Digitization changes role of Risk Manager.

The story of the Tower of Babel relates how a mammoth project failed when those involved could no longer communicate in the same language. A similar effect is currently at work in the relationship between insurers and their commercial clients. While the latter look to digital options to accelerate and improve their processes, many insurance companies still rely upon traditional pencil and paper.

Commercial clients are unhappy

An insurance company’s success is based upon a sound understanding of its customers. Ideally, an insurer should be a trusted partner who can spot things the customer doesn’t intuitively recognise: i.e. risks, and how to protect oneself against them. In fact, today it is more likely to be customers who use state-of-the-art technology to capture and process vast amounts of data which could represent an extremely valuable resource for risk assessment. Unfortunately, the insurance industry itself still completes records by hand or, at best, uses Excel spreadsheets containing data fields that were last relevant more than ten years ago. This type of data does not address current risks such as terrorist events, cyber attacks or the disruption of entire value chains.

The giant has become a sleeping giant

Further customer disquiet surrounds issues such as high error rates which are almost unavoidable with manual processes, and the ever increasing delays in claims processing. Industrial companies which regularly optimize their own operations have little sympathy if their insurance partners fail to do likewise, especially when they themselves have to bear the brunt of such shortcomings. A planned symposium in Munich is intended to bring both sides together, and is expected to feature around 700 experts. It is in the interests of insurers to take the initiative to develop a more collaborative and responsive approach.

This article was first published on LinkedIn.