Scouting in the shifting seascape
Matthew O'Sullivan of Zurich explains the different things brokers must be looking for when looking for an underwriter in the Marine Insurance space.
Video transcript below:
Matthew O’Sullivan: The broker has a fantastic relationship and a fantastic insight into their clients’ business. They are advocates for their clients, but they also look for their insurers to be partners with them as well. So we need to look at the three elements of expertise, product innovation, global reach, together of course in providing these products in a cost efficient way, so of course not being dismissive of price.
We look at all those factors including of course as mentioned the claims payment and the time that when businesses that most that need, we need to be expedient and reactive and provide a streamlined level of service for the customer to ensure that their business gets back up and running as quickly as possible. So this is the real key element I believe as part of the what a broker should be looking for in a marine insurer.
Reporter: Marine insurance is constantly evolving, so when considering an underwriter in this space, brokers need to consider a few different things. Matthew O’sullivan explains the expanding marketplace has brought about new risks.
Matthew O’Sullivan, Head of Marine Property and Engineering, Zurich Australian Insurance
Matthew O’Sullivan: The Australian Marine insurance market is a very competitive market. We all know this and the market is very much linked to the trading and the economics of the country. So at the moment over the past number of years, we have seen a commodity boom, a resource boom and this is interlinked directly with our business in marine insurance. On the one hand that’s very positive for the market because we see a lot of growth opportunities, we see a lot of opportunities for new business venturing overseas for example, but also coupled with that is increase in exposure and new commodities and new types of risks being seen in the market.
Reporter: O’Sillivan cites three things brokers should be looking out for.
Matthew O’Sullivan: We are opening up new markets in Southeast Asia and beyond where we have to deal with these companies and in doing so, we then need to have an underwriter that has the technical expertise to deal with more complex natures of risks. Businesses are becoming more complex, so we need to get products that are more accurately match the risks that a business is facing. So we need to be constantly changing and being constantly innovative. We have some very good examples with Zurich where we have actually brought products to clients, but they didn’t fully understand that they had risks in certain areas of their business that we were able to then to provide some products around covering them for that risk. Marine sits as the only truly global class of business. If you think a lot of our products are based on international terms and conditions, we are trading in international environments covering products as moving from Australia to wherever else in the world that we need to of course have a very global approach to the business.
Reporter: Finally O’Sullivan points out that despite the obvious selling points, the real value comes when it comes to the crunch of claim time.
Matthew O’Sullivan: So having considered all those factors it is important to realise that the product that we sell is really our claims payment ability. So whilst we provide service, whilst we provide security and risk management services around our underwriting, really it’s when we ultimately pay the client when our true product is realised.