Speaking to The Insurer TV on the latest Leading Voices episode, Garrard said he saw Hess’s remarks as a call for the firm to “shout a little bit louder” about its capabilities and take more pride in the work it does.

“WTW has probably been a more reserved company than maybe some of our noisy neighbours,” he said.

“We’ve tended not to self-promote to the level that they do, we’ve tended to focus on innovation and client delivery and, in a certain respect, be quite quiet about it and just get on with it.”

Garrard placed these remarks in the context of the breakdown of WTW’s proposed merger with Aon last year, after which there was an opportunity to pause and think about the group’s strategy moving forward.

According to Garrard, “in a strange way, that process that we went through validated the vision we already had” as the business looked to consolidate its strengths.

“We’ve always been very good with providing our clients with insurance solutions,” he said. “We had a vision that we wanted to go a step further than that and we wanted to become very much a technology company, a data company, an advisory company and a solutions company. And we wanted that underpinned by superior industry and product knowledge.”

Broker of the future

Even though the role of the broker has not fundamentally changed, technology and data have enabled them to perform their tasks in different ways and that evolution will continue.

According to Garrard, while broking was more focused on expertise and experience when he started working in the industry, it is now much more reliant on processes heavily based on the use of data.

This has also enabled WTW to add value to its business through the development of its consultancy and advisory business.

“We’re trying to put our clients in a position where they’re selling risk and not buying insurance,” Garrard said.

“What I mean by that is they go to the market with a deep understanding of their own risk and a deep confidence in those own risks so when they go to the market they can make sure they’re getting the right price for their hedge.

“And if they’re not, they can choose not to do it. At the moment there are far too many people buying insurance and not selling risk.”

In addition, Garrard highlighted that optimisation must also be at the forefront of operational excellence, and that technology could help achieve the best possible returns.

Achieving such results could entail considering a portfolio as a whole and considering the correlations and dependencies between risks to achieve the best program in terms of returns, instead of considering and modelling risks individually.

In a wide-ranging interview with WTW’s Adam Garrard, we touch on a number of topics, including:

  • The direct and indirect impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict
  • How data and analytics has empowered the role of the broker
  • How the role of the broker will not fundamentally change
  • The role of the industry in protecting against cyber and climate
  • The risks associated with flexible ways of working
  • Garrard’s expectations for the RIMS conference