Nikhil da Victoria Lobo Swiss Re

As da Victoria Lobo prepares for what will be a “challenging” renewal, he shared with The Insurer his thoughts on the most important topics and his key priorities to ensure “industry sustainability”.

“This renewal will be challenging – no question. I think for me, it’s about ensuring that we create fundamentals so that our industry can continue to deliver for the years ahead,” he said during a video interview.

“Principally, I think there are three topics that consistently stand out in my mind if you want industry sustainability.

“The first is clearly around the difficult discussion we’re going to have around the infectious disease exclusion. I think the second thing that everyone is talking about is this low interest rate environment, as we need to ensure that our underwriting continues to be technically profitable,” he said.

The third topic da Victoria Lobo raised is around climate change and the impact it is having on aggregate excess of loss.

“We’ve been talking for almost a generation around climate change and I think a must-win topic for this renewal is going to be on things like our aggregate excess of losses and making sure that we get these in the right place so that they are reaching an equilibrium for the reinsurer, ceded and – most critically – the policyholder,” he said.

Speaking about the Western and Southern region of Europe more generally, da Victoria Lobo said it is “such a great part” of Swiss Re’s franchise.

Having been appointed as head of the region’s reinsurance business in July this year, da Victoria Lobo said he has been “invigorated” by the opportunities in the region.

“When I looked across this diverging group of countries, ranging from France to Turkey and Israel, what I picked up on – and this was pre-Covid, but it’s really been I think exacerbated through Covid – is the deep desire in society to transform the development agenda and I think insurance and reinsurance plays a fundamental part,” he said.

“So, whether it’s driving economic resilience, or it’s building new infrastructure or even finding ways to make our economy and workforce more inclusive, I think the offerings of our sector are fundamental to that,” he added.

On a more personal note, da Victoria Lobo discussed the significance of the diversity and inclusion agenda. While speaking candidly about the importance of the topic from a personal perspective, he also expressed that it should be considered commercially as well.

“I’ve been fortunate to have been raised in seven different countries, obviously coming from a relatively diverse background. I myself am an immigrant to the United States and now obviously a little bit of an import back here in Europe, but the reason I feel so passionate about this is actually a very commercial reason,” he offered.

“I think about the way the global economy will look in 50 years and there is room under this very large tent for everyone. The existential question our industry faces is, are we going to be partaking on that journey simply through talent management mechanisms to bring a more diverse and inclusive workforce, or are we going to create offerings that drive that transformation in society and obviously for me that latter part is really what invigorates me.

“I think people will pay for insurance that has value, so if we have insurance that helps, whether it’s people of colour or working mothers to partake in the workforce, people will pay more for that so there’s a margin topic there too,” he said.