Future Culture in Reinsurance

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April 28, 2019

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On 20th September 2017, we explored a topic close to my heart and close to the minds of many reinsurance executives: How could culture and the way we do business evolve over the next twenty years?

This topic was ambitious, involving a high number of moving parts and largely unknown interconnections between them. However, the evening was a marked success on three dimensions:

  1. We had an outstanding group of people from a variety of responsibilities, who contributed their personal and professional perspectives
  2. Everyone was open and challenging in their views, allowing for new insights and diverging opinions
  3. We all went on a journey together, first predicting how the industry may evolve, then how individuals could make this happen

After two hours of intense discussion, it was clear we certainly didn’t have enough time to cover every topic on our agenda; nonetheless, four key themes did emerge from our discussion:

  1. Many are still unsure of what the customer landscape will look like. Could primary insurers be challenged by new InsurTech companies? Or could global corporates choose to keep significant amounts of risk themselves, using big data to evaluate their own exposures?
  2. The Sharing Economy might drastically alter personal demand for coverage. As assets are no longer ‘owned’ by individuals, will consumers actually need to purchase standard insurance at all?
  3. Reinsurance underwriting could utilize big data and technology in ways that make underwriting much faster, standardizing products and increasingly using automated processes.
  4. The risks of tomorrow are becoming increasingly interlinked. This will have a dramatic impact on capital allocation and diversification benefits. We need to understand these new levels of exposure and develop new products accordingly.

As we identified these four trends, we discussed how they could be applied to employee behaviors. We looked at some characteristics and leadership styles that would be required when working in this future state.

  1. Flexible and agile organizational structures that allow for easy collaboration across departments and individuals, blending expert knowledge with fast decision-making capabilities.
  2. A mindset that embraces risk taking and can quickly adapt to new market situations while maintaining stringent risk adherence across all units, regions and risk categories.
  3. A cultural balance between global reinsurance corporations and tech start-ups.  Organizations need to maintain stable capital positions and returns, while being able to quickly adjust to new classes of risk and customer needs.

The final thought was an acceptance of the unknown. Even though a large amount of these predictions may not happen, we still need to be prepared for new and unique developments that may appear unexpectedly. Change is happening faster than ever before, and as industry leaders, we must be prepared to respond at the right time and in the right way.

I’d like to thank everyone for their contribution, and we can certainly all agree that changing corporate culture takes time. I’m glad we are already starting to think about this topic and we’re looking forward to how our industry develops over the years ahead.

If you’d like to understand how Pro could help you on your Change journey, please contact Inken.Schaeppi@pro-global.com

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