Capacity crunch means being on the ground where it matters to serve clients best
The market is hardening, of that there is no doubt. For many broking firms this brings a challenge that many will never have faced but it is stark reminder of the importance of having the expertise and connections with the relevant capacity wherever it may be located if brokers are to deliver for their clients.
If the last year has taught us anything it’s the importance of being close to the marketplace when travel restrictions are put in place.
It’s why Oneglobal is investing so much in expanding our international footprint. Just 6 months after our re-launch, we’ve opened in Singapore and Hong Kong, and now have our broking licence in Bermuda and will open in January 2021. It’s vital not only to make ourselves increasingly visible and available to our clients but closer to the capacity decision makers.
Singapore is an important regional insurance business hub, with risks being seen across Asia and Australasia and from the Middle East and Africa. Singapore house a key number of corporate clients too who increasingly have needs throughout Asia and beyond.
Hong Kong is an exciting regional market which is an entry point to the Chinese mainland but also allows access to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. It provides a way for insurers to gain entry not just to China but to local markets where the Chinese have a growing presence and influence, throughout Asia and increasingly in Africa. That’s without forgetting some of the huge enterprises that are Hong Kong locals of course.
Having worked in Asia for many years I understand and appreciate insurance skill and experience levels locally are very high and we’ve managed to attract some outstanding talent, bringing those skills, experience and market access to Oneglobal and our clients.
We see great opportunities in the Bermuda market, which will allow us to bring this market closer to our clients in North America and the rest of the world. With this in mind it’s our highest priority for an international opening early in 2021.
It is important to state that London remains a vital lynchpin in the international insurance market particularly for large and complex risks, with established and new vehicles coming on-line but other locations are increasingly important in serving local and regional classes and mid-market business particularly. If we don’t have the local access and invest in it then we would be missing out on a range of market opportunities.
Our focus is on ensuring we can reach clients and the marketplace wherever it is located in the world, as market conditions change, those changes are also bringing ambitious new capital into the market.
Examples such as Inigo and Convex, where there is undoubted experienced and skilled underwriting teams with long-term perspectives. They come without the burden of legacy, complex IBNRs to unwind or the integration of multiple outdated systems and are a welcome addition.
Over time these new underwriting entities combined with a change in market dynamics that places a greater emphasis on local market access combined with global expertise will undoubtedly bring welcome change and development to the insurance market.
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need to ensure we have the necessary skill base in place, coupled with the ability to trade in an agile manner using market leading technology and have access to the major global markets by being in key locations. Oneglobal will be actively moving forward on these learnings throughout the coming year.
This piece was written by Executive Director, Duncan Urquhart.