Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Insurance Banana Skins in 2015 - PwC and CSFI

PwC and the CSFI guys have teamed up for another Insurance Banana Skins publication, a particularly useful doc for the BAU Risk world, and one which I have covered on the blog in years gone by (well, 2011's and 2013's anyway).

In particular, I always found it useful as a means of digging out the kinds of awkward cross-bred expressions which would invariably end up rolling out of 75-year-old INEDs’ mouths at the next Risk Committee meeting, probably due to someone trying to sell insurance cover for it, or a business journal doing a centre spread about it. On this basis, I was delighted to see “Cyber Risk” given prominence this time around, which is the highest new entry, and apparently a “new risk” - here’s the sales forum, and here’s the HBR white paper!

Sarcasm aside, given this pulled in over 800 responses from around the globe, and across the distribution and provision side of the industry, the content is worth poring over and briefing colleagues on if this is your day job. There are also plenty of quotes from the great and good wrapped up inside as well.

I’ve only jumped on a few of the findings below;
  • Regulation remains the top risk for the 3rd survey running, and for the 4th out of the 5 actually held. It did take a ‘world’s end’ scenario for investment returns to knock it off the top in 2009 though, which suggests that those surveyed are happy to bleat about regulatory concerns, regardless of the rest of the exogenous threats to insurance firms.
  • Much of the top ten is focused on investments and returns, whether it be interest ratesinvestment performance or guarantees.
  • Governance and management of insurance companies seen as an area of declining risk – does it therefore warrant the Banking industry-inspired whip that SIMR is about to introduce in the UK?
  • Similarly, Business Practices, incorporating misselling, is falling down the list – not sure a UK-only survey would be so generous!
  • Cyber Risk itself was only #6 on the list for Life Companies, while #1 for Non-Life – wonder why the guys who are selling cover rate it so highly? Of more interest, North America had it as #1 “by some margin” – this suggests the wave will be coming across the Atlantic in the next 12 months (a nice precursor of how that will emerge here)! It is written up nicely however, with cloud storage, and the richness of data held on customers, being elements which make insurers prime targets. It doesn’t dwell on the proliferation of legacy systems in insurers however, which always felt to me a good reason for criminals to ‘have a crack’.
  • Europe considered the interest rate environment, regulation and guarantees to be the top 3 banana skins, which given the aggressive tailoring applied to Solvency II in the drafting stages to negate country-specific difficulties in these areas (MA/VA/Transitionals), is no surprise.
Oh, to have a day job again…

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