RMS’ Futers: Industry needs “fast, agile technology” to manage challenging exposures

There have been encouraging signs of a more meaningful relationship between the (re)insurance sector and technology, adding significant value to the industry and aiding a better response to complex risk exposures, the new head of RMS’ insurance business in the UK has said.

Even where adoption of new technology has been cautious, Jason Futers, managing director at RMS, sees developments as positive, he told The Insurer TV during the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous.

His comments suggest that several years of record insurtech investment may have helped shake off the industry’s traditional reputation as a tech laggard.

“The relationship is definitely very healthy. There has been caution, but even the caution has been healthy,” he told The Insurer TV.

“We’re seeing so many examples now that are building confidence in the industry that is going to add huge value,” Futers said.

Futers, previously co-founder and CEO of exposure data platform Insurdata, was hired by RMS in July 2021 to run its UK insurance business.

The move marked a return to the company for Futers, who originally joined the catastrophe risk modeller in 1998 and held a series of roles over the subsequent years.

He cited several recent industry developments as particularly strong examples of tech collaboration. These included: Ki, Brit’s digital follow-only Lloyd’s syndicate, launched at the beginning of 2021; Vave, the property cat-focused insurtech MGA set up by Canopius in 2018; and RMS’ own recent work partnering with Hiscox.

Jason Futers PQ

Hiscox announced in December last year that it was working with RMS to increase its use of RMS Location Intelligence API technology, aiming to improve customer experience for coverholders by providing real-time tailored quotes.

“We definitely see momentum building, and we think it’s going to make a real difference,” said Futers.

Legacy systems still in use by the sector for transacting risk and paying claims “do the job”, he noted, but there is still great potential for efficiency savings through using newer tech, Futers suggested.

“It could be much, much more efficient, and I think that’s what the industry collectively is looking at. There are so many examples of that, if you look at the systems, along with the workflow that clients are using on a regular basis, it could just be much more efficient,” he said.

“That’s not just a preference for efficiency, that actually feeds into writing business. So where clients can write much more business, they can improve their quote-to-bind ratio, and build a richer understanding of the underlying risks. Increasingly, we think that’s important,” Futers added.

Cloud adoption in recent years has also led to a new generation of systems created from scratch that are geared towards the software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology model, he emphasised.

“That makes a huge difference to the market. So it’s not taking what you’ve got today and putting it in the cloud, it’s actually giving you much faster capabilities. When you think of the risk being written, and why the reinsurer is really thinking this, is that it gives them more opportunities.”

Nimbler, cloud-based infrastructure becomes more vital the more the industry embraces data-led underwriting and relies on better analytics to navigate secondary perils and evolving climate change risks.

“When you look at the kind of perils where there are opportunities in the market, they are high-resolution perils,” Futers said. “Wildfires are a good example, and flood, of course, is a great example. Those are massive opportunities, but you’ve got to have a rich understanding of the underlying exposure. And you need fast, agile technology to do it.”

Watch the interview with Jason Futers of RMS on The Insurer TV, filmed in its Hôtel de Paris pop-up studio suite. Listen for more on:

  • The industry’s relationship with technology
  • Examples of successful partnerships
  • A new generation of SaaS cloud tech