At a glance
- Risk managers require many things from their insurer when it comes to serving their global insurance programmes
- One of the key characteristics of a solid, well-organised international programme network is that the collective knowledge and experience of the whole network is filtered by the global insurer and distributed to customers in a digestible way
- Successfully managing a local insurance relationship, whether with an owned office or a third party, involves putting a collaborative agreement in place with contracts that define KPIs
Risk managers require many things from their insurer when it comes to serving their global insurance programmes. To begin with, they are looking for a network that covers all the territories in which their company needs insurance and risk management services. But they are also concerned with how the network is set up, and the quality and performance of network partners.
A global insurer will supplement their owned offices and subsidiaries around the world with carefully selected local insurance companies. This means working and partnering up with local companies that have strong and solid positions in each market, combined with long experience.
It may not necessarily be having a partner that is the biggest insurer in the territory. It is about everyone pulling in the same direction and having the same vision and aims in terms of serving customers, with the same key performance indicators (KPIs). Ultimately, it is ensuring that a network partner works to the same standards that have been sold globally to a global customer.
Managing the relationship
For these relationships to be successful, the insurer needs to impress upon the network partner from the start that the aim is to have a long-term partnership. And then the relationship needs to be maintained successfully, with frequent contact, communication and the exchange of ideas.
This process requires a lot of personal interaction – not everything can be digitalised – as these international relationships often are exposed to different cultural expectations and regulatory frameworks. It is particularly important for the insurer to remain abreast of developments in risk management, new laws or regulations coming into force, or different approaches to potential problems.
The global insurer must carry out due diligence regularly on its network, looking closely at partners, their reputation, their financial situation and their operations. Are they fit for purpose? What are their strategies and focus in the local market? Are they looking to expand, or to move into different areas?
Successfully managing a local insurance relationship, whether with an owned office or a third party, involves putting a collaborative agreement in place with contracts that define KPIs, etc, and then measuring and benchmarking performance. In the end, it is about choosing the best available partners and then continuously monitoring them to ensure that they maintain their position and service levels.
One of the key characteristics of a solid, well-organised international programme network is that the collective knowledge and experience of the whole network is filtered by the global insurer and distributed to customers in a digestible way. This transparency into the network is crucial for risk managers. Technology plays an important part in this process, but it is vital that the process is supported by personal relationship management – this is what makes a network, and the global programmes that rely on it, run successfully.
Technology can also help to provide the basic elements of the programme in a consistent way. Global customers have very specific tailor-made solutions, but technology helps us to establish and meet the basic expectations that a customer should have of their global programmes in order to deliver consistency. As global insurance carriers, our first aim is to get the basics right: to get the policy issued on time and in the right way.
Risk managers want to know that all their operations can be covered, and who is participating in the network. They want to know that there is constant dialogue between the network and the centre, so any issues can be quickly dealt with. They want to be sure that all network partners are aligned with all regulatory, legal, tax and other governance requirements as there is a reputational aspect involved, both for the insurer and the customer. And they demand consistency of service.
In addition, a risk manager needs to know that when it comes to a claim, there are people on the ground locally to ensure that the claim is handled correctly and can be paid locally. And risk managers are increasingly demanding greater transparency. If you run a global network, you should be able to tell your customer who is handling their business locally, what service level they can expect, and provide them with reassurance that their programme will be managed consistently and professionally around the world.