By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
Aon has a weapon in its plan to boost margins from 20 percent to 25 percent in an environment of softening prices. It's called the GRIP platform, an analytics "tour de force" that is quickly becoming the envy of the industry, according to Aon executives.
Unveiled at last year's conference of the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. (RIMS), the analytics tool will again take center stage at RIMS in Boston this year, on screens as large as 60 inches across.
Greg Case, president and CEO of the Chicago-based brokerage, said the platform is proof that Aon is serious about building a world-class information system designed to surpass anything in the marketplace today.
"It is the most substantial repository of risk today and of the understanding of $54 billion worth of insurance transaction flow around the world," said Case. "GRIP provides granular insight to clients around the world. With GRIP, we've invested in content to build Aon since client value is the engine to drive performance for us."
Case, along with Marc J. Armstrong, managing principal of Aon Risk Services Central Inc., spoke during an interview with Risk & Insurance® during the Philly I-Day on March 26.
Armstrong said the promise of GRIP holds a big advantage for risk managers as it helps them thing about risk holistically, about how risk affects their entire enterprise.
"If you're in 35 countries around the world, Aon will help you diagnose those risks around that," he said.
MOST COMPLETE REPOSITORY
The GRIP platform, more than three years in the making, was unveiled last year to great fanfare. With a year's worth of real-world client presentations now under their belt, Aon executives are set to make an even bigger splash, displaying the GRIP platform on 50-inch to 60-inch flat screens at the Aon RIMS booth.
"They see firsthand the power of having better risk information at their fingertips," said Case. "We're not talking about price but about value. GRIP is about better solutions, and there's been great buzz around it."
The global reach of Aon means the company can collect data on as much as $54 billion in annual premium flow, so the platform can crunch--indeed had better be prepared to crunch--a hell of lot of numbers from a whole lot of different places.
Numbers include primary and secondary pricing data, changes in terms and conditions in different markets for different lines, and in different countries. Aon's statisticians and actuaries are compiling and screening the data quality from a data center in Ireland.
"It is, quite simply, a tour de force in the gathering of insurance information," said Case. "We believe it's the single most complete repository of insurance data in the world."
MIDDLE MARKET BENEFITS
It may very well be. Midsize companies will especially find the data from the GRIP platform useful.
"It levels the playing field for the small and midsize clients," said Armstrong. "In the past they've not had access to that."
A risk manager working for a Minnesota-based packaging company with excess workers' comp coverage, for example, could have access to the Aon deals conducted in the past week in that segment.
"Historically, what we've done is ad hoc collected information from around the marketplace," said Armstrong. "But with GRIP, we can say this is what happened last week in your space and my product line."
Carriers, of course, have the historical data, but it only pertains to their own data. The GRIP platform is designed to collect any data from insurers with which Aon does business--just about every carrier in the world.
The transaction data, along with renewal percentages, is coming from as many as 18 or 19 countries around the world.
"We have client meetings where we sit down and plan strategy around our renewals," Armstrong said. "So we bring the screen up. They want to know what's happening in their industry."
April 2, 2010
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