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Creating Client Value

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Listening to clients and meeting their individual needs with tailored solutions is essential to building long-term relationships, says Peter Smith, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Liberty Mutual Re.

Ultimately, offering clients best value always comes back to service, how we communicate, and how we treat them as partners, by being willing to share information with them. At the end of the day, it is that relationship that is the differentiator in this market.

It's a well-known business adage that the client comes first – and that certainly holds true in the (re)insurance market. But to create real value, it is vital that we also have understand their aspirations and expectations.

In our business, it’s often the case that clients are offered a one-size-fits-all solution
Peter Smith, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Liberty Mutual Re.
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Listening – really listening – to clients is the secret of success in our business, where it’s often the case that they are offered a one-size-fits-all solution. We need to have the size and strength to withstand natural and man-made catastrophes, but that size can make it harder to offer a truly tailored solution to each client.

There’s been a great deal of merger and acquisition activity in the market, but as (re)insurers grow it’s been a challenge to not lose sight of clients’ individual needs. The pressure on any organisation as it gets bigger is to create greater efficiencies, but that can come at the cost of losing the ability to treat each customer as unique. There must be a balance – the customer comes first, but the business also needs to create consistency and efficiency across the organisation in a way that is economical and viable in the long term.

As the world changes our industry has had to adapt to emerging risks. Liberty Mutual Re has grown over the past five years to cater for both traditional risks, such as wind, hail, and flood, as well as new perils, such as cyber.

As (re)insurers become bigger it’s been a challenge to not lose sight of clients’ individual needs.

Flexibility is key

As the nature of risks change, it’s important to be flexible to offer a range of solutions to clients’ changing needs. Parametrics is one example, which offers protection against unpredictable but potentially devastating weather risks as well as a guaranteed direct pay-out after a qualifying event has occurred. The effect is that clients are offered a type of protection that is different from traditional coverages.

The organisations that will be the winners in five- or ten-years’ time will be those that not only understand risk, but can use that knowledge to build client solutions, using all of the resources at their disposal.

A global reinsurer can gather an immense amount of intellectual property. Sharing that intelligence effectively across the organisation, coupled with employees’ skills and experience, is a challenge that can also bring great benefits. A global reinsurance partner can advise a client where it sits in the context of the whole market. Reinsurers that have global scale can harness data, analyse trends, and understand risks to provide insights that are of enormous value to clients.

At Liberty Mutual Re, we see trust and long-term relationships as critical for a sustainable business. Our deep commitment to clients means we have retained many relationships since the beginning of our rich heritage. However, our customers have changed considerably over the years, and we have had to change too. If clients are to trust our judgement and advice, it is imperative that we have extensive knowledge and expertise across all lines of business.

Clients Worry About Service

Listening to our clients and brokers, they are chiefly concerned about service. That is the approach we take: the value we offer them centres around the high-quality service we offer. We listen to clients, learn what’s important to them and tailor our solutions with those needs in mind.

When we talk about service, we use the three Cs: collaborative, not only treating your client as a partner but also collaborating internally; customised, where our clients are offered tailored solutions based on their needs; and commitment, with an emphasis on mutuality and stability over the long term.

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