In conversation with Claire Atley, Senior Contingency Underwriter, we speak about building a new team and portfolio of business from the ground up, the resurgence of the events sector — particularly touring bands — and the entrepreneurial mindset that drives Arch’s approach to underwriting contingency risks.
What are the key aspects of the Contingency team’s risk appetite?
We’re proud to have a market-leading and experienced team, writing a broad spectrum of risks across all the contingency sub-classes. Historically, we have had a particular focus on event cancellation business, and we have developed a consortium that enables us to deploy a significant line in that space.
We also write terrorism and political violence cover for events, non-appearance, prize indemnity, transmission failure for live and virtual events, and some film and commercial production coverage — so it really is a broad spectrum of risk types across a global book of business.
How does Arch look to differentiate its offering in the market?
At Arch, we’re continually looking at ways to develop our offering, as the market evolves.
For example, the role that data plays is becoming increasingly important and we have hired a data specialist to sit within the contingency team, to help inform our underwriting decisions. This enables us to provide a high quality, timely and responsive service to our brokers. We see this capability as a key differentiator for our team.
Would you say the Contingency market is now back to pre-Covid levels?
Enquiries for contingency cover are now back to, if not surpassing, pre-pandemic levels. It’s taken the market a little while to get there, but 2022 was a very positive year for the events industry and it looks as though 2023 is going to be a bumper year for events, which is really positive to see.
There are some potential challenges on the horizon, such as the economic climate and threat of a recession which could impact event organisers. However, at the moment we are seeing huge demand not only from the organisers to put these events back on again, but also from consumers to attend in-person live events.
Where are you seeing the clearest opportunities for growth?
There are opportunities across the whole events industry, but we’re seeing it most in music events and tours which have seen exponential growth, and we’re expecting that to continue.
What do you see as the biggest risks facing your clients in the next few years?
Adverse weather and natural catastrophes are always going to remain at the forefront of our clients’ minds when they’re buying this cover, especially given the increased focus on climate change. We’re now more prone to extremes of weather, such as severe hurricane seasons, catastrophic floods – like those we’ve seen in Australia and New Zealand-, bushfire and wildfire risks, and prolonged storms, as we’ve recently seen in California. There are also some geopolitical factors at play and, of course, the current economic climate which could have an impact if we move into a recession.
What drew you to the insurance industry and Arch?
I joined the insurance market straight out of university, keen to get some commercial work experience and I never left!
I was really excited to join Arch in April 2021 and help build a new portfolio of business. It’s a highly entrepreneurial organisation, very underwriting focused, and the senior management here are very positive towards risk, which is great to see.
I’m very proud of what the contingency team has achieved in two years, and I believe that Arch is an organisation with a very exciting future.
What would your dream job outside of insurance be?
Writing was a passion of mine in my younger years – it was something I did non-stop, scribbling away with my ideas. I would love to be that writer who thinks of the next big character to capture the imaginations of children and adults alike.