Susan Fallon, global head of commercial property at Zurich
22 May 2019Insurance

Zurich: the future is closer than you think

Technology is being used in increasingly flexible ways to create the insurance products needed by the modern world.

Susan Fallon, global head of commercial property at Zurich, said the insurer was constantly looking at how technology is dramatically changing clients' insurance needs, in her closing keynote speech at the Intelligent Automation event in London yesterday (Tuesday, May 21).

She advised that cyber and technology risks are always evolving. Fallon highlighted a food delivery company which had set up a state-of-the-art site using automated robots. However, when the site had a major fire, the company faced severe disruption to their business model. This incident highlighted the emerging risk of robotic automation and the different risks it creates for insurers.

Even with the best new technology design, customers can face significant interruption to their business from evolving risk. To manage this, Zurich has been developing underwriting solutions for emerging risk exposure to support customers in their business objectives.

Fallon said that 20 years ago the way insurers designed and manufactured insurance products was very different – they did it themselves largely. Computers were used on the side lines. However, today there’s a different approach as companies like Zurich use insurtech and build partnerships to complement the insurer’s own intellectual property to create services and products that meet customer needs.

Zurich is currently looking at cognitive computing, robotics, process automation, application programme interfaces, which in many cases are developed in partnership with others in the market. Partnership working is viewed as a "positive benefit for the customer".

Fallon stressed that there is an "absolute ocean of data out there" which is difficult to read, let alone analyse. However, real-time analytics that can crunch "raw, dirty, ugly data" are being created by insurtechs to enable more companies to access this deep well of resources.

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