Do you feel the work done by Minister Eoghan Murphy and the Cost of Insurance Working Group will improve things?
The Cost of Insurance Working Group chaired by Minister Eoghan Murphy did some trojan work last year and made many sensible recommendations. If some of the standout key recommendations are implemented, insurance costs will stabilize and reduce over time. The new Minister with responsibility for insurance, Minister D’Arcy, will face some powerful vested interests, particularly when he starts trying to execute on reducing minor injury claims down to European averages.
Successive governments have a poor record in this area and Irish insurance costs remain among the highest in Europe. Twenty five years ago, in a debate in the Dáil on insurance costs, Des O’Malley said ‘Premiums in Greece and Britain are only a fraction of what they are here. However, the claims and awards in those countries are also only a fraction of what they are here, inevitably one reflects the other and will continue to do so.’ For the sake of the many thousands of customers who are struggling with insurance costs, I hope the government succeeds this time.
Cyber crime and digital attacks are growing at an alarming rate. High profile data breaches include Twitter, Paypal, Spotify and LinkedIn. As a market leader in this area, how important is Cyber Insurance? Are you surprised at its growth and how can you encourage brokers to consider this risk for ALL clients, both large and small?
All clients, both large and small, are at risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. Virtually all company risk registers include cyber risk at the top or near the top of the list. The cover is not just about financial protection; it is also about the practical response to data breaches. At AIG, in addition to financial protection, we provide forensic IT services, legal services and PR support from local experts to policyholders to ensure they can contain and control an attack quickly. AIG has been writing cyber insurance for the last 15 years and I am not surprised by its recent growth, if anything I am surprised it took so long.
The AIG Brand seems to be going from strength to strength with a strong link to sport?
Our brand in Ireland has never been stronger. Our awareness among consumers has grown from virtually nil in 2013 to over 80% today and trust levels are high.
AIG was associated with some of the biggest sporting events in the last 12 months. The Dubs retained Sam in a replay and Ireland had an historic victory over the New Zealand All Blacks at the AIG sponsored ‘Rugby Weekend’ in Chicago. Teams sponsored by AIG featured in many of the most watched TV programs in Ireland in 2016. We also support grassroots sport and have strong links with golf and tennis. We integrate corporate social responsibility campaigns such as ‘AIG Heroes’ into many of our sponsorship activations and the team here are very proud of the work we do.
We expect 2017 to be equally strong with exposure from the AIG supported British & Irish Lions tour. We will also be bringing hurling back to Fenway in Boston later this year, this time with 4 teams, to build on the success of the AIG Fenway Hurling 2015 which was attended by close to 30,000 people.
AIG has a new global CEO, Brian Dupperreault, what does that mean for the Irish operation?
Just 3 weeks after his first full day back at AIG, Brian visited the Irish office in June. It wasn’t Brian’s first visit here, he was a board member of AIG Ireland from 1991 to 1994 and visited the office in the 1980s and 1990s. Brian spent 21 years at AIG and led its non-US Property Casualty business. He left AIG to become just the 57th employee and CEO of a boutique Bermudian insurer called ACE, a company he transformed into a major insurer. He later joined Marsh as CEO during the financial crisis and led a major turnaround. In 2013 he set up Hamilton Insurance Group, a company that uses technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning to help inform underwriting.
Brian has been very clear that he is back at AIG to grow the company. He favours pursuing both organic growth and non-organic growth, particularly outside the US. He plans to reduce the pace of share buybacks. He wants to build a more balanced commercial business through underwriting discipline, growth and diversification. His plans include the use of technology to help AIG operate more efficiently and to get the best information into underwriters’ hands quickly. He understands the broker perspective very well as a former CEO of Marsh and is very focused on improving service to brokers. Brian is an inspirational leader with an unrivalled track record; we are excited about the future of AIG.
What do you hope for the rest of 2017?
Continued support from our broker partners in Brokers Ireland, good weather, execution of insurance reform by Government and the Dubs for a three in a row!