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Insurance CFOs' challenge - Maximising technology for business

Source: AIR | Jul 2017

C-Suite Technology

Moore Stephens Advisory Services Managing Director Patrick Rozario reflects on the 11th Asian Insurance CFO Summit 2017, and says there is now a clear demand and wish for a greater degree of interface across both the transactional and back-office operations.
 
   The Asian Insurance CFO Summit, in many ways, was a litmus tests for the feeling of the finance departments of major underwriters across the region and internationally. While quite naturally, there remains a significant focus on the areas of pricing and product development, it has to be remembered that insurers rely on capital to drive their business.
 
   However, it is noted that the core issue of the finance departments was not too much focused on capital but is similar to that of chief underwriting officers and that is technology.
 
   It’s not rocket science and CFOs are fully aware of the potential benefits that technology can bring to the business: creating far greater integration across the business, and with it the ability to better understand the risks the company is assuming and the price they are charging to do so.
 
   With the growing influence of the regulators, CFOs need to understand the risk portfolio and the direction of travel that the underwriting department is undertaking so that it can map that route against current and future regulatory requirements.
 
   If the rules on capital requirements change for specific risk classes, the CFO needs to be able to readily understand the company’s exposure to those classes and match that with the capital needed to support the CUO’s plans. In Asia, some nations also have set capital controls.
 
   Insurers need to have the ability to quickly assess the bigger picture –physical risks, FX, and regulatory changes – react quickly, and communicate any changes to their distribution partners.
 
Integration of information
The conversations I have been having with the CFOs revolve around the ability to bring the various departments – underwriting, claims and finance – closer and speed up the integration of information to give those across the company a broader understanding of the operations and the dynamics across each.
 
   The use of our RuleBook hub in the London market and its subsequent rollout into Asia has been very well received. The nature of the London subscription market and need for any system to be easily accessed, quickly updated and segmented to allow various stakeholders access only to the areas that affect and benefit their role has been seen as a step forward in the move towards realising the aim of greater integration.
 
   In many respects, Asian underwriters face the same challenges as their London market peers. No two insurers are the same, and neither are their underwriting operations and portfolios in class and geographic terms. Therefore, any solution needs to have the ability to be adapted to the bespoke needs of the individual internal and external systems and cultures. A 
 
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