Improved technology and greater global connectivity has strengthened rather than diminished London’s position at the heart of the worldwide insurance industry, according to Steve Hearn, chairman and chief executive of Willis Global.
Speaking at last week’s Insurance Day Summit London, Hearn emphasised the role of technology in enabling rather than undermining the personal relationships he insisted were at the heart of the London insurance market’s success.
“London is at the heart of a networked world,” he told delegates. “Great global connectivity has not made our location any less relevant. If anything it’s made it more relevant. Capital has become more centralised in London and New York.”
Hearn spent the past year as chief executive of Willis Re, after a career spent mainly in retail and wholesale insurance, and that fresh experience provided him with what he termed “many, many revelations”.
Most pertinently, he said: “I contend the insurance industry generally has much to learn from treaty reinsurance world.”
In particular, he pointed to the rewards from the “arms race of investment in high quality analytic resource and technology” made by the big three reinsurance brokers, Aon Benfield, Guy Carpenter and Willis Re.