Everyone is currently talking about ‘disruption’ in business, from Uber to Airbnb, thus we have to consider how the insurance industry would react if hit by something unexpected and left field.

However, it may already have, since fast on the back of the announcement that Google was entering the motor insurance market, news arrived that they had designs on Property and Casualty insurance too.

Of course while some have been dismissive that it is not a real threat, pointing to increased compliance and Solvency II as two material barriers to entry, it is a timely reminder that we constantly have to re-evaluate our business models and how we can best serve clients to retain and grow business. It is those very clients who decide what suits them, even if it is a disruptor who creates that offering and opens their eyes to another way – one that they perhaps had not seen, but one they certainly appreciate.

As we look forward, I believe there is a great deal to be positive about. The Lloyd’s model is ingenious and has worked for hundreds of years. Yes, there have been many warnings against complacency, but there are also huge opportunities.

In simple terms, we need to continue to make it attractive to come to London. Our capabilities here mean that we can compete with local markets around the world. We also have the global expertise developed across multiple territories to bring benchmarking and best practice locally. To take the USA as one example, we can advise Coverholders state by state, sharing our knowledge and expertise gained from underwriting not only statewide but also worldwide. Ultimately we can help ensure that the distribution chain is a well-oiled machine from end client back through to London.

The White Oak view

At White Oak we believe there are some key factors which allow us to move forward and prosper in a disrupted world and industry.

  1. Employ underwriters who are leaders – people who can make the difference when assessing a risk, and who are constantly innovating to respond to their clients’ needs and wants.
  2. Personalise – our team are constantly meeting brokers and their clients; listening, learning and sharing knowledge.
  3. Trust your partners – the distribution chain from the end client back to London is underpinned by excellence throughout and we value their expertise, thus we only deal with specialists who are experts in their industry.
  4. Add value – If we can add value to the operations of our brokers, coverholders or clients, we want to help. For example, we have been asked to audit the risk of the end client to provide improvements in risk management which will benefit all.
  5. Technology – there is a place for technology, from improving risk management to improving the pricing for the best clients through improved data analysis, and we thrive to be at the forefront of technological innovation if it can help our clients, as well as our brokers and coverholders.

Written by Guillaume Bonnissent