The pandemic has shifted the way the industry views innovation. Leveraging the right technology such as video conferencing and enhancing risk management platforms, has helped both internal and external communication during a period in which organizations have had to adapt their approach to connectivity.
Erin Fry (pictured), president and head of public entity risk solutions at Munich Re Specialty Insurance, and panellist in this year’s Women in Insurance New York virtual summit, told Insurance Business that there have been big changes to how employees interact with each other and changes to how insurers approach and communicate clients’ risk.
According to Fry, an organization’s success is about adjusting to emerging trends and having an open dialogue with team members to understand how to address and analyze new coverage exposures.
“Clients are concerned and need their risks to be assessed thoroughly. We had to be very agile in making sure that we understand the gravity of our coverage and consistently applying the right strategies,” she explained. “We have a robust risk management platform that we offer clients called ‘My Community Workspace’ so they have access to best practice tools, checklists, and assessment of exposures.”
After enduring extended lockdown periods, it’s now become vital to use the right technology to ensure you are remaining transparent with clients, particularly when approaching unfamiliar territories such as communicable disease exposure.
“We’ve also done a lot to enable risk management webinars and now we can target our clients directly,” Fry explained. “We’ve tried to do them on a quarterly basis and pick topics relevant to either a portion of our portfolio or the broader context.”
There were many industries that experienced a huge transition with respect to communication and using the right technology to maintain employee and client relationships and the insurance industry was no exception.
Organizations such as Munich Re shifted from once or twice a year check-in with employees to a continuous conversation methodology at the beginning of 2020, so plans and objectives could be updated more frequently.
“Teams and video conferencing really supported the continuous conversation mentality we were trying to embed into the culture at Munich Re. It was innovation of not only how we looked at performance, but how we had those conversations with our team members,” said Fry.
“We have an underwriting conference for our casualty segment which is a global conference and historically it was in person but, as a result of COVID, we weren’t able to travel to our Munich Re office, so it was an online conference,” Fry added. “The outreach ended up being so much greater - anyone interested in attending sessions were welcome. We were not only able to present to a larger audience, but the learnings were much greater as a result.”
The mentality of how businesses approach conferences has been changed for the better, and Fry believes that in the future there will be a hybrid approach of in-person and virtual attendance since technological capabilities have been enhanced.
“Having the optionality of a virtual environment really expands the amount of people you can touch,” she said.
Fry also noted that in a remote work environment, brokers can reach more senior levels within a client’s organization which facilitates relationships in a more effective way. Prior to the pandemic, relationships were effectively built in-person, but a smaller segment of client’s organization were reached.
“We’re always looking for more creative ways to reach our colleagues and clients than traditional conferences or meet and greets,” she said. “Our PR has been fantastic facilitating that and we’ve utilized the resources we have internally in creative ways.”