Our Client Development Director, Oliver Miloschewsky discusses his upcoming presentation at the IUMI 2021 Conference, digitalisation in Asia’s commercial insurance industry and his work with the charity PeopleStories.
1. What are the most pressing issues facing the industry right now?
The marine insurance industry, and H&M in particular, has an unfortunate track record of consistent unprofitability over the last two decades. This has led to 31 companies withdrawing or scaling back their marine appetite between 2017 and 2019. The last few years however we have seen rate increases. At the 2021 IUMI conference this week it was reported that “Marine underwriting premiums for 2020 were estimated to be USD 30.0 billion which represents a 6.1% increase from 2019”. This is good news for marine insurers although it is quite notable that only five companies have re-entered the market even with the current upswing.
Whilst profitability fluctuates, the world is getting more complex. Climate change, increasing accumulations, the introduction of new technologies and the decarbonisation of shipping will continue to pose challenges for marine insurers. At the same time they need to be part of the solution and facilitate change alongside their customers.
2. How are these reflected regionally, specifically in Asia?
Asia is an extremely diverse and exciting region. It’s currently seeing the strongest growth rates globally, with approx. 30% of marine gross written premium (GWP) generated in Asia. 50% of the world fleet is controlled by Asian operators. There are very large and mature markets like Singapore and Japan, which operate alongside rapidly growing markets, like India and Indonesia. This mix creates a wealth of opportunity for anyone in both the insurance market and related niches.
However, a fruitful market is also very competitive. This can lead to profitability issues and a need to diversify your offering, making innovation even more relevant. Singapore’s continued support for the Insurtech sector is accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies. This is helping commercial insurers navigate the market and get closer to their customers.
3. Where do you see the Asian marine market in the next 5 years?
Approx 30% of global marine GWP is already generated in Asia and almost 50% of the global fleet is owned or controlled here. With equally impressive GDP growth in Asia I’d expect to see very strong organic growth and at the same time increasing maturity and self-sufficiency that will allow Asian marine insurers more and more into leadership roles that are at present still dominated by European and American companies. There’s so much talent in Singapore alone that can bolster the immense growth seen throughout the rest of Asia.
4. How will digitalisation influence Asia’s commercial insurance industry in both the short and long term?
If Asian marine insurance leaders are able to start off without any legacy systems, they have a real opportunity to become more efficient and profitable. To derive real value out of data, organisations need a digital environment that deploys all the data and analytics in a consumable and user-friendly way. For example, companies like XL Catlin who have a lot of capital sitting behind them are not held back by old systems. Having a system structure where you have a pure API-enabled system infrastructure can make it easier to switch on and off systems to transfer and analyse data. This is going to be a great opportunity for Asian commercial insurance.
5. You will be speaking at the upcoming IUMI 2021 Conference as part of the Hull Workshop. What can we expect from the presentation?
It will hopefully be an eye opener to show the industry that there is a better way of operating. This new way still draws on existing underwriting skill, but supplements it with a more in-depth data driven approach. During the presentation I will be sharing how Underwriters can generate more consistent profits. I will also explain how Quest Marine is an enabler of business. It will be a great opportunity to generate some good conversation and I am looking forward to the Q&A after my presentation.
6. Have you attended any previous IUMI annual conferences?
I have attended several IUMI conferences and represented Australia for a number of years as the the Head of the Australian Delegation. These conferences are always great for networking and building relationships within the industry. Within this tight-knit community it becomes a lot easier (and more fun!) to find solutions for some complex problems and also to facilitate knowledge transfer.
7. What do you think will be the most influential change on Hull insurance practices globally?
Insurers need to see the value new technologies provide for themselves and their clients before investing. They also need the money to invest. If hull insurers can sustain modest and constant profitability, they will be far more inclined to adopt better systems.
I can see Hull insurers moving from a provider of pure financial risk transfer to companies that can add further value for their clients by way of risk insights. If your data pool cut across all your customers of a particular segment then you should be able to leverage it and share your understanding, helping customers improve their results.
8. How did you get into the insurance industry?
Like many people, I got into insurance almost by accident. I am still here more than 20 years later so it must have something going for it! I started out as an Average Adjuster working in Hamburg and I consider myself extremely lucky that I had the opportunity to work in Europe, Australia and Asia. Insurance and Marine in particular is such an international class of business where you can make friends for life all around the globe. A very rewarding career that I thoroughly (and still do!) enjoy.
9. How did you find the transition from insurer to Insurtech?
I have been working at Concirrus for close to a year and it has been an exciting time! The tech industry is more fast paced as everything is happening in real time. This is different from working within insurance companies as typically you go through the same regular cycles each year. I like the fact that at Concirrus the team are passionate about building something that is going to make a positive difference in the industry. I believe being data driven is the way forward for the industry. I’d say the one challenge is managing your expectations. Moving from an environment with set renewal dates to one where we help companies evolve and transform means that we do not always get that short term gratification but of course we know that we our helping build something much bigger in the long run.
10. Aside from your work at Concirrus, you are a Director for the charity PeopleStories, empowering students in Cambodia to pursue their dreams. Can you tell us about the work PeopleStories are doing?
PeopleStories founded in 2017, is a non-profit charity that is on a mission to provide greater access to education to communities in Cambodia. It is extremely rewarding being part of something that is making a difference especially during the pandemic which made it even harder for local communities to gain access to education. We are always on the lookout for donations and volunteers!
Learn more about PeopleStories here.
Find out more about the IUMI conference here.
Learn more about Quest Marine here.