I can speak from experience that many insurance products hardly changed over 15 years in the past. And it probably felt even longer to clients.
Things are changing now — quickly. But how can we change quicker so we better relate to customers? To me, it comes down to truly listening to consumers and coming up with unique solutions.
Personally, if I could choose my own insurance plan, I would have one policy with one deductible that bundled auto, home, and umbrella. If there was a water leak, my car was stolen, or Southern California was hit with an earthquake, the universal policy would let me repair or replace any damaged item. My insurance company would feel like a true partner — there when it counts.
My idea likely needs refinement. But I saw innovative ideas squashed quickly in the past. Underwriting and actuarial literature, for example, historically argued flood was uninsurable.
At Swiss Re, we now embrace flood after we increased our knowledge. That is a welcomed step. We are confident we can work with clients to develop innovative flood products that work for everyone — especially consumers who will benefit from private-market involvement.
We developed our comfort level by opening our minds and thinking about the future, and we evolved after exploring built-in biases. Together with clients, we found a creative and fair rating and business plan. To me, it's been fun to watch the maturation process.
While we embark on flood, it's important to remember that great ideas still hit roadblocks. The key is listening and educating, with the goal of understanding what stands in the way of a better way. And then acting quickly.