Speaking to The Insurer at the Pre-Monte Carlo Forum earlier this week, Watson said that despite Hurricane Dorian, he expects conversations at the 2019 Rendez Vous to veer away from talks around catastrophe cover, which have prevailed for many years.
Instead, Watson said he expects executives attending to be taking a more holistic view, with the focus on profitability across the industry as a whole.
“This year, we’ll be more focused on what’s going on with how we underwrite, particularly at Lloyd’s, and also the new capital that’s still coming into the market,” Watson said.
New entrants to the market will also be a source of speculation, with rapidly growing new ventures on both the intermediary and carrier sides looking to shake up the status quo. Watson explained that he expects (re)insurance executives on the Côte d’Azur to be be talking about “the new businesses that are starting up – how we partner with them, how we compete against them.”
How the industry faces the evolving threat landscape of “extreme everything,” from weather events to litigation and political instability, will also be called into focus, he continued, as insured risks become longer in duration.
“I think that we’re going to continue seeing more and more tail events happen and I think that we need to think about, as an industry, how we’re dealing with them,” Watson said.
“Are we really putting out enough capacity for cyber risk, as an example? There are a lot of things going on right now in the world that we need to react to.”
Digital initiatives, including the ones Argo has put into place throughout the last nine months, will be key for improvement across the spectrum of business functions as the market enters the year ahead, Watson said.
“I think a lot of things have come together in 2019 for Argo. We put some of the building blocks in place the last few years, particularly a lot of our digital initiative,” Watson said, building on the sentiment echoed in the insurer’s second quarter results, as the Bermudian booked double-digit GWP growth on the back of rolling out a strong digital strategy, particularly in the US.
“The majority of our business is now on some form of digital platform or another. We’re using technology to help us engage with our business partners more directly, provide better value to our policyholders and I see that carrying on for the rest of this year and next year, as well,” he concludes.