Michael HAAS, Head Client Management L&H ACEE, Swiss Re - Claudia SZWILLUS, Underwriting Manager L&H CEE, Swiss Re

11 January 2022 — Daniela GHETU
Michael HAAS, Head Client Management L&H ACEE, Swiss Re - Claudia SZWILLUS, Underwriting Manager L&H CEE, Swiss Re
XPRIMM: Swiss Re has once again proven its commitment to its clients in Russia. Tell us a bit about this new step in your long history in the Russian market.

Michael HAAS - Swiss Re has operated in Russia for at least 20 years.; Our investment in launching a Russian version of our underwriting philosophy rules engine Life Guide, the global #1 underwriting manual, is a good example of this commitment.

XPRIMM: Investing in adapting Life Guide to the Russian market seems indeed like a humongous effort. Why have you decided to take this step and invest resources to make this happen?

Claudia SZWILLUS - As underwriters, our job is to keep our eyes peeled and listen to the needs of our clients. Our Russian clients benefited from Life Guide to optimise their underwriting decisions, but the process was not seamless: the burden was on them to interpret the decision rules in English in a country where Russian is the dominant language. We've discussed with our clients and realised the huge benefit of having at least the most relevant Life Guide pages in Russian. We knew upfront this was not an easy task. We've assessed their primary needs based on usage and our cross-functional teams worked diligently to undertake this challenging task. Since 1 November 2021, our clients in Russia have been able to benefit from Life Guide's most relevant features in Russian. It's the only underwriting manual available in the local language in the market that's regularly updated.

XPRIMM: This kind of investment of time and effort to translate Life Guide into Russian does reflect Swiss Re's long-term approach. What are the key benefits that an adapted underwriting guide brings to insurers in Russia and their customers?

Claudia SZWILLUS - The translated version of Life Guide includes underwriting guidance on topics like back pain, asthma, hyperthyroidism, commercial aviation, merchant marine and the new cardiometabolic calculator (CMC) that is replacing the previous cardiovascular calculator. We expect all these features will help our clients expand their underwriting capabilities, underwrite with more confidence, faster and grow their business.

Moreover, we feel that by having a solid and holistic underwriting philosophy guide in the local language, Russian insurers are now well positioned to embark on their very own digital transformation.

XPRIMM: We hear a lot about digital transformation, improvement of customer experience and underwriting journey these days. Why is that important?

Michael HAAS - In most industries, technology advancements are leading - or have led to - an overhaul in the way business is conducted, if we look at how the Uber business model redefined the taxi business or how online shopping is now challenging the brick-and-mortar retail shopping business model by leveraging digital capabilities, apps and data analytics to understand what people want or don't. Re/insurance is no different. The heavily regulated environment does play a role in the pace of change, but it's just a matter of time until we see a complete overhaul of the system. And insurance businesses that have yet to get started in their digital journey, risk being left behind. Underwriting automation and the overall digitalisation process open growth avenues for insurers, allowing them to tap into new channels, onboard products faster, achieve efficiencies while enhancing the customer experience during the policy purchase, making it faster and more engaging, which, in turn, increases conversion. We must keep in mind that once consumers are exposed to faster, simpler and more engaging interfaces, they will accept no less! Just like in the online shopping, data analytics leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning will help us understand what consumers want, or don't, so we can refine our insurance products and optimise our portfolio.

XPRIMM: How can a Russian version of Life Guide contribute to enable this process?

Claudia SZWILLUS - Life Guide is at the heart of our underwriting automation engine, Magnum, a recognised leader among underwriting automation engines. With its underwriting guidance now in the local language, underwriting automation is the logical next step for our clients. Furthermore, the potential for digitalisation and automation does not stop at underwriting.

Michael HAAS - We have expanded our suite of data analytics capabilities that leverages data and machine learning techniques to create tailored predictive underwriting models or customer retention analytics, two growing areas in the data analytics space.

With the help of digitalisation, Russian clients can revolutionise the way life insurance is delivered to customers. They can make the process less cumbersome, faster and more engaging for Russian consumers, hailing a new era of growth for this promising market.

About Life Guide

Life Guide is the industry's #1 L&H underwriting resource globally. It helps clients understand current and future risks and translates them into ratings to build strong and sustainable portfolios. Packed with leading-edge, up-to-date information, Life Guide combines our medical and underwriting expertise with analytics and actuarial know-how to deliver confidence to the decisions you make.

It's trusted by underwriters in over 100 countries and receives over 23 million hits annually - that's one every second! With pages for more than 1,600 occupations, 1,000 conditions and 10+ full languages and 2 partial languages, Life Guide is a leading L&H underwriting resource in the market.

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