Whatever your strategic objectives, there is an important role for international insurance programmes

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Following 18 months of uncertainty, multinational organisations are starting to plan their strategies for 2022. As economies begin to emerge from the pandemic crisis, business decision makers are considering how to move into what will hopefully be a period of growth.

For some, this involves entering new territories or diversifying into new sectors, for others it could mean consolidating through mergers and acquisitions and/or redesigning supply chains. Whatever the strategic objective, there is an important role for insurance in facilitating these goals.

Here are ten of the top ways that international programmes can help you grow your business:

1) Moving quickly

Sometimes the most successful businesses are those that can move rapidly in line with market conditions. Once the executive team has made decision, being nimble can be a strategic advantage.

Having international insurance cover means you’ll be insured in a new location from the get-go, avoiding any delays as cover is sought or due diligence on new providers is carried out. This can significantly reduce the headache for risk managers, who can then focus on other priorities.

2) On the ground knowledge

If a company is expanding, there are likely to be country-specific risks that the risk manager has not dealt with before. Risk engineers can provide local knowledge of natural catastrophe risks and how best to mitigate these.

This means that firms can avoid costly errors such as building a factory in a flood or earthquake zone. International programmes not only make sure you’re covered against those threats but can also provide advice to reduce the likelihood of business interruption.

3) Understanding the rules

Organisations that are expanding internationally also need to contend with regulatory challenges and new tax regimes. 

Again, an international insurer through its market expertise and experience would have a good understanding of the legal landscape and associated risks.

4) Managing interdependencies

Breadth of coverage is particularly reassuring those firms that operate in lots of different countries or have multiple business lines with complex relationships. A master policy is worldwide, so that’s always your fallback position.

The interdependencies between company lines and territories is covered as standard in an international policy but isn’t always covered if you buy locally and separately.

5) More capacity

There are plenty of reasons that a company might want to have more capacity, whether it’s a particularly big risk, a desire for geographic spread when transferring exposure or even corporate relationships with a specific carrier.

International programmes can allow risk managers to access insurance capacity worldwide and overcome barriers where local providers may not be licenced to offer cover in all markets.

6) Single source suppliers

Getting sufficient supply chain cover can be tricky, particularly for some industries, but having an overall limit on the master policy can help.

William Porter, Head International Programs Americas at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions explains: “Supply Chain coverage provided by the Master policy can give the insured flexibility when expanding their business. Even when building in regions of the world with single source or otherwise limited suppliers, this coverage gives the customer the peace of mind they need to be confident in the decision.”

7) Easier claims processes

International programmes also mean that you have consistent policy terms and claims processes across your locations. The benefit here is that if something does go wrong, getting back on your feet should be more straightforward and can be handled centrally or locally.

8) Handling mergers and acquisitions

For firms going through M&A activity, one benefit of an international program is that insurers can advise on the due diligence process from a risk management perspective. Even better, some provide a guaranteed cover that extends to a new entity for 30-60 days after buying it.

9) Diversifying the business

Plenty of firms have diversified throughout the pandemic, pivoting to offer new products and services. This is another area where international programmes can help.

Oftentimes, insurers will have industry-specific engineers who can provide advice on the new risks companies will face in every sector from retail and aerospace to chemicals and waste-to-energy.

10) International underwriting

One final area where international programs prove beneficial is by guaranteeing expert underwriters regardless of what location or industry you’re expanding to or which new company you buy.

Reto Collenberg, Head, International Programmes, APAC and EMEA, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions concluded: “The underwriter is the centre of the programme. We have a lot of resources that are built up through the claims, the engineers, all the international expertise, but that’s all put into existence because the underwriter is writing a deal. It all comes back to the peace of mind and having that kind of international team can help risk managers sleep at night.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has developed PULSE portal to allow you to monitor and manage your insurance programme from one secure place.

Reto Collenberg is Head, International Programmes, APAC and EMEA, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and William Porter is Head of International Programmes, Americas, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.