John Hurrell on smashing the barriers to innovation

Whenever insurers and risk managers come together, you can be sure the subject of innovation will crop up. So where are the new insurance products?

At the recent Airmic conference, we heard about barriers to innovation: antitrust laws; poor communication between brokers, underwriters and buyers; people’s egos; lack of will; the distraction of Solvency II; and the fact that you can market a new product only for a rival to copy it the next day. Turning to risk managers: how willing are they in practice to change their buying patterns?

Most people believe that intangible risks are the most promising area for innovation, with cyber risk arguably top of the list. Innovation requires a willingness to invest time, money and commitment. There is genuine demand from clients and a new willingness from the market to deliver. The coming year could be very interesting.

John Hurrell is chief executive of Airmic.