidelis Insurance
This week’s guest on The Voice of Insurance podcast is Charles Mathias, Group CRO, Fidelis Insurance, a core member of the team at Fidelis, which is widely recognised as having one of the most successful underwriting teams in the specialty and reinsurance sector.
Charles talks candidly about Fidelis’s strategy, which segments of the market are most attractive for the organisation and why Fidelis can be considered an InsurTech company. Charles also speaks about the softer side of culture and why supporting racial justice, human rights issues and charities chosen by employees is taken very seriously at Fidelis.
Underwriting first and foremost
As the conversation moves to capacity and pricing, Charles comments around the market’s “fairly sensible and disciplined approach to pricing” and that the hardening market drivers are mostly down to a more rigorous underwriting approach than an influx of capital.
Charles explains that a fundamental point of their strategy is to be completely aligned with their brokers and to ensure that they provide “top drawer service”. Despite the impact of Covid-19, Charles mentions that feedback on their Underwriters’ responsiveness has been fantastic. This has largely to do with scheduling regular underwriting calls throughout the day and providing a forum for their underwriters to discuss and share information and ideas.
The hardening market has resulted in the operational challenge of Underwriters having to triage hundreds of submissions on a daily basis. Today’s reality is that underwriting teams are stretched in trying to manage the increasing number of submissions.
Having the right underwriting tools and insurance software to support Underwriters is a critical element of taking an underwriting first approach to perform optimally and efficiently, and stay on top of the influx of submissions.
Also, fostering the right culture is essential. Charles explains that every meeting has an agenda with action points and due dates – accountability and sticking to timelines is a must, “we work in a very diligent fashion, we have this timeline culture”, where accountability is absolutely fundamental.
An InsurTech for sure
As an insurance software provider, we were particularly interested in hearing Charles’s response to how Fidelis interacts with new technology, data and whether he can describe the company as an InsurTech. As Charles responds, “all our offices are open plan… and the teams sit next to each so you get the developers and the data scientists and the actuaries and the Underwriters all sitting around each other and there is real cross-pollination of ideas and really good examples of it.”
Charles chats about why having control of data and ensuring that they capture every data point about their underwriting is a key focus at Fidelis, and why they have opted to build their system in-house, which enables them to have a real-time view of all of their exposure. He provides one fascinating example about last month’s Capitol riots and how Fidelis was able to look at all 50 states and see what exposures were in the vicinity of a state capital within a matter of minutes.
We highly recommend you listen to this informative podcast to learn about the secrets of underwriting success.
Enjoy the podcast.