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2012 Innovation Awards: Zurich Multinational Insurance Application

2012 Innovation Awards: Zurich Multinational Insurance Application

Zurich Financial Services Ltd.

Zurich Multinational Insurance Application

Sometimes an innovation designed for internal use ends up paying unexpected dividends for external users. That is the case with Zurich Financial Services Ltd.'s Multinational Insurance Application, or MIA, which the insurer made available to risk managers through their brokers in June 2011.

MIA, which earned one of Business Insurance's 2012 Innovation Awards, allows customers to enjoy greater certainty that insurance programs will comply with out-of-territory insurance and premium tax regulations. This is no easy task, particularly when some countries allow nonadmitted insurers and others do not. And it is also no trivial matter—failure to comply with various out-of-territory requirements can void coverage, lead to fines, and delay or even disqualify claims.

With MIA, “we provided a little more clarity on issues of compliance and licensing” to customers, said Mike Kerner, New York-based CEO of Zurich Global Corporate in North America.

He said MIA began about six years ago as an internal tool used by Zurich underwriters. Mr. Kerner said MIA incorporates information from the more than 180 jurisdictions in which Zurich operates around the world.

Mr. Kerner said Zurich came to the “conclusion that we had a lot of very valuable information” in MIA, information that was as valuable to customers and their brokers as it was to the insurer's own underwriters.

According to Zurich, MIA views the regulatory and tax information from the uniform view of a nonadmitted insurer where the risk is located. That gives the user the applicable local requirements that have to be satisfied.

The user's program is run through five scenarios. One addresses nonadmitted insurance covering the exposures in the country of risk. The second relates to use of difference-in-conditions/difference-in-limits insurance added to the local insurance. The third focuses on nonadmitted excess layers added to the local primary layer. The fourth considers a situation where only a risk, not an entity, exists in another country. The fifth deals with an entity in one country concluding a policy with a customer in another country.

The scenarios and variations encompass up to 41 lines of business typically purchased by international program customers.

The MIA data is updated as needed. It is maintained by lawyers, a global tax adviser and an internal team at Zurich.

Mr. Kerner said MIA drives rules and regulations down “to very practical business use.”

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