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Rising to the challenge

A Q&A with Nick Hobbs, chief distribution officer at Allianz Commercial in the UK

How’s Airmic been for you? What are the big topics of conversation?

Airmic is really important for us at Allianz Commercial and we’re proud to continue our partnership with the organisation. We always have a packed agenda at the conference and the team looks forward to it every year. This year’s theme, ‘Tomorrow’s Risks Today’, is obviously very topical, with technology driving more emerging risks, as well as opportunities, for businesses. Geopolitical, economic and climate tensions are front of mind for many and these are coming up over and over in discussions. We’re also making sure our recent thinking on the shape of the insurance market in years to come makes its way into our discussion – particularly as Airmic this month follows hard on the heels of the Biba conference, which was largely about “what’s next”.

What is Allianz doing at the conference? What are you focusing on?

We launched Allianz Commercial last year – bringing together our commercial businesses in one global model for mid-size, large-enterprise and specialist risks. So at this year’s conference we’re really focused on promoting Allianz Commercial and everything we can offer as one Allianz to everyone here.

We have collateral with us to support those conversations, such as our ‘Product Tree’ and our combined underwriting appetite guide – which we’re looking forward to sharing. In terms of sessions, our alternative risk transfer experts are leading the panel on captives. Nadia Côté, our commercial managing director, is featuring on the closing panel discussing the future and continued relevance of insurance.

And of course, we have many meetings planned with old and new clients to build and maintain relationships here in person on our specially branded Olympic and Paralympic stand.

How is the integration going at Allianz Commercial? What benefits are you seeing for large clients, traditionally Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty (AGCS) customers, from the change?

Allianz Commercial brings together the local commercial components of Allianz businesses with the Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty operations in those countries. It is not an AGCS rebrand, it’s much bigger than that. This approach creates a larger commercial construct, bringing the full strength of Allianz to the market in a more unified way.

We have been performing well in both large-corp and mid-corp segments, but bringing Commercial together creates opportunities for growth and offers a better experience for our broker partners and clients. We’re excited about this new chapter. It’s an ongoing process but it’s bringing clarity and alignment to our underwriting appetite. It also supports our growth and means we are even easier to deal with through a ‘One Allianz’ face to market. We’re making these changes at pace and looking at simplification where we can. Broker partners and clients should already be feeling the benefits. Relationships, professionalism and expertise remain crucial!

What is Allianz Commercial’s strategy for the large UK risk market? 

For Allianz Commercial, our global strategic priorities are growth, technical excellence and productivity. Of course, to remain a relevant sustainable long-term partner for our clients and brokers, we must remain profitable, so we are always monitoring capacity and appetite. We remain committed to providing the best solutions in our chosen markets and segments in large-corp and specialty.

Our targeted growth strategy and risk appetite focus on five areas. First, ensuring we are ‘Playing the full market’ and providing new solutions for upper mid-corp and lower large-corp segments, leveraging our expertise in both areas. Second, enlarging our foothold in multinational. The third relates to sustainability and ensuring we are offering a holistic proposition for our climate solutions and the energy transition. Fourth, we are expanding our specialty solutions in the mid-corp segment. Fifth, we are targeting expansion in MGAs, portfolios, facilities and programmes.

What do you see as the big three risks currently facing your clients? And are there any that you think they are underestimating?

We know from the Allianz Risk Barometer that the three biggest risks that companies are concerned about this year globally are cyber, business interruption and natural catastrophes, and these come up in our discussions a lot. In addition, ESG topics continue to be at the fore. AI and technology as both risk and opportunity is key. Political violence and civil unrest is very much at the front of mind, with ongoing geopolitical events, and is, of course, highly topical in the UK with the general election just called for next month.


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