By Anthony Baldwin, CEO UK, AIG
There is no sidestepping the fact that it has been an intense couple of years for everyone in the insurance ecosystem; buyers, brokers and carriers. The events of the last two years have brought stock market volatility, economic uncertainty, supply chain disruption, inflationary pressures, and energy price hikes, not to mention rising loss costs and cyber attacks, none of which are likely to be easing soon.
As they confront this unprecedented landscape of emerging and intensifying risks, brokers and risk managers need specialist solutions; these are threats to which standard answers are not available. This is where the London Market comes into its own. For over three hundred years, it is where people have come with the tough problems, looking for creative thinking and a deep pool of capital. The London Market now earns more than £60 billion of annual premiums, and employs more than 48,000 people whose collective experience, expertise and ability to innovate in the face of challenge is unmatched.
These skills and talents are needed more than ever before as companies seek solutions to today's problems. As with many industries, we responded fast to the challenges of remote working. We quickly ramped up our technical capabilities to ensure that communication between insurer, broker and customer could flourish in the digital sphere. Risks continue to be assessed and underwritten and claims paid. The challenge now is managing the transition as we return to our workplaces, to ensure that it is done in a way which allows that talent to be best deployed. For business relationships to continue to flourish, partnerships to strengthen and solutions to be found.
Those looking for risk transfer mechanisms seek out those they can trust – not just in terms of the strength of their offering but the strength of their balance sheet too. It is that combination of expertise, reach and appetite that will help insurance buyers to connect with the solutions that they need. Offering placement flexibility is a key factor in ensuring that London maintains its position as a world centre of excellence for specialty insurance. For its part, AIG has taken considerable steps in this direction, expanding beyond our well established ‘business as usual’ London operations to provide access to the Lloyd’s market and its licence network through our Talbot syndicate. We have also based our Global Specialty leadership team in London.
Investment in technology is also a priority; the pandemic has re-set the dial in terms of expectations of what business can and should be conducted online. Insurers in the London Market and beyond are looking at how they can pivot their operations to offer e-trading and other digital platform-based solutions where they are appropriate. In the face of the challenges posed by today’s risk landscape it has never been more important to maximise efficiency and effectiveness. Crucially, this must be a collective effort – everybody has to understand that it is only by pulling together that we can continue to innovate and solve the challenges facing our businesses and our clients.