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Let's Talk: Building a complete risk picture

AXA XL Risk Consulting_Vitrac and Salter | AXA XL

Extreme storms, wildfires and droughts caused heavy Nat Cat losses in 2018, resulting in approximately USD 90 billion annual Nat Cat loss to insurance and reinsurance industries. And those are just what was insured.

And Nat Cat risks are not the only thing businesses have to worry about, especially with growing concerns about cyber and supply chain risks. According to AXA XL Risk Consulting’s Corinne Vitrac and Jonathan Salter, businesses are looking to run a more aggressive offense, rather than just play defense, on their risk exposure. Their team is already assisting many side-step potential losses with the help of risk management tools and expert guidance -- and they have plans to expand their capabilities to offer even more. Here they explain.

Have recent Nat Cat events/losses prompted more businesses to take extra proactive loss prevention steps in protecting their businesses?
Corinne:
Risks posed by natural catastrophe events are one of the most important risks our clients are facing today. Businesses do not want to wait for the next storm to hit but are looking to see what they can do now to prepare for future storms. To help, we have developed a variety of tools. For one, we have more than 400 maps of natural catastrophe risks in all geographies, that allow our clients to monitor risks to their operations posed by wind, earthquakes, flooding and more. Our clients can look at these maps to see how potential wind risk could develop across the globe and which of their facilities might be affected. Similarly, our earthquake maps show us where earthquakes have occurred. These maps give our clients a vision of their Nat Cat risks. “Seeing” these risks mapped out before them helps our clients focus on areas of loss prevention and develop well-informed risk prevention strategies.

And of course, while we are delivering this service to clients, we are also helping AXA XL improve and manage the risks that we assume.

Jonathan: Yes, when we talk to risk managers, they are more aware than ever that more severe storms can pose more severe losses. And they know that they cannot wait around for a storm forecast before they take some action. Our clients understand that shareholders, clients, employees and other stakeholders expect them to be taking every precaution possible to minimize losses.

Fortunately for our clients, by combining the tools and expertise of AXA Matrix and XL Catlin’s Property Risk Engineering, we can offer them more tools and insight, like comprehensive data analysis from more data resources, to help our clients be better prepared and more resilient.

Active loss prevention can have a major impact on minimizing loss. Can you give us any examples where a business’s attention to loss prevention prepared them better than neighboring businesses?
Corinne:
We see it all the time. Preparedness pays off. For instance, we worked with a very big pharmaceutical client. They were concerned with the possibility of flooding. We did a deep review of their sites on flood exposure and identified the precise magnitude of what might happen, should flooding occur, at each site. We took it a step further and used tools and videos to help them visualize the potential flood damage at specific sites. The client then put a flood mitigation plan into place.

Jonathan: After Harvey, Irma and Maria (HIM) in 2017, everyone had heighted awareness. We have clients who have said to us, given how we worked with them pre- and post-HIM, that they know so much more about active preparedness. And, then, when Florence came through last September, they were much more prepared. They had pre-emergency planning in place, and we reminded our clients about what they could do before the storm hit by sending out checklists and alerts.

How is AXA XL planning to meet their clients’ increased need and desire for more loss prevention services?
Corinne:
Nat Cat exposures are not the only risks that are top-of-mind for our clients. Supply chain and cyber risk are serious areas of concern too. Businesses are looking for better tools and capabilities to help them understand their collective risks across their entire enterprise. To help, AXA XL Risk Consulting aims to take a multi-peril risk consulting approach. Globally, we have 400 engineers representing different lines of insurance business. Currently, about 70 percent of our team are property risk engineers. Historically, our organizations have been very property focused. However, with the increasing magnitude of our clients’ exposure to casualty, marine, motor, cyber and others risks, loss prevention and risk management services that help reign in these exposures have become more important. We have started to build significant expertise & tools in these other areas of risks and we will steadily continue to reinforce our assets and capabilities to help our clients address their exposures across their whole organization.

Jonathan: Consider that a company’s products move from manufacturing to distribution. When in the warehouse, they want to know and understand the risks all along the way. This multi-peril risk consulting approach allows us to have more comprehensive conversations with clients. As we grow and build out our team, we want to match our clients’ business operations. We’re looking to help them get a more complete picture of their risk and determine where their deficiencies are. Plus, we are intent on staying ahead of our clients’ needs. Some risks that we are asked about today — like data privacy, cybercrime, supply chain, telematics — didn’t even exist a short while ago.

How are new technologies factoring into your plans to do more for your clients?
Corinne: Technology has always been a part of our operation, but as new technologies emerge, we continue to look at ways they can add more value to our clients’ risk management strategy. Our most recent development is the launch of our new combined client portal, SiteForward. We’ve taken the best of the AXA and XL worlds combined it and added some additional capabilities in this enhanced platform. Our enhanced platform helps our clients visualize their risk exposures and make informed loss prevention decisions. With our AXA & XL combined data, we are now able to offer our clients enhanced user-friendly tools that can structure data in a more efficient and expert way.

Jonathan: We have a long list of tech initiatives. In addition to SiteForward, we will soon launch another tool that will give our clients easy access to Hotwork permits and other forms that our clients need on a day-to-day basis. We also see new technology, like Artificial Intelligence, helping our risk engineers in their day-to-day jobs. For instance, Project Spotlight is an AI program that’s under continued development. It is using AI to help our property risk engineers review reports more quickly and efficiently to assess facility risk as part of the underwriting process. We are working with a variety of technology partners – on everything employing the Internet of Things like using sensors in buildings to detect risky conditions, track cargo or monitor motor habits.

What does your team hope to accomplish during the rest of 2019?
Jonathan:
We are going to harness the power of this new combined entity and deliver on AXA’s payer to partner promise. Today, we’re bringing more data, more insights, more tools to the table for our clients. We want to make our enhanced SiteForward platform, a bigger part of risk managers’ toolboxes. We want to continue to digitize our risk engineering capabilities to improve our own efficiency and see what new capabilities we can bring to our clients’ loss prevention efforts too.

Corinne: This year, as we continue to build out more capabilities, we want our clients to see the benefits that the AXA XL integration already brings. With a larger global footprint, combined expertise and capabilities, combined portfolio of value-added solutions and products, we have a lot more to offer them.


Corinne Vitrac is Chief Executive of AXA XL’s Risk Consulting unit. Jonathan Salter is head of AXA XL’s Property Risk Consulting. Looking to develop a more complete picture of your company’s risk, reach out to Corinne at Corinne.Vitrac@axaxl.com or Jonathan at Jonathan.Salter@axaxl.com.

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AXA XL is the P&C and specialty risk division of AXA.