An interview with Ian Davies – Head of Protection
Underwriting & Claims News: Tell us more about your role as Head of Protection?
Underwriting & Claims News: What do you see as the industry’s biggest challenge?
Underwriting & Claims News: How are Munich Re being innovative in the market?
Underwriting & Claims News: What does the future protection market look like?
ID: I would like to say that there will be growth but unfortunately I suspect there won’t be. I think again you could ask my children that question and they would come up with a very different answer to myself. Distribution will change, there will still be an advisor market, there will always be those that want advice. There will be new distributors and ways of selling but I don’t think the overall volume will grow. We will probably have new entrants who will be developing and growing a new market and what will that market look like…I’m not sure.
We need to work with our clients together going forward. Do I see lots of new products on the horizon… no. I do fear that we will continue to face the challenge of more and more illnesses being added to the critical illness product which I don’t necessarily see as being positive. I do not see sales of living benefits, critical illness and income protection growing significantly. One of the challenges that we have personally in the reinsurance market is that there is probably now as many reinsurers as mid to large insurers, so there is a challenge for us in the reinsurance world for us to remain relevant. Do I see a model when price is the only factor? You have got to be sharp on price but service is key and how you work on initiatives with clients which brings me back to the work we are doing on the electronic transfer of records. Our work with clients is very important.
Underwriting & Claims News: How important is it for Munich Re to have a strong presence in the market?
ID: Very important. If I talk about presence in the underwriting and claims world, we have been heavily active in AMUS, FOCUS, HCF, HIS & Grid. All of this I see as important. I attended my first health claims forum in the 80s. It is more relevant now than it was then and our involvement is essential.
I think of the LUCID conference which is going into its 5th year. We remain heavily involved, in fact making a slight plug here, I am particularly excited about our interactive science lab which I will be hosting. We will be doing something different, taking a risk actually with something new. I am really excited about this and I would encourage people to attend because it will be excellent. This year we will have members of our Centre of Competence as well as our own UK medical officer Dr Maurice Lipsedge, Consultant Psychiatrist.
We feel that these events give us the opportunity to not only showcase what we are about but also help the development of the attendees. I have attended every LUCID and presented at the last one. I feel that it has real value in the market and this is demonstrated by the fact that the conference will have over 300 attendees.
Underwriting & Claims News: What value do attendees bring back?
Underwriting & Claims News: What do you enjoy about working at Munich Re the most?
ID: The fact that I joined in the 90s suggests that I am either too lazy to look elsewhere or that I do really enjoy the role that I have. I thrive in the culture we have, I love a diverse role and I certainly have one. I feel that we empower people. I get up ludicrously early and I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t get huge satisfaction and pride in my role, team and company.
I think we over-achieve and I take pride in that. Our culture is one where we reward success and hard work.
Article first published July 2017