L&H Business Management Head, Alison Martin responds to questions on Swiss Re's approach to managing their in-force portfolio.
Q: What was the strategic consideration for setting up a dedicated division addressing Life & Health in-force business?
A: Proactively managing our Life & Health business is an essential aspect of Swiss Re's value creation and offering to our clients.
Establishing a separate division – Business Management – to deal with the business once a contract has been signed, benefits existing and future clients. We can make sure that the business continues to perform well once it's on the balance sheet and use this knowledge to inform future business, working with clients to establish a sustainable business model for all parties.
This has brought many relevant areas of the business, such as claims and technical accounting, under one roof to ensure that we have a high focus on servicing our client relationships on an ongoing basis.
Q: What will Life & Health Business Management focus on in 2014 – what are your key priorities for the business?
A: We have made a commitment to our shareholders to improve Life & Health's contribution to Swiss Re's return on equity, so clearly this is a priority. Closely linked to this is to improve our transparency when reporting – the drivers of Life & Health results can often come across as confusing to investors.
Our remit naturally includes enhancing the management of our existing book of business, which is where we can really benefit our clients; working together on areas such as persistency management and early intervention claims management.
Q: Leveraging big data is seen as an opportunity for many businesses – how do you intend to use the data held by Swiss Re to improve in-force performance?
A: It's absolutely correct that data is essential, and it's a particular high priority for Life & Health business. Increasing the quality, along with the volume, of data we use is an essential part of what we do. The ability to combine our data with unstructured 'big data' provides exciting opportunities to partner with clients and look at new solutions, along with learning new insights about our in-force business.
Q: What major hurdles have you faced when setting up the team?
A: We were lucky enough that many of the teams we brought together were already established. The challenge was to make sure that they all came together to form an effective team quickly and how this new team should interact with other parts of the business was clarified through clear roles and responsibilities.
The spirit and commitment of the Swiss Re teams meant that they embraced this change and, what could have been a major hurdle, was actually a pleasure to implement … our aim was to ensure our clients continued to receive a high level of service and that any changes remained purely an 'internal' issue!
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