Bermuda reinsurers have an appetite for process change
The Bermuda insurance industry has been at the forefront of a global transition from paper to digital based processes, according to a British expert.
“Bermuda reinsurers have matched and in many cases, exceeded the speed of change in the UK,” said Graham Card, senior management consultant at Web Connectivity Limited in London, a company providing technology for the transition.
Visiting with clients on the island, Mr Card told The Royal Gazette: “The difference has been the Bermudian reinsurers’ appetite and willingness to consider change, and to embrace the opportunities that digital processing can deliver.”
He said this early adoption of digital processes in Bermuda has primarily been with brokers in the field of reinsurance accounting.
“Bermudian reinsurance offices may be relatively small, but they transact significant volumes with all brokers, and particularly with the major UK and US reinsurance brokers,” Mr Card said.
“Adopting digital processing has enabled them to reduce inefficiency, allowing their resources and skills to be focused towards more value-added tasks.”
He said the adoption of e-accounting, for example, has allowed local reinsurance companies to benefit from automated reconciliation, early query resolution, speedier processing and zero unmatched cash.
Unmatched cash – payments that cannot be matched with an existing account, can be a debilitating problem for reinsurers.
“Claims processing has also seen considerable automation, with many Bermudian reinsurers receiving and automatically processing claim movement messages from brokers,” he said.
According to Mr Card, the move to remote working in the last two years sped up the paper to digital transition.
“The timing was great because within London there is an initiative called The Future of Lloyds,” Mr Card said. “They are going through a change programme, called Blue Print 2. That is the London market, looking at the use of data rather than paper for our processes. It looks at how we interact with each other, and place risks by using data without the face to face contact.”
He said many firms used the pandemic to review all areas of process and consider a digital strategy which, over time, could embrace all aspects of the reinsurance process.
“Face-to-face engagement between brokers and reinsurers simply hasn’t been possible and many companies have had to rethink their work model and specifically consider how best to enable remote working,” Mr Card said.
He said his company, WCL, was asked by current and prospective clients to work with them in this strategic thinking and to provide support to an evolution of data based processing.
“Many of our clients were early adopters of digital processing, and as a result are now well placed to exploit further opportunities as focus moves towards e-placing and an end-to-end data based process,” Mr Card said.
He has prospective Bermuda clients whose interest was triggered by the pandemic experience.
“I see digital processing on the island increasing considerably in the coming years, with a real focus on data integration and process automation,” he said.
Mr Card thinks that Bermuda reinsurers have always been a little more receptive to remote work, because of the island’s isolation.
“Bermuda is a lovely location but it is a long way away from any of the major markets,” Mr Card said. “So Bermuda has always worked at arms length. In the old days there would have been interaction through e-mail and attachments and spreadsheets. But that is changing. They have recognised the benefits of using data based processes not paper.”