'We can now insure risks that were previously uninsurable'

'We can now insure risks that were previously uninsurable'
L to R: Jason Richards, country president and chief executive UK & Ireland, speaking with Pravina Ladva and Ian Haycock

Data and technology advancements mean the insurance industry can potentially insure the "uninsurable", a senior technology and operations specialist has stated. 

Speaking at a Swiss Re seminar yesterday (June 14), the group chief digital and and technology officer for Swiss Re, Pravina Ladva, said data and technology was "disrupting" the insurance sector for the better.

Outlining three ways in which it was doing so, Ladva said business models were witnessing a core shift in terms of what insurers could now underwrite, compared with even a few years ago.

She told attendees at the event: "We can now insure risks that were previously uninsurable."

As a result of advances, insurers have gone from 'repair' styles of insurance to 'prepare and protect', Ladva said.

"Advances in technology allow us to insure critical risks", she said, giving as an example potentially being able to insure properties on coastal areas, which would have once been considered too high risk to protect. 

This could also lead into the health protection space, with health risks becoming more quantifiable and predictable, potentially leading to more "predictive, flexible and forward-looking models that can operate at speed", Ladva added.

Increasing automation can also help augment existing processes, such as claims underwriting, to deliver a better end consumer experience, she argued.

Sharing the podium with her, Ian Haycock, group chief data officer for Swiss Re, praised the insurance industry for being at the forefront of technological change over the past few years. 

"Insurers have been investing heavily. It has always been a data-led business", he said, "but what's new is the volume of data that we can handle.

"Moreover, we are not just witnessing a shift in tech but also a fundamental shift in mindset".

For Haycock, this means companies are now paying more attention to how they use data, how they gather and collate it and how it is analysed.

This is a big challenge, he said, adding: "A lot of data is inaccessible. It needs to be available and trusted."

He highlighted work done by Swiss Re since joining the Lloyds Lab a few weeks ago, aiming to find a way to collect and analyse data for environmental, social and governance risks.

According to Lloyds of London, the team will be working in the Lab as a space to develop a clickable prototype to collect and view private companies' data, relevant to agreed ESG metrics.