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Welcome to our Monthly Newsletter – March 2007

Talk Around the Bazaar

  • In Australia QBE takes a share in Austbrokers, an independent broker network. This may be a trend which will continue.
  • Mexico has also seen QBE making a strategic step with the acquisition of Cumbre Seguros. 
  • Slovakia, a fairly recent addition to the EU, is not scared of making its opinions known. It has filed a lawsuit against the European Commission for not insisting that fellow EU members cut their CO2 emissions enough.
  • The Commission is also embarking upon a review of competition and consumer protection throughout the EU.
  • ZFS (Zurich) will become the largest foreign general insurer in the Russian market once it completes its majority stake in Nasta Insurance.
  • Aviva (U.K.) is extending its reach in The Netherlands with the purchase of Erasmus he purchase of Erasmus Groep in Rotterdam.
  • Fire insurance will soon be compulsory in Saudi Arabia.
  • Chinese insurers are now allowed to invest in property. This will help them diversify risk beyond stocks, bonds, etc – just like the West has been doing.
  • There have been calls in Brazil for the insurance regulator to impose minimum regulations once the IRB loses its monopoly. Once again, will it really happen this time?
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    We are currently discussing projects in the following markets:

  • Portugal
  • Tunisia
  • India
  • U.S.A.
  • Czech Republic
  • South Africa
  • Croatia
  • Serbia
  • Romania
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Poland
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • * * * * * * * * * *

    What Clients Say

    “It is a small world, the international insurance one but not many people have contacts in the smaller as well as the major markets:  Worldwide Risk Solutions does”

    “Outsourcing some of our projects to them has been a good decision”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    CONTACT US

    BY POST
    Worldwide Risk Solutions LLP
    20 Blunts Wood Road
    Haywards Heath
    West Sussex
    RH16 1NB, England

    BY TELEPHONE
    Telephone: +44 (0)1444 450 919
    Mobile: +44 (0)7968 191 511

    BY E-MAIL
    info@worldwiderisksolutions.com

     

    Disclaimer
    Information appearing in WoRdS is checked for technical accuracy but is not intended to provide a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Worldwide Risk Solutions accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material included in this newsletter.

    A New Force in International Insurance

    Worldwide Risk Solutions is a U.K. based commercial organisation facilitating global business strategies and business development in the international insurance industry. For more information about us, please go to www.worldwiderisksolutions.com. Amongst our clients are some of the world’s largest networks and independent brokers in four continents.

    Use of Technology

    In an age when many firms boast about having spent millions on IT, voluntary groupings like networks of independent brokers just do not have that sort of money to throw around. Of course within their own organisation, IT forms a substantial portion of the budget but for the purposes of international communications, network members are reluctant to spend a lot of money.

    The pace of information technology is quick and is getting quicker but there are still firms who do not even have e-mail let alone a website. Large brokers usually have their own intranet for internal communication and data storage. Those who form part of an association understand the benefits of having an extranet for the same reasons. Somehow, with international business however, the same approach to efficiency does not seem to be there in the same quantities.

    Take, for example, 150 delegates returning from a conference all receiving copies of Acrobat files and PowerPoint presentations and storing them on their own PCs. People rarely clear out their electronic libraries and so, seasoned internationalists who have been around for more than, say, 10 years, could have many kilobytes, maybe even megabytes of network information clogging up their systems. An international network should not be responsible for that.

    Greasing the Bearings

    Instead of filling up the coordinator’s computer with information which everyone needs, a network should store as much as possible in cyberspace and have it accessible to members only.

    What are the tools a network utilises in order to enable its members to interact, to refer and to service business and to access information? These would include:

  • network charter and governance information
  • servicing guidelines
  • standardised documents
  • country information guides.
  • Additionally, on an on-going basis, members would need to have meeting agendas and minutes as well as financial information.

    In most networks there a few members who are elected to supervise network activities. It is unusual, however for any of them to be the chief information officer of the respective member. Such a CIO or IT specialist may be called in by the network representative to help with analysing the network’s technology needs and making recommendations. This is to be applauded. They are the people who know if the most glorified extranet can have anything like the same capabilities as some of the solutions offered by software houses. They can bring people back to earth once they have set their hearts on a Rolls Royce when a Mini can provide all of the flexibility and efficiencies a network really needs.

    Therefore, the network should provide what the members need (and are willing to pay for): a platform for both network matters and client matters.

    Rubber on the Road

    International business can be a challenge to coordinate: different time zones, different cultures, different systems. The proper or poor coordination and servicing of referrals can lead to keeping or losing business and this impacts every network member’s growth prospects. Accessing information and communicating are vital to an account’s success.

    What tools does a network provide to help members handle their accounts effectively? Contact lists, policy summaries, survey forms, programme implementation, coordination and maintenance instructions, claims procedures and so on.

    This information is peculiar to each individual client and is subject to frequent change. As with network matters, there is a lot of material which each international coordinator could store in the office computer. A programme involving 50 countries would involve intensive information gathering, discussion, negotiation, draft documents, revised documents, proposals, figures, pie charts and more. Not only is it desirable to keep as much of this as paperless as possible, but also easy for everyone to access at times suitable to them.Seeing as member A in Canada cannot contact member B in Holland at certain times of B’s night, a network which provides access to information 24/7 is providing value to its members who can therefore continue their work without having to wait until next morning.  Outsourcing memory space for account management purposes to a secure library also saves time because it reduces the number of steps which need to taken with up-loading, refreshing and disseminating information.

    Such a structure must be extended to include clients, carriers, claims adjusters and all other people actively involved with handling an account. Once again, access to relevant parts of this platform should be available with all the necessary security procedures.

    The advances in software and hardware have been considerable and will continue. What you have today can be out of date tomorrow. But that can be very subjective: people who buy a new car every two years or after 25,000 miles usually do that with someone else’s money. Generally speaking, networks are doing very well in the arenas where they operate. Those networks which have taken a good look at their IT needs, discussed the pros and cons thoroughly and have taken sensible decisions have members who are satisfied that their money is being spent wisely.

    In our next e-newsletter we will look at  The Flow of Business.

    See our Contact Details

    George Worsley, Director
    Worldwide Risk Solutions
    Telephone +44 (0)1444 450 919
    E-mail info@worldwiderisksolutions.com

    © Worldwide Risk Solutions LLP 2007