Insurance is ‘a wild ride and not for the faint of heart’

Insurance is ‘a wild ride and not for the faint of heart’

Emerging risks and innovation like cyber liability, tech-related exposures and climate change are disrupting the global insurance marketplace and creating exciting new challenges and opportunities for insurance leaders to wrap their arms around.

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It was a key theme at Swiss Re’s 2019 Canadian Insurance Outlook meeting, the 34th annual gathering held recently in Toronto. As Monica Ningen, president and CEO, Canada & English Caribbean Swiss Re, put it: “The current landscape is forcing the insurance industry to consider new approaches and new ways of being prepared in addressing emerging risks.”

When Swiss Re held its first Canadian Insurance Outlook meeting 34-years-ago, the internet was still in its infancy. Microsoft had just launched Windows 1.0 and the iconic Sony Discman was the portable music craze of the time. Fast forward three decades and the technology landscape looks vastly different. Consumers expect to be able to transact business on their smartphones, including their insurance transactions, and they’re demanding an advanced, if not fully-digital service.

“New technology and data have transformed and will continue to transform how we engage with our customers and how we conduct business,” said Ningen. “Mobile devices are changing how we communicate and share information. The emergence of data and data analytics is helping us use and extract very profitable consumer insights.

“There are advances in AI and predictive analytics that are creating opportunities for innovation throughout the value chain. The digital world is unlocking new opportunities and we need to make sure that we’re properly harnessing new advancements that enrich those connections, that improve risk analytics and connect with consumers.”

While technology is advancing, the climate is also changing – and “at a rapid pace,” Ningen noted. In recent years, the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes has increased, driven primarily by climate change.

Since 2000, North America alone has seen more than $500 billion in uninsured economic losses from extreme weather events. As such, it’s “imperative that the industry adapts to the changing climate to avert the most damaging consequences, expedite recovery when necessary, and ensure that our societies remain resilient for future generations,” Ningen added.

“Our industry is continuing to evolve. It’s a wild ride, and not for the faint of heart,” she said. “But it can also be exciting and rewarding. Technology and climate change will continue to challenge our industry, as well as outside forces that we may not yet have identified. It’s up to us to navigate this wild ride and remain a few steps ahead so we can continue to meet our clients’ needs and ultimately work on closing the protection gap.”

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