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Multinational risk management is challenging during the best of times. Add in the complications associated with a global pandemic, including remote workers, tracking and managing policies across multiple lines in multiple countries, as well as monitoring claims and emerging risks worldwide, and things become even more complex.

As risk professionals and brokers meet these challenges, insurance carriers’ digital platforms, once viewed as peripheral, have come center stage with unprecedented urgency and scale. The experience has underscored ten key ways that technology and new digital platforms can be uniquely valuable in supporting the management of multinational programs, risk and claims.

1. Seamlessly crossing borders and disciplines 24/7. Risk professionals cannot be everywhere to manage risk. Intuitive, easy to use digital tools extend their reach, effectively bringing their multinational program to them. Moreover, an insurer’s digital platform and technological tools should reflect and integrate the unique workflows and local regulations that are critical to these programs, providing support for the management of virtually every facet of a global program.

2. Providing greater control and enhanced transparency. By putting a real-time, holistic view of a multinational program at risk professionals’ fingertips, a carrier’s digital platform can provide them with greater day-to-day control over their program and enhanced transparency. For example, status reports can show not only what is up to date, but also what is missing from a local policy to a claims payment, as well as who is responsible for next steps. By doing so, these platforms keep all parties, brokers, underwriters and insureds on the same page, informed and collaborating across multiple geographies, time zones and languages.

3. Optimizing capital efficiency. Knowing and tracking the status of money movement to various counterparties around the world is central to effectively managing multinational cash flow programs. Some digital platforms can help support this by showing the real-time payment status. And if a transaction is pending, risk professionals may be able to quickly see why, and have easy access to track and follow up on payments. In other words, platforms can deliver tools and information that support risk professionals’ ability to optimize capital efficiency.

4. Providing the whole picture. Multinational programs can generate reams of data and information. Visualizing that data in a manner that is easy to understand and interpret may maximize its value. For example, it may help to translate data into insights such as loss trends that can be acted upon. Today’s digital platforms already do this and make it easy to convert data to intuitive charts and graphs that also help facilitate management reporting.

5. Facilitating no-touch transactions and document storage. Electronic document delivery is foundational to the efficient operation of a multinational program—and not just when the world is working remotely. Client-focused digital platforms make it easy to conduct multinational business remotely by facilitating everything from the online issuance of insurance certificates and local policies, to completing UM/UIM forms and paying invoices. These tools can also help organize and store relevant materials in comprehensive, organized “libraries” that provide quick and easy reference access.

6. Overcoming local policy language barriers. Local policies and associated documents, which may be issued in a local language, can leave risk managers and brokers uncertain about specific policy’s wordings, terms and coverages. An insurer’s digital tool set can reduce this uncertainty by translating these policies into the language of their choice, bringing greater clarity to each local policy’s terms and conditions.

7. Maintaining high service standards with added efficiency. During the pandemic, digital platforms are helping insurers continue to perform risk engineering surveys remotely and ushering no-touch loss assessments and claims resolutions into the mainstream. This trend will likely continue, bringing greater efficiency to all parties involved, even after the current crisis has passed.

8. Cutting through the complexity of local rules and regulations. Some digital platforms can make it easy to keep up with the myriad of rapidly changing insurance rules and regulations around the globe. For example, is cash before cover required? Are certain coverages compulsory or are certain compliance documents required to issue local policies? The right digital tools can provide timely and easy to understand answers to these types of questions.

9. Tracking global claims and loss information. Insureds and brokers alike can tap into real-time claims status or loss information remotely through digital tools, allowing risk professionals to quickly assess loss and claim situations to inform stakeholders and deliver reliable, timely loss information.

10. Promoting clear communication and collaboration. Managing a global insurance program requires communicating across multiple countries, time zones, languages and cultures, so access to clear and accurate communication is paramount. Digital tools can help facilitate this by providing ready access to up-to-date data, easily shareable information and an organized record of relevant communications. Integrated online directories should be able to point users to the right contact for addressing a particular issue, while integrated “conference rooms” can provide forums for collaboration.

From program quoting to policy issuance to claims management, new digital technologies are making multinational program management more efficient. There was a time when the insurance industry was widely perceived as being technologically behind. A decade of advances in insurance carriers’ digital platforms are upending that stereotype. Even during these challenging times, the insurance industry continues to see a market migration to platforms that are designed to help support the workflows and interconnections of these complicated and coordinated multinational programs.

As a result, these enhanced platforms are extending risk managers’ reach in their management of multinational insurance programs. Complementing their local “eyes and ears” on the ground globally and enabling them to optimize multinational risk management from their desktop, digital platforms will continue to remain pivotal to this industry.

Matthew Merna is division president of Chubb North America’s Large Business Segment.