Global programmes help brokers to ensure compliance across complex international regulations, but is a single programme always the right option from a client’s perspective?
ACE multinational director Clive Hassett said the ability to develop global programmes is vital to a broker when dealing with the growing number of clients with offices or operations in more than one country.
ncreasing complexity of international and domestic regulation meant clients needed to be sure they were fully compliant - and having a global programme, with one party responsible for their compliance, would help achieve that.
“There is only going to be more regulation - we have to work with clients to mitigate that,” he said. In many instances, regulators did not have a full understanding of the insurance industry. He added: “When they don’t have a good understanding, we’re not going to get good regulation. Insurance needs to be more vocal.”
Hassett also said it was important for the insurer, broker and client to work together to design the right programme. For example, some geographic areas of a client’s business might be more central to its operations than others. This needed to be written into its programme so that, in the event of a claim, areas could be prioritised.
“There might be a critical territory that they can’t afford to lose. If so, you don’t want to find that out at the moment of the claim; you need to work with them from the bottom,” he said.
Risk manager Elaine Heyworth provided valuable client perspective on the day. A member of the Airmic committee, with experience managing risk at multinationals including Barclays and T Mobile, she challenged the notion that global programmes are always the right solution, and explained some of the difficulties clients face.
Chief is gathering all the data insurers and brokers require - and this isn’t made any easier by having a single programme, she said. “The renewal process started three months before the renewal every year - it was such a tedious exercise.” The client can introduce initiatives to smooth the way, she said, such as better centralised control of data throughout the year.
However, Heyworth queried the premise that global programmes saved time and money, saying that she had often seen instances where regional offices could have purchased insurance cheaper and better in their local market had they been allowed to by head office.
“For me, the next question is - prove to me that a global programme works,” she said. “That’s the question the broker will be facing from me.”
ACE regional manager Ian Fox said he was delighted that Manchester had been chosen as the host city for the clinic. He believed global programmes were a great opportunity for brokers operating in the local market - not just for their London counterparts.
“As we all know economic growth in the UK is expected to remain slow. However, some overseas markets are experiencing double-digit growth,” he said. “This creates good business opportunities for our clients and prospective clients to export and also to set up operations overseas.
“The North West is in a strong position internationally. Many global businesses are already controlled from the region. This means that we are right in the middle of this exciting sector. We can help these clients by managing their global risk and take that worry away from them, leaving their focus on profitable growth.”