INSIGHT: Virtual Underwriting at Lloyd’s - build it and they will come
The race is on to find solutions that support the virtual underwriting push at Lloyd’s, says Dialogue founder Ben Heaney.
In September, the physical Lloyd’s market plans to reopen, albeit at 45% of normal physical capacity. At the same time, a virtual underwriting room is also planned - an online environment that will “combine the best features of One Lime Street with digital technology to create efficient, smart and collaborative ways of doing business,” according to Lloyd’s CEO John Neal.
It’s not clear on the timing of the launch of this virtual underwriting environment, but what is clear is that time is of the essence to ensure smooth and efficient operating conditions across the market. Ideas and systems are starting to emerge that could certainly support the effort.
The market is innovating
Most recently, Beazley stepped up with the launch of a booking system for virtual broker meetings to allow streamlined communications between broker and underwriter, and the sharing of relevant documents.
Another effort was pioneered by Dialogue in the form of our Box Hours solution, which we launched in December 2019. This independent platform was already in use pre-Covid by the majority of brokers and underwriters in the Credit / Political segment, to show brokers the underwriter availabilities all in one location, while also reducing the constant box hour emails.
Note - with an estimated seven million emails sent per year during box hours alone, the opportunity cost to the market is clearly significant!
Dialogue’s application could be easily adapted to help connect all participants - both remote and physical - as and when Lloyd’s opens up again. For instance the platform could be linked to Lloyd’s security pass system for a ‘live’ view of room usage.
We want to expand Box Hours successful independent launch to the whole of the Lloyd’s market, and we are open to working with any and all other similar systems that are being developed.
As we’ve seen, the impact of COVD-19 has made solving the issues around transacting syndicated business even more urgent.
Lloyd’s can and should remain a place where highly competent insurance professionals can have an open dialogue to negotiate and place complex risks, and the technology already exists to support high volumes of virtual negotiations and underwriting running in parallel with physical meetings.
And when brokers and underwriters do decide to meet in person (and are allowed to do so) the onus will be on the safe, efficient use of underwriter availability room and increasing valuable negotiating and underwriting time, rather than administration time.
Working together, we can solve this challenge for the market!
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