QBE Re’s Jamie Cook examines the importance of stable partners in uncertain times…


If we are lucky enough to have arrived with luggage and without travel delays, the industry will be breathing a sigh of relief at finally being able to be back in person in Monte Carlo for the first time since 2019.

We’ve adapted well to the events of the past two years. The increased use of video calls has led to more frequent and regular communication with clients at all levels, and that is certainly something we are continuing with moving forward. The reduction in travel also delivers cost and, importantly, environmental benefits.

But nothing can replace that face-to-face interaction in terms of helping to build long-term relationships with our clients. And it is something that we are seeing is increasingly important to them. Trust forms such a key part of the insurer/reinsurer relationship and that is something that is built up over a long period of time with a partner that has taken the time to really understand their business.

We are moving on from the days where reinsurance was an annual venture where most conversations took place around the renewal period. We should be focusing more on that continued communication and also be looking to develop a partnership that will last many years.

“We are moving on from the days where reinsurance was an annual venture where most conversations took place around the renewal period”

In their reinsurers, insurers are looking for the exact opposite of the current environment they are operating in. We have previously talked about the great amount of uncertainty we as an industry are facing from a traditional loss perspective. In addition to this global uncertainty, insurers are also continuing to face the challenges of changing buyer habits and competition from non-traditional players entering the market, which has resulted in a very challenging environment.

So, in a world of unpredictability and volatility, insurers need a reinsurance partner that is predictable, consistent and stable. But one that is also able to embrace change and new ways of thinking. We need to continue to have open and frequent communications with our clients to understand their needs and what they really want from their reinsurer.

At QBE Re, long-term relationships have always been a major part of our strategy, but this has never been more important to us than it is now. It allows us to have a longer-term view of our own business and have a considered approach to what we write and how we spread our appetite. In turn, this helps provide the stability that insurers are after.

We’ve recently reshaped our business so that it is simpler to deal with and can more readily meet broker and client expectations. Our new structure allows us to be more consistent and connected for our clients. By being more joined up across product lines and geographies, we have made it easier for us to adapt to their needs. This has sharpened our ability to have that partnership with clients of all shapes and sizes. We now can better bring our expertise and our global footprint to a client engagement policy which is there to continuously listen, learn and develop in a mutual partnership.

Jamie Cook is global head of client management at QBE Re