Global Capabilities – Q&A with Alan Scholes21st April 2020
Whether your clients require engineering cover in the UK or around the world, we continue to offer international solutions for worldwide exposures. With a Risk Management degree and over 15 years’ Engineering experience, Engineering Underwriting Manager, Alan Scholes discusses our global capabilities in providing engineering cover and what sets NMU apart, below.
What is the current landscape of global engineering cover?
The international Contractors’ All Risks market serviced from the UK has reduced substantially in the last 12 to 24 months. Some of the contraction is due to a change in Insurer risk appetite, mostly as a result of some insurer’s international risk portfolios not performing as well as their UK account; getting caught on heavy losses outside the UK. The other driving factor is local regulation in terms of which licences and permissions are required to underwrite business in some territories. From NMU’s perspective, our team of experienced engineering underwriters are clear on our risk appetite and thus avoiding the potential unbalance that our competitors have experienced. We also benefit from being part of the Lloyd’s network which gives us the necessary framework to continue writing globally.
Which of NMU’s engineering products offer international cover?
Any and all of our engineering products can be adapted to offer overseas cover! Construction and installation (CAR & EAR) is where we see the most interest, but there is also demand with deterioration of stock, machinery and electronics exposures too.
How does that differ from competitors in the market?
Our competitors tend to struggle with overseas exposures, opting for a more ‘siloed’ approach where their departments don’t communicate and collaborate in the same way that we do at NMU. In most instances we are able to provide a seamless, one-policy solution for our clients, whereas a composite insurer would more likely take the risk and split it up into their respective silos, resulting in numerous policies being issued to cover the exposure and the potential for there to be gaps in cover.
Where do you see the future of the global engineering market heading?
There is certainly demand for insurance solutions to global engineering exposures, especially for the niche and specialist risks that aren’t perhaps covered in some individual markets – that’s something that we are keen to assist with. For example, we have one contactor who designs and installs specialist foundation pads and they were awarded the contract for the foundations for the rifle shooting range stand at the Tokyo Olympics – these are the kinds of experts that we are keen to support moving forwards.
What types of risks and clients do you cover overseas?
We cover a diverse range of risks and clients around the world. Some interesting examples of where we have proven our Global Capabilities include:
- Specialist sports contractor who installs training ground facilities and stadium pitches for some of the most prestigious football clubs in Europe
- Interior fit out specialist who completes building work on government embassies across the world (UK embassies)
- Specialist concrete flooring and heating and ventilation contractors involved in large Amazon warehouse projects across Europe
- Contractors involved in projects for Broadway and other grand events such as opening ceremonies for the World Cup and Olympics
- Risks where a client has temperature sensitive stock outside the UK where we provide deterioration of stock cover
- An aircraft hangar door specialist installer which include air-side contracts at facilities worldwide, including the shipments of all required tools, equipment and materials.
What is your process when an international enquiry comes in?
Our underwriters carefully consider local infrastructure, perils etc. Not all areas of the world have the same level of road or port infrastructure that we see in the UK, even getting materials to the contract site can be a challenge and that sometimes is taken for granted. We are mindful of bribery and corruption, more so when dealing globally, and have sanction screening controls in place.
Which tools and resources do you have access to?
There are a number of processes and systems NMU have in place which enable us to carry out the necessary due diligence on each case in terms of risk, compliance and sanctions.
NMU have access to the Lloyd’s Agency Network of surveyors worldwide, so if the worst does happen and there is a claim to investigate, the facilities and network are already in situ to allow us to handle the situation.
As a Munich Re company, we are also fortunate enough to have access to various internal information databases and platforms, providing the invaluable insight and data required to enable us to comprehensively assess risks such as natural hazards around the world.
Via our risk management team, we also have the capabilities to do on site or virtual surveys of any site or location.
Which aspects of NMU’s approach to global engineering cover sets you apart?
Unlike some insurers in the industry who may perhaps have the capabilities to offer international cover but would see this as an accommodation, we are proactive in pursuing these clients and positive about these exposures because we see these risks as complementing the UK book of business. The key advantages are that our international policies are seamless, with one underwriting touchpoint and built upon a true understanding of the risks faced by policyholders.