Innovation is the word of the day
Chris Price, Global Head of Travel for SiriusPoint, spoke to Mandy Langfield about the future of the industry, from investment in technology, to climate change concerns and the importance of diversity in the market
Could you share a bit of background to your career in terms of how you’ve progressed to your current role?
I began my career as a bloodstock shipping agent, which involved organising the transport of horses (usually by air) all over the world, for sale/auctions, competition, and breeding. It was an exciting job, and involved a lot of travel, but it was tough to make money, so I moved into bloodstock/equine insurance and then general animal health insurance. Finally, I moved across into travel insurance, a product that particularly interested me, and worked for several large global corporate insurers, before joining SiriusPoint earlier this year.
What have you learned from each of your previous roles that you’ve brought with you to SiriusPoint, and how will these points enable you to move the company’s travel offering forward?
In large companies, it’s easy for product strategy and initiatives to lose their way. So, it is important to get the most senior stakeholder buy in possible and keep progress against the objectives highly visible. Stay on message, remembering that it is inevitable that company priorities change over time.
Our ambition for our Travel business is to drive the careful growth and profitability of both insurance and reinsurance and the associated services revenue stream
Could you share any plans of how you plan to develop SiriusPoint’s role in the global travel insurance market?
Our Accident & Health business, which includes Travel, is a key part of SiriusPoint’s corporate strategy and an important part of the growth aspirations for our insurance and services segment. We aim to grow geographically including in the US and Australia, and through the efforts of some of our subsidiary companies, we are also significantly growing our service revenue and facilities, thus owning more of the overall insurance value chain.
My role is to support the company in its transformation to a new kind of insurance company. From a Travel-specific standpoint, that means making sure that the products we offer are easy to understand, relevant to customer needs, with the necessary amount of tech being deployed to ensure easy access and use. To get to this position, we are working to increasingly integrate the Travel propositions we currently have as well as those we want to develop. Our ambition for our Travel business is to drive the careful growth and profitability of both insurance and reinsurance and the associated services revenue stream.
What makes SiriusPoint’s offering different to other companies operating in the market at the moment?
One of the frustrations I previously found in working for very large insurers is the difficulty in accessing their assorted insurance services in a consistent way. Under a single global management structure, SiriusPoint can provide a variety of insurance solutions for clients, including insurance and/or reinsurance into the companies' market or Lloyd’s. Whilst some other companies may argue this exists for their Property & Casualty divisions, it is rare to find this within Accident & Health, let alone Travel.
SiriusPoint via two of its subsidiary companies, International Medical Group (IMG) and AkesoCare, can also provide a full in-house servicing suite for Travel – covering sales, service, claims management, 24/7 assistance and cost containment.
How is technology changing what the company is doing and how it’s connecting more effectively with clients around the world?
Technology is advancing at a rapid rate. It’s allowing us, and key partners of our business such as IMG, to connect with clients around the world in real time. Two examples over the last few years are the evolution of travel ‘pay as you roam’ (PAYR) functionality and parametric insurance.
PAYR products use your phone’s geolocation functionality to detect where you are and switches on your insurance as you enter another country, and then switches off when you arrive home.
Once set up and activated, parametric insurance provides a facility for paying claims automatically without the need for the policyholder to make a claim, triggered by, for example, a delayed or missed flight.
Both these products utilise the increasing wealth of digital real time information and are designed to make travellers’ lives easier.
Sustainability is not just about being ‘green’, it is about doing the right thing, having the right attitude and caring about people and the planet
While the world worries about climate change, there is a fair amount of corporate greenwash about sustainability as well; what is SiriusPoint doing about becoming a more sustainable company?
Sustainability is not just about being ‘green’, it is about doing the right thing, having the right attitude and caring about people and the planet. We tend to talk more about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Incorporating ESG into underwriting, risk management practices and investments is no longer aspirational or even optional – it has become essential to running a sustainable business of the future.
At SiriusPoint, we have made ESG a continuous priority for our business and embedded its principles throughout our company. ESG is a board-level responsibility and is spearheaded by Rachael Dugan, our Chief Legal Officer and Chair of the ESG Committee. Our work applies not only to the actions taken by the C-suite, but also allowing the board to oversee management, focus, and execution on our ESG commitments. We have also incorporated ESG and climate risk factors into all our underwriting guidelines, and into our investments process.