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The insurance industry is open to being disrupted because its structures are inefficient, according to QBE European Operations chief executive Richard Pryce.

During a panel debate at Airmic yesterday about innovation Pryce said weak company structures meant that firms were struggling to deliver innovative products.

He said: “Relevance is key and when we look at this, relevance in innovation is not just about products we offer.

“Our structure is inefficient. There are things we need to do around product innovation but if we cannot do our basic products which are important and relevant and we cannot deliver those in an efficient manner we are open to disruption and we will and are being disrupted.”

XL Catlin executive vice-president Paul Jardine added: ”Disruption in our industry will absolutely happen in a short time-scale.”

He cited statistics which showed that the 56 insurance companies listed in the S&P 500 share index had an average age of 95 years.

“That’s pre-internet and it shows.We will see a revolution when it comes to distribution of standardised high volume low average value products from organisations like, Google, Apple and Amazon.”

JLT Group deputy chief executive Mark Drummond Brady said relationships between firms and their brokers and their insurers needed to be stronger so that they could understand the exposures better.