The Role of Digitalization and Its Impact on Business Growth

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1- What is your assessment of the negative effects of the Covid -19 crisis on the insurance brokerage sector? How were you able to confront the challenges associated with the spread of the new Corona virus?

The past year undoubtedly brought many challenges to all sectors around the world, including the insurance sector. Perhaps the most prominent challenge the sector faced, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, is increasing supply above the level of demand. As a result, we witnessed the exit of a number of prestigious names from the competition in the regional market, due to pricing pressures and the inability to keep up with new market conditions.

The Role of Digitalization and Its Impact on Business Growth

The Covid-19 crisis has increased these pressures on profit margins and renewals, and has also affected new contracts that are already suffering from great pressure. The crisis also caused a decrease in total premiums, as closures led to extensive cost-cutting measures, which sometimes amounted to reducing the volume of business.

Thanks to its extensive experience spanning more than 65 years, and its extensive knowledge of the local market, ACE was able to successfully deal with the consequences of this new situation.

Our move away from meeting customers in person as a result of the closure procedures was one of the most prominent negative effects, but we succeeded, thanks to the efficiency of our information technology teams, in reaching our customers and helping them through virtual channels without any impact on the quality levels of the services we provide to them. The company has clear and specific plans to deal with various circumstances, including a clear plan for job rotation, which ensures that customers receive the highest levels of service, even if no team member is able to communicate with the customer for any circumstance, as other team members take over. Responding to client requirements. Alongside this, the company has placed a significant emphasis on management meetings, which has allowed it to remain focused on customer retention and business growth in these difficult times.

Although this crisis has advantages, the most important of them is that it pushes companies and institutions to empower employees more broadly. Empowering employees has always been at the core of our attention and focus, but the crisis allowed us to increase training programs, which contributed to enhancing communication and ensuring compliance with all regulatory regulations by all teams.

2- What are the most important challenges you are currently facing?

In addition to the main challenge of declining gross premiums, we are currently facing another challenge in the form of travel restrictions, which limits the business from growing aggressively and exploring new markets. Despite the technical progress that has made videoconferencing and communication easier than ever before, face-to-face personal interaction - especially in our sector - remains extremely important.

The stability and reassurance of employees represents another challenge, as the current crisis affects people in different ways. We have invited the Human Resources Department to check on the condition of our team members in the region to ensure their health and well-being.

There are also constant changes in regulations and regulatory affairs, which requires continuous training and ensuring that our teams are aware of the latest regulatory changes even before they come into effect.

As we deal with the challenges of the past twelve months, we have reviewed our procedures to maintain flexibility and continue to provide the highest standards of quality to our customers, which has helped us to clearly consider our company’s position within the market, and to think about potential development areas so that we are ready to face any challenges that may come our way in the future. .

3- Digital platforms have played a vital role in business continuity within various sectors during the past period. Do you expect the need for intermediaries to decrease and reliance on digital solutions to increase?

Organizations that embrace digital transformation enhance their prospects for success, as keeping up with this revolution has become the basic condition for continuing to compete in the market. There is no doubt that digital transformation will enhance efficiency and help reduce costs. New technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, allow for deeper analysis of data, which thus results in the ability to provide products designed to meet the customer’s requirements with high accuracy, and even exceed the limits of his expectations. Digital transformation will, over time, help reset and keep pace with excellent solutions and products in real time, providing real added value to customers.

In addition, blockchain and insurtech solutions already have the potential to improve risk awareness, reduce the time it takes to resolve legal disputes and enhance compliance. However, technology cannot be adopted in isolation from product innovation and continuous investment in human capital, to enable employees to help grow the company's business.

While technological advances will enhance the capabilities of all business lines within the insurance sector, including underwriting, risk assessment and reinsurance, human interaction remains a critical element in the sector. For a sector that still suffers from trust issues, achieving the right balance between digital and human workload remains key.

At ACE, we are continuing our digital transformation process, but at the same time we are keen to develop the competencies of the workforce by offering training opportunities and equipping them with the best global practices, which allows us to gain a competitive advantage within the markets in which we are active.

4- What are the latest developments in your company? What are the potential growth opportunities?

The Covid-19 crisis has added a new challenge that we did not expect to the already challenging business landscape in the insurance sector. However, this crisis has given us an opportunity to evaluate our operations across all our regional offices, and we have worked closely with governments and regulators to ensure that our business is compliant with changing regulations as soon as they are implemented, and sometimes before they come into effect.

We also took the opportunity to focus on specialized business lines to meet market demand for directors' and executives' liability insurance and cyber insurance in response to the spread of the virus.

We have also identified diversification and investment in human capital as areas that contribute to the growth of our business, in line with our mission of providing personalized services to our clients.

There is still a perception across the region that insurance is a cost-based product, but in an era of increasing cybersecurity risks, we have an opportunity to change this perception by focusing more on risk assessment and management.