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Swiss Re Corporate Solutions wants to expand UK corporate business

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has told CRE it is looking to grow its book of business, with the UK market firmly in its sights, after pruning efforts to tackle losses pay off.

The unit is looking to grow in a number of lines. After expanding its property business, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions recently added to its D&O team and is looking to soon expand in casualty, Melanie Slack, Corporate Solutions’ head of UK, Ireland, South Africa and EMEA wholesale business, told Commercial Risk Europe.

In 2019, Swiss Re took action to reposition its Corporate Solutions business and strengthen reserves after a deterioration in US casualty and large claims resulted in a net loss of $647m and a combined ratio of 127.9% for the year. However, the insurer’s focus on “discipline, portfolio quality and margins” in the intervening period has started to pay off, according to Slack. For the first half of 2021, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions reported net income of $262m and a combined ratio of 92.7%.

“We were able to turn things around and improve our combined ratio. We are still focusing on underwriting discipline but now we also will look to grow, and the UK is seen as a key area for us,” said Slack.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has also had success in growing its global programme business, with new client wins in the UK, she explained. The group has been busy building its international programme business, with a new technology platform and a global network reaching more than 150 countries.

Slack also sees opportunities for Swiss Re in the expanding risk landscape. Large corporates face a host of complex and interconnected risks, with supply chain disruption, cyber, Brexit and pandemic among the top risks occupying UK companies today, she said. Slack said climate change is perhaps the biggest issue for companies, as illustrated by record-breaking floods in Europe and wildfires in the US and Australia.

Much like cyber, pandemics and supply chain, extreme weather events are difficult to model and price, and will require closer collaboration between insurers and corporates, said Slack. For risk and insurance managers, these risks are creating gaps in their insurance cover that will require insurers to find solutions, she said.

“We need to find better ways to manage risks like climate change and supply chain disruption. As insurers, we need more data for modelling and to work closely with customers on ways to better manage and mitigate risks. Along with clients, we need to find more innovative solutions and develop a longer-term play to help smooth out volatility,” said Slack.

The risk outlook is volatile and uncertain, although the pandemic showed that society is able to adapt, Slack said. “We will continue to see increased complexity and change, and at an ever-increasing pace. In a space of increasing risk, there will be growth opportunities for corporates and insurers in adapting to change,” she said.

As risk becomes more volatile, insurers and corporate customers will need to “co-create” to innovate and create new opportunities, Slack said. “Clients and insurers are working more closely to understand each other’s strategies and align these over the longer term. We will see more creative solutions to address the complexity and uncertainty of the global risk landscape,” she added.

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