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Navigating Around Disparate Challenges in Marine Insurance

By Raymond Piot, Head Marine Insurances Switzerland, Helvetia Insurance Switzerland [SWX: HELN]

Raymond Piot, Head Marine Insurances Switzerland, Helvetia Insurance Switzerland [SWX: HELN]

How can we get things done faster, more simply, and in a more customer-friendly way?

What is the use of the supposedly best system, if it can only be implemented within a couple of years due to our own demands toward it? We often think we know what our customers want; But what if they don't respond to what we offer them? What if their attitudes or needs have meanwhile changed? What if our competitors offer them something that is faster and simpler? Not everything we offer needs to be perfect. Sometimes, an 80 percent solution can be brought to market-readiness much sooner, without being any less successful. The initial findings in the market can lead to new insights being gained, and to changes being made to the original ideas.

From local to global transport; from simple to complex solutions

In the field of marine insurance, we insure goods owners merchandise against loss and damages on their worldwide journeys and temporary storages, as well as the carriers' and the freight forwarders' liability. This means, that our customers conduct their business from local to global trade with all their individual idiosyncrasies and characteristics. Economic and political changes, as well as technical innovations impact freight transport. On top of that, our customers and we find ourselves facing more and more regulatory and statutory challenges, which is reflected in administrative processes as correctly and efficiently as possible. We have to take account of local laws and conditions, pay taxes in various countries.Also, because of the ever-growing concentrations of value and natural hazards, we have to study local risks and manage them efficiently.

How can we improve our business functions today?

Attractive products are needed across the entire range from SMEs to major corporations. SMEs, often with a smaller turnover, particularly need good products with lean administrative processes for the classical cargo insurance on imports, exports, and domestic freight, for carriers' liability insurance, or a combination of those. Further opportunities are track-and-trace facilities or shared data platforms.

Distribution partners and customers must have a user-friendly, simple platform where they can specify their needs and enter into contracts. They also need to be able to submit claims digitally, with an app or via internet.

Policy administration is central to delivering services, maintaining good customer relations, and keeping costs low

Underwriting as well as pricing challenges vary widely from one line of business to another, but in terms of policy administration, they are often very similar. Here, the central questions are: How can we best ensure our daily business and how can we continue its successful development?

Innovative approaches, entrepreneurship, faster market changes, and teamwork are the keys. An idea that initially looks insane can be developed to a good, innovative product.

Good policy administration inevitably saves time for everyone involved, and makes all of us more competitive. Implementing approaches like this is often very time-consuming and labour-intensive, naturally, Every aspect and implication must be thoroughly analysed. That is why it is crucial for partial steps to be taken and partial successes to be observed and constantly refined.

What opportunities and threats can we expect?

If innovations are to be identified and successfully implemented, we all need specialists—especially those in product management, product development, sales, marketing, and IT—to cooperate and openly communicate with each other. There are often several different routes to a successful implementation rather than just one, especially when these involve intermediate stages.

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