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Commercial Risk Europe talks to Rodolphe Menn, director-general of RSA France, about the insurer’s growth ambitions for the French market

RSA has a long history in France and Europe as a specialist insurer. RSA France, which operates as a branch of the Luxembourg business, has offices in Paris and Lyon, and the business prides itself on the long-term partnerships it has built with clients.

However, amid a rapidly developing risk landscape, RSA is looking to renew its commitment to the French market and has set itself some ambitious growth targets as a result, according to director-general of RSA France, Rodolphe Menn.

He describes the French insurance market as “fragmented”, where insurers have different strategies and appetites for both domestic risks and international programmes.

“The assets to be insured are increasing worldwide and clients want increased risk prevention combined with a more customised approach in terms of risk transfer and insurance coverage,” he says.

One recent development in the French market has been the introduction of new captive legislation in an effort to build an onshore captives market. This should lead to a significant growth in captives, especially from large corporates, says Menn. “It also illustrates the continuing demand for alternative risk transfer tools.”

Risk registers

A major risk concern for French commercial clients, says Menn, is changes to legislation and regulation, and any potential restrictions on their business activities that may result. Like elsewhere, natural catastrophes and cyberattacks are top of the risk register.

“It is not just about insurance coverage – clearly there is a need to better understand how to prevent severe consequences from extreme weather and from cyberattacks,” says Menn.

“Our risk consulting team, together with the RSA Red tool, enables risk managers to track and prioritise preventive actions and is a key element of our value proposition. RSA also distributes cyber coverage with its MGA Resilience service and cybersecurity tools, where prevention is also critical,” he adds.

A key development for RSA France has been its integration into Intact’s Global Specialty Lines (GSL) group, which Menn says will open up exciting new prospects for the insurer.

Growth ambitions

“GSL has ambitious growth targets – $10bn in direct written premiums by 2030, with a combined ratio of less than 90. Europe is a key element of this strategy, and this will also influence our trajectory in France,” says Menn. “As the leading country in terms of premiums, RSA France will make a major contribution to this effort.”

RSA France’s strategy is based on creating insurance solutions for large national and international companies, using a risk engineering approach, says Menn. “Our priority is to strengthen and develop our existing lines of business, as well as identifying potential new segments that match our expertise and capabilities.”

“We are a market leader in specific sectors such as rail, infrastructure, property, retail, and marine, which underlines our high standards and technical capacity,” says Menn. “We have also strongly developed our property and casualty offering, in conjunction with our CAR (construction all risks) offering, and we have looked to expand in niche markets such as marine project cargo and construction damage for <30m target sites in the construction industry.”

“In addition, we will be launching new products in 2024, particularly in the areas of technology and management liability, while consolidating our position through a strategic alliance with a partner for cyber risk (Resilience),” says Menn.

Internal efficiencies

The firm has also invested heavily in its own processes in order to simplify things and make them more efficient. “There are dual objectives – to free up the energies of our experts to use them on value-added tasks and to gain better control of our data so as to exploit its full potential,” says Menn.

The biggest challenge for RSA France, says Menn, is to preserve its heritage and its reputation, while also “energising” the new company structure.

“We want to make it a more agile organisation, capable of responding to our customers’ risks, which are increasing in intensity and, above all, in complexity in a virtually permacrisis environment,” he says.

If last year’s results are an indicator, 2024 is shaping up well for RSA France, says Menn. “Our results reflect our commitment to our customers and our ability to innovate in a constantly changing environment. We continue to maintain a balanced approach to underwriting and to provide a quality service to our partners. These strengths contribute to our positive performance.”

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