In conversation with Jarrod O’Connor, Accident & Health Underwriting Manager, we discuss how the travel industry has bounced back from the pandemic, client expectations and Arch’s new business travel offering.
The business travel arena was one of the sectors most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Could you give me a sense of where the insurance market is currently?
The travel market is recovering extremely well. Many businesses lost traction with clients during the pandemic with the increased reliance on video conferencing. We are now seeing a steady rise in business travel, which is helping drive a big upturn in revenue.
This increase in travel is also coupled with renewed corporate awareness of the responsibility to care for employees when travelling. This mandate relates not only to the costs associated with travel, but also the need to have professional, expert support when something goes wrong – which is where a good insurance policy comes into play.
How would you say that client expectations of what they require from a business travel policy are changing?
Post pandemic we are seeing a greater focus on the ‘big ticket’ coverage components such as medical coverage, loss of deposits, additional expenses, and emergency assistance networks. Pre pandemic, there was more focus on additional policy benefits to differentiate products. As we emerge from the pandemic, clients are more conscious of coverage adequacy and support in the event of an incident, rather than policy add-ons.
Arch has recently launched a new business travel product online. Can you tell me about it?
We have relaunched our business travel offering as part of our ongoing commitment to the quality of coverage and level of service and support we provide our clients. The product is also available on our online portal, CoverHub, to offer brokers a quick and efficient online solution.
The CoverHub platform works incredibly well – especially for SME businesses. It enables quick and easy transactions, allows the broker to choose their own limits, their own commission, and is end-to-end in that renewals are available via the portal too. The flexibility of a 24/7 online solution suits many brokers and is an essential offering for a much more tech-oriented market.
How important is the flexibility that the product provides to your brokers and their clients?
Different businesses have different risk profiles which need to be reflected in the cover we provide. Someone who travels around the Horn of Africa or to Papua New Guinea, for example, is going to have a vastly different risk profile to someone travelling to the UK. The scope and flexibility of our coverage ensures that the policy provides the right level of cover for the type of trip.
At Arch, we underwrite and tailor our policies based on the specific needs of the individual or company. By working closely with clients and our brokers we can ensure they are secure in the knowledge that they have the right protection in place should an incident arise.
You joined the Arch team in Australia as Underwriting Manager, Accident & Health in September. How are you settling into the role?
I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the Arch team. The growth we are achieving is really exciting and it’s driven by the dynamic energy that exists across the Melbourne and Sydney offices. The support network is great and it’s just a fun team to be a part of. In terms of the role itself, the foundations have been laid for me, and now it’s just up to me to make my mark and continue to work with the team to grow the A&H line of business.
You are responsible for developing broker relationships and driving further growth. How are you and the team looking to deliver on this?
As a team we are excited to get out into the market and communicate our great product offerings. We offer a broad appetite, level of flexibility, range of coverage, and competitive pricing that we believe our brokers and clients are looking for. The onus is on us to highlight the factors that set us apart, develop our existing relationships and build new ones to really deliver on the potential we offer as a team. Further boosting our broker engagement and service is our number one priority for 2023.
How important to success is the strength and depth of talent within the team given the demands of the A&H sector?
I can’t understate the importance of the team’s technical knowledge, their willingness and ability to think outside of the box, and their desire to engage and succeed. I’m lucky that I’ve walked into a team with a wealth of specialist expertise and constant drive to better serve our markets. The strength of our team will be our biggest attribute in our continued market expansion in this class.
What other factors help to differentiate Arch in this competitive marketplace?
We’ve already touched on it, but our ability and willingness to be flexible in our underwriting approach is a significant differentiator. At Arch, we have both the ability and desire to provide the best possible solutions for our clients and brokers. We’re an agile company and that is important in the A&H space. With the continued growth of our team, and launch of new products onto CoverHub, we are very well placed to further support our brokers through the provision of effective and informed solutions to respond to the needs of their clients.