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In 2010, after almost 30 years in the UK insurance industry, (primarily in General commercial broking) I set up Ontonix UK Ltd. We provide the World’s first Quantitative Complexity Management software solutions and associated services. Rather than try to summarise what we do and how we do [refer to “About Ontonix” or “About Complexity” pages] it may be more useful to explain a bit about why the “change of direction”.
- Unlike (too) many in the insurance industry I maintained my belief that reliable risk profiling, promoting a culture of loss prevention and consistent underwriting are fundamental to achieving sustainable profitability.
- That policyholders should be treated as stakeholders who deserve to receive the protection, service and sustainable value they believe they are paying for. Policyholders need to be advised and informed…not sold to!
- It used to be that, when a “customer” had a claim the reaction would be “thank goodness I’m insured”. Now it is more likely to be “I HOPE I’m covered”.
- The real value [QUALITY] has been stripped from many products to fit with a marketing strategy based upon price and market share [QUANTITY] without any real thought for the reputational damage.
- Since when should LOYALTY and STABILITY be discouraged!?
But the world has changed…and not necessarily for the better!
Traditional values are compromised: conventional [Actuarial] rating “works” when dealing with risk but fails to deal with events for which there is insufficient data – Uncertainty [randomness] and complexity. Similarly, risk management falls short in what the modern, inter-connected, business requires to survive in turbulent economic times.
The industry displays all the worst traits often, quite rightly, associated with their more prosperous and vilified Financial Services counterparts in banking. The appetite is for market share…at the expense of underwriting and the need is for results…in preference to strategy.
Unsustainable commissions only serve to enable intermediaries to deprive customers of “peace of mind”. Insurers lose the means or incentive to develop products that reward loss prevention or to invest for the future. These outcomes are detrimental to the future stability of the industry in terms.
Such practices are an obvious and substantial obstacle to TRANSPARENCY, which is the only way in which the industry can hope to regain the TRUST of their current and prospective customer-base.
Industry leaders have failed to heed warnings from influential sources e.g. Citi and PwC, about the cultural and structural changes that are required to ensure that insurance continues to be a viable market for investors. Add to this a failure to recognise that customers’ product knowledge, preference for referral or peer recommendation and perception of “value” have shifted the marketing emphasis from “push to pull”.
PRICE is too” one dimensional” a metric upon which to build a strategy. Selling on PRICE can/does bring results as certainly as it paves the way in a “race to the bottom”.
I wonder whether some actually retain the in-house capabilities, financial “independence” or customer loyalty to change and are destined to continue to “sell, sell, sell” as their corporate worth declines as fast as it was built!
All too frustrating for me! So, I “set sail” in search of a better understanding of what constitutes sustainable stakeholder value and soon came to realise that, unless the starting point was getting to grips with COMPLEXITY, anything that came after would not be built on solid foundations.
My CV can be viewed/downloaded here