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2014 Innovation Awards: What if...? Risk Grading App

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.

2014 Innovation Awards: What if...? Risk Grading App


The “What if...?” Risk Grading App was developed to help Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.'s customers better understand their existing risks and to help the company's risk engineers present often-complex information in a format that's easy to understand.

Ian McNeil, London-based head of customer management for risk engineering at Zurich, said that the application was developed in part to help maintain the face-to-face relationships that Zurich's 900 risk engineers across the globe have with clients.

The app is intended to help those clients understand the factors that go into grading their risks to help them better manage those risks and their risk budgets, he said. It also enables users to study the impact that risk improvements would have on their grading — and therefore the price of their insurance coverage.

Zurich's risk engineers have contact with clients about 60,000 times a year performing risk assessments, Mr. McNeil said. Those assessments take into account 30 or so individual factors that are then considered together to create an overall risk score that enables underwriters to grade the risk and underwrite accordingly, he said.

The app has an intuitive interface, and each assessment criterion is graded using a visual linear tool.

The app also generates multiple scenarios that demonstrate the impact of certain risk improvements on that graded score, Mr. McNeil said.

The company wanted to find a way to articulate to risk managers and plant managers why their risks were being graded the way they were and what changes they might be able to make to improve their risk profiles, he said.

The app, which is available for iPad and iPhone download from the App Store, helps to manage customer expectations and build up better rapport, he said.

Zurich's risk engineers have iPads that they take with them on site visits to demonstrate the app to customers, Mr. McNeil said, and the app was downloaded more than 2,000 times last year. The end result is that customers receive an interactive risk report in place of 40-odd pages of paper, Mr. McNeil said.

The app can be used to demonstrate risk grades for liability exposures as well as property risks, he said. The next release will be this spring and will take on-board comments from users, he said.

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