BIBA 2022: Insurers face historical data dilemma – Dixon

The chief underwriting officer at Allianz Insurance has said underwriters face the challenge of setting premium level for risks in the new normal without the ability to rely on historical data.

Catherine Dixon (above) was speaking in Manchester at the BIBA annual conference when she told Emerging Risks that the insurer had set up a specific committee to look at “horizon scanning” looking to identify the risks which will need to be addressed in the near and long term future.

“We believe that there are a number of these challenges which will be manageable if you are aware they are in the horizon,” Dixon explained. “We keep a keen eye in North America for liability risks given that liabilities issues which arise in North American courts will tend to find their way to the UK.”

Looking to the current issues ESG and climate continue to be in the thinking of the market.

“We signed up to the Net Zero Alliance and as part of that commitment we pledge to help our clients on the journey to a low carbon or net zero future,” she added. “I believe as an industry we have a big part to play in helping our customers to understand how they can make that journey. I see it moving from risk management to carbon management.”

“Insurers need to be asking the questions that will help companies to understand what is expected and once they understand their current situation it enables insurers, and brokers to support the move to net zero.”

As such Dixon said Allianz has set up a scheme to help brokers chart their current carbon performance and position.

“I think if brokers understand where they currently sit, then they are better able to work with their clients to do the same,” she added.

Dixon said firms are also now having to understand the impact of ESG on their supply chains and with it the new risks it can present.

Climate change and its severity is a challenge and one that made harder but the need to change the way the market approaches underwriting the risks.

“The pandemic has created a new normal for the way in which firms operate and climate change is having ever more of an impact.

“In the past underwriters have used historical data to price future risks but we cannot do that now, given we are living in a very different world that that of the past.”

As such insurers need to understand both their exposures and their aggregations.

“We have to understand our exposures and identify if we are in danger of creating accumulations that will test our ability to pay,” said Dixon. “As insurers we need to be confident that we will be around to pay claims when they are made.”

With the world returning to work Dixon said firms needed to ensure that they had a broad view of risk management.

“Global working changes have seen changes to the approach on health and safety,” she added. “As staff return to the workplace a lot of the health and safety has been focused around COVID and it creates the danger that wider health and safety issues are not given the same priority.

“For those who are returning to the workplace which come with risks, there needs to be an understanding of how those risks might have change and systems in place to manage those risks.

“For instance, it might be that a role that was conducted by three people pre-pandemic is now being done by two as social distancing continues, that may create new risks for the staff and the business.

“Training and process may need to be reviewed.”

“We signed up to the Net Zero Alliance and as part of that commitment we pledge to help our clients on the journey to a low carbon or net zero future,” she added. “I believe as an industry we have a big part to play in helping our customers to understand how they can make that journey. I see it moving from risk management to carbon management.”

Catherine Dixon, Allianz Insurance

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