COMMENT: Digital transformation must be a priority for CROs

Published in: Risk management, Corporate strategy, Reinsurance, UK, Rest of Europe, US - Canada - Bermuda, ROW, Software - IT, Covid-19

Companies: Munich Re Automation Solutions

Paul Donnelly, executive vice president for the Emea region at Munich Re Automation Solutions, a technology subsidiary of Munich Re, says insurance CROs must take more ownership of digital transformation

When an insurance CRO attends a meeting with senior management to discuss digitisation, they will note the enthusiasm to serve customers faster, close the expectation gap and minimise the amount of business not taken up.

They might also hear about improving their competitive position against existing or emerging competitors. It might be about nothing short of transforming the entire business. On the surface, the CRO can leave these topics to colleagues.

Do you recognise yourself here?

The CRO’s responsibility is to bring an alternative perspective and view matters through a different lens. Any CRO who leaves the meeting thinking “that’s interesting… let me know how you get on…” is neglecting their duty.

To paraphrase the breakfast business fable: the CRO in this process is like the pig, committed – not the chicken who has a mere passing interest. To demonstrate such commitment, there are various factors a CRO can consider.

By adopting a modern digital service for the new business or client acquisition process, an insurance company automatically gains a detailed insight into the metrics of their business the CRO never previously had.

Currently, a CRO’s natural instinct is to rely on tried and tested risk mitigation procedures. Given how effective they’ve been, the “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mindset is unsurprising.

However, as modern technology advances, they will no longer have the luxury of time, and previous strategies will not be enough.

Take the current example of the pandemic times we live in. Savvy, well-equipped, life insurers were able to rapidly introduce new underwriting rules in response to the unfolding Covid-19 threat.

As a result, these rules postponed new applicants for short periods based on recent travel or current symptoms, until the period of maximum uncertainty had passed.

Overall, the CRO must have oversight of the potential threats and opportunities of the move to digital to avoid sleepwalking their organisation into an uncertain future.

Have your say

Do you agree with Paul Donnelly? Are CROs taking enough ownership of digital transformation?

Or is this an area that should be owned by the chief executive or the head of IT or head of transformation at insurers? What do CROs want from digital transformation?

Have your say and let InsuranceERM know. Email: [email protected]