Appointed last month, Victor International president Anthony Stevens has a clear view that staff with a background in technology and data analytics will be the future of the group

If anyone was in any doubt about the direction of the insurance industry, look no further than the appointment of Victor International’s new president last month.

Because in Anthony Stevens, a man who started out in the 1990s as a software developer in Japan, the Marsh-owned group which professes to be the largest Managing General Agency (MGA) in the world, has set its stall out.

“I’m passionate that technology and data analytics is going to transform the industry,” Stevens tells Insurance Times. “Pretty much everything I’ve done in financial services has had that angle to it over the 25 years I’ve worked in the industry.


Anthony Stevens, Victor International president

“So, for me that’s got to be at the heart of our strategy going forward, there’s no two ways about it.”

His clarity of direction after only a month in the job is testament to the role new technology has already played in transforming the industry.

But Stevens says what’s happened so far is only the beginning, and sees the pace of change becoming much more rapid in the next few years.

“It’s going to be impossible to be an underwriter in five years’ time unless you have a deep understanding of analytics and use of data,” he says.


As he takes the top job for the international division, giving him authority over the UK and continental Europe Victor businesses, he is looking to make hires. One of the key things he wants is staff with a background in technology and data analytics.

“Whatever role you’re coming into, whether it’s a distribution role, an operations role or an underwriting role, technology is clearly going to be very important,” he said.

Before taking up his new role, Stevens was at parent company Marsh – most recently as head of international development, and between 2014 and 2017 as chief data officer.

As president of Victor International he has new authority on which business lines to focus on, and, true to his roots, says it will be those lines where disruption and technological transformation are driving competitive advantages.

“That’s the principle that underlies how we prioritise which product areas we build out, where our risk appetite is,” Stevens says. “Products where that’s going to be less significant are probably not going to be as high a priority for us to enter because we see technology to be at the forefront of where the value chain is heading in insurance.”

He highlighted transportation and logistics-related lines as areas that could experience serious disruption in the coming years, principally through advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Specialty lines, he said, was in the midst of a data-led transformation, while in professional lines he said opportunities were being created through the open government initiative. This, he said, was improving the ability of all industry players to auto-underwrite.

“Data and technology is transforming every line of business in insurance and no line is going to be unaffected by this in the next 5-10 years,” he added. “The question for us is around timing, sequencing and prioritisation, rather than a black and white ‘is it being affected or not’.”

The group is currently integrating Gcube Underwriting following Marsh’s acquisition of JLT, and Stevens said this would give Victor a new expertise in the renewable energy sector.

UK growth

The UK business is relatively small compared with other divisions in the group, particularly the North American side of the business. But Stevens said on a technology front the UK is ahead of most other countries, including the US. He said the benefit of being a global player was that all parts of the business could benefit from foreign expertise.

Stevens said: “The UK market is one where we’ll be taking some of the lessons about how it has developed and seeing how that might be applied to other markets.

“But the cross-fertilisation goes in both directions. There’s clearly enormous value in having that global footprint because it does allow you to share best practices, to pool investment and resources where that’s appropriate.”

Key to growing the UK arm further, he said, would be improving how the business works with brokers. He believes distribution is ready for disruption, as technology improves the experience of the broker, carrier, and insured.

On top of this though, he is eyeing new product lines for the UK market.

“We need to take stock of where we are in the UK right now,” he said. “We need to broaden the areas where we have deep product expertise and underwriting capability. Now we’re focused on five main sub-segments, so we need to add some more to that.

“We’re largely focused on the small commercial areas, but there’s a lot of opportunity to build out additional product capabilities.”

Lines ripe for disruption are his priority, and with promised investment to put the group at the cutting edge of technology, this is an appointment that rivals will take note of, upping the ever-increasing pace of technological development.