Insight


Service and Special Risks

Insight, Perspectives

When complex risks are present, it takes true expertise and the right tools to deliver good value. An interview with Maurizio Castelli, Country Manager of XL Group’s insurance operation in Italy:

What are your challenges as the country manager in Italy of a young multinational company like XL Group?

The biggest challenge, but also the opportunity, is making sure clients and brokers understand our unique selling proposition and therefore perceive us as the insurance company of choice when it comes to complex and multinational risks. In Italy, as in many other relatively mature insurance markets, there are local players which represent tough competition particularly for “commoditized” insurance. However, when it comes to more complex risks, for example, as soon as you add the international component or you move to complex or special classes of risks, the unique expertise of an insurer like XL Group comes into play. Nevertheless we permanently need to make sure that this is perceived by our existing and potential business partners; therefore, we are always looking to be visible in the market, speaking with local brokers who are our main distribution channel, and demonstrating to them why they can offer better service to their clients by using an insurance company which is solely focused on commercial and special risks. They also need to recognize that we do more than just issue a policy. We offer a truly global network, technical underwriting and also deliver first-class service in terms of administration, risk engineering services, and claims management based on an award-winning global tool, XL Global Claim.

It’s always challenging to compete on selling propositions instead of pure price. As a former Risk Manager I’m convinced that now, more than ever, it is important to focus on high-quality service and long term partnerships such as those XL Group offers its clients and brokers.

How do you see the future of XL Group in Italy? What is your strategy on the local markets?

I see a bright future for XL Group in Italy. Four years ago we entered a new market segment and launched our offer for Middle Market – which includes all companies with a turnover between 30 and 300 million Euros. In this segment there are plenty of companies in Italy and many of them became or are in the process of becoming small multinational companies. Multinationals are for us a preferred target, since as I already mentioned we have more competitive leverage with these types of companies as compared with traditional local competitors. In fact, XL Group has the advantage of offering these small multinationals, which often are still developing their risk management expertise, a global network and expertise combined with local know-how. As a result in these 4 years we have built a sizable and also sustainable Middle Market portfolio and there is still much more room to grow. At the same time we have also launched lines which we did not previously offer in Italy, such as Professional (D&O and Professional Liability), Construction, Fine Art and Specie, and Product Recall. We’ve also reinforced our “traditional” presence in the Property, Casualty, Marine, and Environmental lines and have strengthened our local team to continue offering a first-class service, particularly in technical administration of global programs and in claims handling.

With the great team we built and the expertise and product range we can offer, I truly think we are perfectly placed to be the company the market will more and more look to for insurance solutions to its most complex risks, and therefore helping Italy move forward

This article was published in FullCover


José Manuel Fonseca continues to lead BrokersLink as the association transforms into a Global Broker

Activities, Insight

During its 5th annual conference in Singapore, BrokersLink announced it was changing its constitution from a not-for-profit association to a Zurich-based for-profit global broking company in early 2014. This will accelerate growth and enable BrokersLink to invest in enhanced multi-national client support capabilities.

In addition to creating a platform for multi-national client focused revenue generation and growth, the new company structure will enable BrokersLink to invest in dedicated and centralised management resource, marketing and branding.

Capital needed to create the company comes from five shareholders – the five members of the board – such is their confidence in the company’s success.

Commenting on developments announced at the conference, José Fonseca, president of MDS Group and re-elected chairman of BrokersLink said: “Over the past ten years BrokersLink has successfully delivered a real alternative to the big four brokers for multi-national clients looking for protection and the underwriters who are keen to insure them, but we still need to expand geographically to support our transformation into a true global broker.  By adding broker members based in Israel, Africa, Scandinavia and Puerto Rico, we can now open up considerable opportunities within these regions.

“New business focused global brokers such as BrokersLink also require a full complement of support services and resources within their arsenal. We believe access to the additional specialists announced today will enable our members to match, and in many cases exceed, the range on offer by their rivals.”


2013 Brokerslink Conference: Brokerslink transforms for growth and welcomes seven new members

Activities, Insight

Broker group BrokersLink has announced it is ending its not-for-profit status as it forms its own company. The international broking group has also added seven new members.

The idea is to help accelerate growth and invest in enhanced multi-national client support capabilities

At its Annual General Meeting held in Singapore, BrokersLink members formally approved the transformation to a Swiss domiciled company and the closure of the existing association in early 2014. The initial capital of $0.5m will be provided by MDS, Crystal & Company, Filhet-Allard, Nova and Cooper Gay. BrokersLink hopes to raise another $2.5m from members, with a revenue sharing scheme with the company as new business is won.

In addition to creating a platform for revenue generation and growth, the company structure will enable BrokersLink to invest in dedicated and centralised management resource, marketing and branding. A new website, www.brokerslink.com and logo were unveiled at the conference to mark the first stage in the development of the new company.

Speaking at the BrokersLink Global Conference in Singapore , which has over 200 delegates from 45 countries, José Fonseca, chairman of BrokersLink, said: “The formation of a BrokersLink company is one of the most important strategic milestones in the history of the network and will transform us into a truly global broker. While we have grown to 70 members in almost 100 countries working from 300 offices globally and managing premium volumes in excess of $14bn without direct investment, the ability to attract capital and generate our own revenue will help us to drive growth in existing markets and enter new ones much faster.”

Meanwhile, BrokersLink has added the following new brokers to the group: Christiansen Insurance, which is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the oldest broker in Finland, IIZI Firstbrokers with subsidiaries in Estonia and Latvia; MDS Angola, an insurance broker based in Luanda, Angola providing global insurance, reinsurance and risk management consulting services across Africa; PensionCapital, an owner-managed consultancy and broker for employee benefits, based in Germany ; and Toren, one of the leading insurance agencies in Israel.

In addition specialists American Appraisal, a major global valuation consulting firm American Appraisal and WEBCBG, a technology and marketing development firm based in New York have joined as members to provide support to the group.

Fonseca commented: “By adding broker members based in Israel, Africa, Scandinavia and Puerto Rico, we can now open up considerable opportunities within these regions. New business focused global brokers such as BrokersLink also require a full complement of support services and resources within their arsenal. We believe access to the additional specialists announced today will enable our members to match, and in many cases exceed, the range on offer by their rivals.”

Original source Insurance Insight. Click here to view the full article.