Willis Reveals Industry Megatrends at A.M. Best Conference
New York, NY, February 27, 2008 – Before more than 400 of the insurance industry’s leading executives, Tom Ealy, most recently Chief Operating Officer of the Willis North America unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, presented the Company’s review of the industry’s top megatrends at A.M. Best Company’s 15th Annual Review and Preview Conference in Naples, Florida.
Ealy, who was recently appointed Executive Vice President of Willis North America to lead the company’s growing Commercial and Consumer segments for both the U.S. and Canada, identified eight key trends that should be top-of-mind for the insurance industry:
- The nature of risk is changing and becoming more global – Powerful economic, technological, societal and ideological forces are making the world smaller and more risky.
- The need to embrace technology for productivity – In part, sustainable competitive advantage can only be won through technology which enables employees to work smarter and clients to receive services with built-in reliability, speed, simplicity, and transparency.
- A demand for differentiated value – The high quality vs. best cost tradeoff has been shattered; clients demand both today. At the same time, price is only an issue in the absence of value – clients increasingly demand contract certainty and that providers’ intellectual capital be put compellingly on display.
- The war for distribution – Both manufacturers and distributors of insurance products are clamoring to get as close as possible to insureds of all shapes and sizes. Innovative aggregator, collaborative network, and MGA models are being built to tap into new sources of distribution.
- The convergence of capital and insurance markets – Fueled by a combination of the availability of large pools of capital and more sophisticated risk modeling tools, structured financial solutions such as insurance-linked securities are becoming more prevalent.
- Regulatory intensity – Regulation has never been stronger or more complicated, with a two-tier system for agents and brokers. The UK Financial Services Authority’s national and principles-based approach to regulation can serve as a model for the United States.
- The imperative to attract and retain professional talent – Today’s workforce demands that agents/brokers and insurers do a much better job of attracting new talent to the industry and providing vibrant careers with an emphasis on continuous learning.
- Appreciation for the insurance industry - “Insurance is the DNA of capitalism,” says Willis Group Chairman and CEO, Joe Plumeri, a long-time champion of raising the insurance industry’s self-esteem. “Buildings and homes don’t get built, lives can’t be repaired, products aren’t made, food doesn’t get produced, and services can’t be delivered without it. Insurance is vital to the modern global economy, and navigating these megatrends will increasingly define our success in helping to propel it.”
Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 300 offices in some 100 countries, with a global team of approximately 16,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.