Claims services must adapt to the globalised corporate arena, says AGCS board member, Alexander Mack

Alexander Mack

Insurance partnerships have long been extended beyond the traditional risk transfer solutions to include preventive, advisory and crisis management services.

However, the raison d’être for any insurance company is its claim service – a function that has become significantly more complex since the dawn of globalisation.

The increasingly complicated and diverse nature of claims has placed more significance on establishing a claims management service, according to Alexander Mack, the first chief claims officer on Allianz Global Corporate Specialty’s (AGCS) management board.

In an exclusive interview, Mack told StrategicRISK how AGCS is adapting its approach to claims management to meet the needs of its multinational clients and identified two key aspects of claims that have undergone the greatest change in his 27-year career. The first he said is the character of claims being made and the second is the function of claims services within the insurer from back-office to a fully integrated function of the company.

Speaking about the changing character of claims, he said: “Today, we see more cross-border claims in liability, property and engineering than in the past.

“The globalisation of our client’s business is simultaneous with the global nature of the insurance business. In our part of the business – corporate and specialty risk – the claims have changed too.”

Today’s policy holder can have claims arising in distant locations where the process is much different, causing difficulties and frustration for the policy holder when dealing with a local insurer.

As a result, Mack said AGCS had to learn how to manage the accounts of multinational policy holders and harmonise the claims process for clients with policies around the globe.

“We want the client to have the same experience and philosophy for settling and reserving claims throughout their entire international programme, be it in Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada or Australia.

“For a client, there should be no difference from a claims handling, reserving and reporting perspective with regard to where the claim occurred. They should always get a consistent, aligned claims handling and reporting service.”

AGCS has considered this and has moved its claims service from the back office to the front, turning it into a client-facing offering.

“The claim-handling aspect has become more important not only within the insurance industry but also for clients and brokers in the past 20 years. Claims used to be, more or less, a back office function and was visible only if a claim was settled.

“Today, the claims function has a much greater importance within the organisation and the separation between back office and front office functions, such as underwriting and market management, in our company, has vanished.”

As the first chief claims officer to sit on the board at AGCS, Mack believes his promotion signals a genuine shift in strategy for the insurer. From this position, Mack believes he can help build stronger relationships with clients.

“Now that claims have a representation on the board, the claims initiative to improve the strategic partnership with our clients has gained significant momentum.

“Allianz always tries to increase and maintain a trustful partnership with the brokers and clients we work with and having a representation on the board means claims can contribute to this intention even more so than in the past.”