As global connectivity continues to improve and evolve, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Political situations overseas suddenly become backyard issues, and natural catastrophes in faraway continents blow the winds of change thousands of miles away.
No-one feels the changing temperament of society more than large domestic and multinational companies. Global traders have to navigate nuances in geography, culture, politics, regulation, finance, civil security – the list goes on – and they have to battle complex risk landscapes around the world.
Developing and implementing risk management solutions for major accounts is “fascinating,” according to John Alfieri, executive vice president of Chubb North America major accounts, which serves large US and Canadian-based companies. Each individual major account is unique and is impacted by what’s going on in the world around them, so “there’s never a dull moment,” he added.
“There are a number of really interesting developments impacting major accounts right now, such as the regulatory impact of Brexit and other shifts in the socio-political landscape around the world. We’ve had lots of compliance and regulatory issues stemming from the financial crisis of 2008, and that has not stopped. What’s happening now is that countries are reaching another level of detail around issues like trade policy, protectionism, tariffs and so on, which all affect insurance in a macro way,” Alfieri told Insurance Business.
“Major accounts must also contend with continuously changing legal climates, especially in North America. We’re seeing that in the board rooms, in D&O and E&O insurance with regards to a new wave of legal action propelled by the #MeToo movement, merger objection claims and cyber risk, and in the plaintiffs’ bar where the sheer activity of lawsuits is significantly increasing.”
You can’t think about exposures to major accounts without discussing weather. No global company can claim immunity to random and catastrophic acts of nature, regardless of where they’re domiciled. Every significant weather event translates into a company’s risk policies, their financial structure and how they buy insurance, according to Alfieri.
When transferring risks for major accounts, “size really does matter,” Alfieri added. As a capital provider, global insurer Chubb is one of very few companies to be able to provide primary lead, first excess, full service to major accounts around the world. The firm has boots on the ground providing local expertise and massive claims resources worldwide. But despite the enormity of the Chubb operation, the major accounts team is actually focused on keeping everything small for clients.
Alfieri explained: “At Chubb we work really hard on keeping the major accounts division as small as possible for clients and brokers to access. Major accounts business can seem overwhelming because of the sheer scale and diversity of exposures, which is why we try to be small, nimble, accessible and non-bureaucratic. We’re transparent with our data, we share why and how we do business, and that really resonates with our clients and brokers.
“The consultative role of the insurance broker is invaluable to a major account and to us as a market and as a capital provider. Clients with international exposures want to understand the insurance regulations, claims information, premium movement, taxes, regulatory issues, and so on, in each of the countries they do business. I think the brokers do a fantastic job in providing highly specialized consultation to help major accounts understand their exposures and transfer their risks.”