US insurers face a unique set of challenges as they consider their growth strategies. Tom Hettinger of Guy Carpenter explains his company’s innovative tool GC Mosaic which helps clients make better growth decisions based on analytics and real data, to Intelligent Insurer.
In an increasingly complex and competitive landscape for US insurers, buffeted by changes in distribution, technology and regulation as fresh competition and capacity enter the market, it will be those companies that embrace innovation and utilise all available tools that ultimately succeed.
"It is very user-friendly and interactive-based very much on the same technology we use on our phones every day."
That is especially true when it comes to plotting and executing a growth strategy, according to Tom Hettinger, head of Guy Carpenter’s US Strategic Advisory practice. He believes it will be those firms willing to innovate that stay at the cutting edge and Guy Carpenter is increasingly fulfilling the role of innovator as it strives to help clients grow sustainably.
“That is the bigger picture for us,” Hettinger says. “It is about helping our clients achieve profitable growth. We work with clients across the board to help them remain relevant in the marketplace by offering them a range of tools and solutions to help them.
“If growth was easy and risk-free, everyone would do it and do it well. But it is not easy and that is where some of our tools and expertise can help.”
Hettinger’s team leads Guy Carpenter’s GC Mosaic, a web-based platform that provides clients with a number of flexible dashboards to help them perform multi-faceted, sophisticated analysis on market, distribution and macroeconomic factors, empowering them to evaluate opportunities and develop and execute growth strategies.
How it works
The platform is based around information mined from a regularly updated database that includes publicly available information as well as licensed proprietary data, and analyses.
GC Mosaic is exclusively accessible on the GC Edge platform, which provides Guy Carpenter clients a central and secure access point for Mosaic and other interactive web applications. There are seven primary dashboards for clients to navigate (see box).
“GC Mosaic pulls together a lot of detail on a simple and user-friendly platform,” Hettinger explains.
“We have been developing and refining it with the help of a group of Beta partners for around two years, to ensure it is relevant and helpful to a wide variety of our clients who wish to use the tool in different ways.
“GC Mosaic offers carriers a range of different views on the marketplace and on their own business, so they can understand the market environment from a number of different angles.
“The emergence of new insurable risks, innovative sources of data and analytics tools, and a changing distribution environment provide carriers with unprecedented opportunities for profitable growth.
“Against this evolving backdrop, carriers also face new sources of competition and shifting regulatory and rating agency requirements, which lead to many companies struggling to decide how to capitalise on these opportunities.
“Companies know that decisions need to be data-driven and efficiently researched, yet executed in a timely manner in order to take advantage of current market trends.”
As Hettinger notes, even the largest insurers face difficulties in finding the correct resources to put to work on such a strategy.
“No matter the size of an organisation, there may be resource limitations and competing priorities and deadlines that make gathering the data required to research and pursue new opportunities onerous.
“If a company is looking to expand into a new vertical or specialty, they may be limited in terms of in-house expertise in the new area,” he says.
Hettinger says every type of client, from a one-state mutual or regional player to national insurers, can make use of GC Mosaic. It allows them to make better informed, analytical decisions to help them achieve growth and build a more profitable business in the process.
“This intersects with their reinsurance programme, in terms of negotiating better terms based on positive characteristics of their book and by working with reinsurers as partners on that growth strategy,” he adds.
GC Mosaic can be used in multiple ways to provide insight into growth that is meaningful for an insurer. It can help them establish new business, market size and distribution potential in a certain state or in certain lines of business across multiple states.
Hettinger stresses that the user selects the type of information it wishes to use and the sort of analysis it wishes to perform.
Different practitioners from different parts of an insurer will have different goals and desires. For instance, we have a lot of discussions around how it can be used to help clients execute on optimisation work around their portfolios,” he says.
“That could mean a deep dive into territories or lines of business for an underwriter interested in market size on certain lines of business or target class of insured. It could mean working with actuaries who want to explore nuances in different lines of business in different states, or product managers who need to review very specific information around consumer trends, competition, and legal and regulatory environment.
“It could mean working with business development or marketing departments to build a wider strategy for growth, or looking at agency concentration in certain areas. The beauty of the tool is the flexibility that allows it to be used in a bespoke way, depending on the aims and objectives of the client it can be used across the board on every aspect of an insurer.”
He notes that every insurer faces different challenges and has different strategies for growth, and this must be built around its own unique risk tolerance and appetite for different types of business.
“The key thing to understand is that with any form of growth comes challenges. This tool has the capability to start at a very high level, but it can also go down to individual lines of business and risks.
“We want our clients to have the tools on hand to help them make better decisions. We have worked with a lot of companies very successfully where we have been able to bring new ideas to the table and blend those with the strategies of clients to establish the best way forward for profitable growth.”
Hettinger says the huge strides the industry and the wider world has made in recent years in terms of the availability of data, the modelling of different risks, and advances and innovations in technology have facilitated the creation of tools such as GC Mosaic. Its biggest advantage, however, is how easy it is to use. “It is very user-friendly and interactive based very much on the same technology we use on our phones every day,” he says.
He adds that despite the many challenges facing insurers, there are several opportunities for growth for companies with the correct strategy.
“Whether you are at the bottom of the cycle or in a rising market, if you have the people with the right skills using the best possible technology and analytics to make considered analytical decisions, profitable growth is achievable.”
Tom Hettinger is managing director and strategic advisory leader at Guy Carpenter. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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