"I never thought I'd end up working in reinsurance" - everyone working in reinsurance.
Well, what is reinsurance? And how did I end up here?
When people ask I give them the standard response of “it’s insurance for insurance companies”.
Until you get into the specifics of CAT XOLs, exposure profiles, and not to mention the ceaseless rows of data crammed into messy spreadsheets.
I’ve learned to avoid going more than one layer deep with non-practitioners or I don’t get invited to their next party.
The furthest I go now is to tell them that reinsurance ensures that no insurance company has too much exposure to a particularly large event or disaster.
A problem shared is a problem halved - it’s same with risk.
Having been immersed in the reinsurance industry for nearly a year, there’s definitely an unspoken air of elitism that sets reinsurance practitioners aside from the practitioners in insurance - or so I’m sure we'd like to think!
This could be attributed to the fact that diaries are filled with mid-week lunches and post-work drinks at swanky restaurants and bars.
But beneath the lively social events you begin to see what sets reinsurance apart from other industries; the relationships, sense of camaraderie, and community are unparalleled.
Cedents, brokers and underwriters work through countless years of late Christmas nights and New Year’s Eves in the office, frantically trying to get signings acknowledged while trying to remain calm in the face of overwritten lines.
This hard work, year-on-year, creates a powerful sense of togetherness.
Discussing how busy we all are in the run up to renewals, then catching up with friends afterwards to chat about how the season went.
It appears reinsurance practitioners have figured out a near-perfect work to party ratio, with healthy measures of both.
I mentioned renewals above, that’s one difference I’ve found particularly interesting - the specificity of reinsurance renewal dates.
1/1, 1/4, 1/6, 1/7, are infamous numbers within reinsurance (or 4/1, 6/1, 7/1 if you’re in the US - January 1st being the only one totally immune to date format mishaps).
The reason the majority of reinsurance renewals happen on these dates is due to a few factors, mainly because reinsurers like to be able to balance their exposure at one time but also because of historical traditions and calm periods in extreme weather events.
I find it interesting and you can see why my social life (outside of the industry) is suffering.
If only I could reinsure my social clout.
One notable weakness of the reinsurance industry is the technology.
Supercede's master marketeer joined from a B2B technology background and was flabbergasted at the lack of reinsurance innovation, especially given our industry’s illustrious history as the ultimate enabler, allowing commerce and civilisation to march forwards.
Unfortunately, companies operating within reinsurance - the cedents, brokers, and underwriters - are stuck using outdated, inefficient tech that buries our brilliantly minded practitioners under a mountain of manual admin.
Manual admin that’s completely avoidable - just because you’re busy does not mean you’re productive.
And in reinsurance, manual spreadsheet work, back-and-forth emails, and constantly searching for data errors are preventing brilliant people from doing brilliant work.
I’m sure Barcelona don’t have Lionel Messi clearing out the changing rooms after he’s done scoring goals on the pitch.
From my experience it seems that subpar data is a common and accepted problem within the industry, with reinsurers having to load their reinsurance programmes for uncertainty every year, just to account for bad data.You might be thinking ‘why can’t the reinsurance industry utilise existing insurance solutions?’
This has been tried countless times, never successfully.
Existing solutions simply aren't appropriate for reinsurance, they’re unable to handle the complexities and nuances contained within reinsurance deals.
Plain flour is great for making delicious brownies and biscuits but if I were to use plain flour for all my baking creations I'd end up with rock-hard scones and sunken sponges.
The insurtech solutions currently available to manage data are ineffectual to propel the industry forward, it desperately needs innovation in reinsurtech.
And practitioners are well aware; constantly battling with other departments to get the relevant data all in one place, scrolling through last year’s inbox to check whether they’d agreed to take the maximum limits or sum them, or finding a missing stacked policy; the list of complaints is endless.
It’s not that reinsurance practitioners enjoy using outdated, unsuitable systems.
It’s the accepted status quo which we’re fighting to fix.
We understand the risk-reward component that every decision-maker wrestles with, and when managing a busy ceded re department the last thing you want is another job added to your long to-do list (i.e. getting your team onto another system to help manage your workload).
Up until now you may have been right to carry on as usual.
Up until now.
The huge leaps in reinsurtech innovation have tipped the risk-reward ratio overwhelmingly to reward.
Saving up to 85% in the internal time collating and validating risk information are efficiency gains too big to ignore.
Companies failing to innovate risk falling behind, both in terms of operating efficiency and in attracting young talent who expect more than legacy technology from leading companies.
If only there was a company solely dedicated to solving the biggest problems at the heart of an industry.
<Supercede is the world’s leading reinsurtech because it’s run by ex-practitioners who are completely focused on making a positive change to the reinsurance industry.
Collectively we’ve got decades of industry experience and know exactly where the pain points are - we’ve felt them personally!
My colleagues are such industry nerds they even started a podcast about reinsurance.
And it’s actually really good.
Being part of a reinsurance-loving company, it’s inspiring work to make the best parts of the industry even better, and diminishing the most complaint-inducing parts has been a great experience so far.
We’re on a journey to help bring better tools to practitioners and have a real impact on the reinsurance community.
So, if you’ve read this and are interested knowing more about our revolutionary reinsurtech, check out our website or LinkedIn - our reinsurance meme game is unrivalled.
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