By: Thys Nieuwoudt, Head Southern Africa, Swiss Re
Reinsurance used to be about capacity: we insure the insurers. We used to be a small club of strongly capitalised companies with settled long term business, established processes and reliable networks.
We played a crucial but relatively comfortable risk management role in a robust financial system. It was a cosy world. Innovation happened at its own pace. While some of us may have dabbled in product development, in general we left the end-consumer to our insurance clients and focused on underwriting, catastrophe modelling or maximising the risk-return trade-off.
But that was then and this is now – Reinsurers have become part of a brave new world via a convergence of competitive and macroeconomic pressure – but most importantly, we are being challenged by the needs of a primary insurer who is constantly looking for competitive advantage, and who expects the reinsurer to do more than just play catch up.