London makes its desire to collaborate on data loud and clear

Events -- 28 March 2022

Author: Marketing

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Verisk Specialty Business Solutions CEO Ian Summers urged players in the London Market to join the ‘collaborate to compete’ movement that is reshaping London’s digital ecosystem at a recent event hosted by InsTech and Verisk – a message that was backed by many of the market’s leading practitioners.

“It takes more than one party to move data efficiently. No matter how powerful you may be as a company, you’ve got to collaborate,” Summers told a 200-strong audience at the ‘Collaborate to Compete – The Benefits of Ecosystems’ seminar in London on 2 March.

The event highlighted numerous examples of collaboration in the London Market, from insurtechs and MGAs sharing data with large insurers and help insureds tackle cyber risk to the Lloyd’s Product Launchpad, which pools the pool brain power and capacity of 20 Lloyd’s firms develop breakthrough innovations for the industry.

The core theme, however, was the growing role ecosystems are set to play in insurance distribution and how data standardisation is critical to enable seamless real-time data transfer and automation in the insurance process. “Carriers no longer have their heads in the sand” on these issues, said Paolo Cuomo, Operations Director at Brit.

“For a digital ecosystem to work, you need the desire to collaborate, you need to have agreed data standards, and you need the technology with which to share the data – these are our three big challenges,” he explained, hailing London’s recent digitalisation efforts as “coopetition at its finest”.

This includes the formation in 2021 of the Sequel6 – a group of six leading underwriters working in collaboration with Verisk and ACORD to overcome common problems around data transfer and system interoperability, which has now expanded to include nine insurance companies.

“If we all try to work these problems out on our own, in a dark room, we're going to struggle,” said Mark Shaw, Vice President of Distribution and Engagement at Arch – a Sequel6 founding member. “Collaboration is how you overcome market challenges.”

Ecosystems such as Sequel Hub – which utilises the SURTS data standard developed by the Sequel6 – are bringing game-changing speed and efficiency to distribution by seamlessly connecting market players. This should spell the end for the web of proprietary portals that is preventing the market from achieving true digital efficiency. “There's no point spending two years building a portal only to find out that business is being placed in the Hub or another platform,” argued James Wright, Head of Technology for Beazley.

Sequel Hub enables brokers to receive quotes and place business with multiple capacity providers through a single system harnessing algorithms provided by the carriers. Its real-world benefits are being demonstrated in the War & Terror (W&T) space, where London underwriters have again collaborated to develop standardised question sets and processes to enable automated distribution through the Hub.

“W&T is a line we all want to write – and do it better than each other – but we also want to improve the client and broker experience and do things more efficiently,” Mike Burle, Deputy Active Underwriter for Liberty Specialty Markets, explained, while Wright added: “This is a broker-led market. We need to meet our brokers where they want to be met.”

Having successfully standardised a relatively straightforward line of business in W&T, Wright called on brokers to tell the Sequel6 where to focus their efforts next.

“It’s vital we continue to build on our momentum and keep working together to move data around the market more efficiently,” urged Summers. “We are wide open to work with any partners that can bring any form of digital distribution to the table.”