Reimagining the future of risk engineering

Shifting attitudes about what is possible, coupled with the deployments of new technology, mean risk engineering is ever-changing. As buyers are increasingly aware of on-demand and flexible cover in personal insurance, demand is also emerging for risk engineering to be clearly aligned with their business purpose.

Large insurers in siloed and highly specialist fields are switching to have much more regular and deeper engagement with clients, and alignment to their strategies, backed by transparency and smart technology.

In part, the changes are driven by new data systems that enable more-targeted risk management. But the shifts in approach are also a response to businesses wanting to solve the holistic picture of their emerging risk exposures, including cybersecurity, environmental and political uncertainties, and even the unexpected consequences associated with complex mergers and acquisitions.

At commercial and specialty insurance provider Liberty Specialty Markets, risk engineers are now making assessments far more frequently than has traditionally been the case. “Historically, a customer would buy a policy and would only have a risk engineer visit to survey once every year to three years,” explains Carol Baker, head of customer proposition at the company. “But now the customer and buyer behaviours have changed dramatically, and we offer a much more on-demand service.”

Customer and buyer behaviours have changed dramatically, and we offer a much more on-demand service

The trend towards more customer-centric services is happening across client industries, Mrs Baker says. In addition to the greater transparency between insurers, brokers and their customers, insurers are also taking a much more active approach to managing clients’ risk.

Liberty Specialty Markets reaches out regularly to clients and their brokers where it identifies a potential exposure to specific threats, for example food companies needing to protect themselves against the dangers of customers’ allergic reactions, retailers guarding against night-time ATM thefts, and construction companies going through a merger and wanting to retain strict safety standards as their differing cultures combine.

“With the help of brokers, we evaluate firms’ existing risk position, and explain where, together, we can do more and what steps they could take,” explains Mrs Baker. “We provide written risk guidance to clients’ management and we also deliver bespoke elearning solutions that enable them to improve their practices in key areas. This means they can equip their workforces with relevant and valuable knowledge.”

This change is possible in part thanks to data analytics that highlight new trends in various sectors, but it is also the result of more cohesion between the insurance industry’s participants, from underwriters to actuarial experts, and business development teams to risk engineering specialists.

“Through the brokers, we get to know prospective customers at the earliest opportunity,” says Mrs Baker. Typically, this involves a risk review with sector-specific analytics and a detailed plan for continuous improvement.

“From day one, a client will meet everyone who’ll support them. They’ll have access to our Liberty Risk Reduce portal for tools and guidance. We can set up thousands of users on our elearning platform and we can tailor monthly management information for their board report. We can also engage a specialist manual handling training provider if they need or configure our online accident reporting for them,” she says.

Liberty Specialty Markets’ risk surveys are digital and integrated, allowing brokers and customers to contact underwriters with images, videos and documents for ongoing support, in real time.

In spite of all the changes, there is still a huge emphasis on traditional propositions, Mrs Baker insists. “We operate in an ever-changing world and we embrace that, but the fundamentals stay the same. We take a long-term view and embed necessary changes behind the scenes that keep us completely aligned with clients’ strategies.”

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