By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
Recent events have taught us that accurately determining the financial stability of carriers is of the utmost importance.
That need for a broader financial view of carriers and their counterparty risks is why insurance brokerage Marsh on April 7 unveiled a revamped client information service known as the Marsh Market Information.
According to a Marsh webinar to unveil the web portal, the new service, born out of the broker's existing "My Insurer Monitor" service, is an attempt at bringing Marsh's information resources to bear to help clients keep a closer eye on carriers.
Paul Sherbine, leader of the Global Market Information Group (GMIP), said the service was revamped after discussions with clients who wanted easier access to information kept on Marsh's databases.
"This was a client-driven site," said Sherbine, during the webinar. "We've had this before, but it was not as client friendly."
Marsh Market Information contains financial analytics on 1,500 insurers worldwide. The data is culled from public documents, as with previous incarnations of the service. The site contains no data that carriers would consider proprietary, executives also noted. Analytics are supplied by in-house Marsh analysts. News content comes from Advisen.
The past 18 months in particular have seen a surge in requests for new and better carrier information from risk managers who in turn need to report to their boards.
Clients using the new Marsh service can compare carriers' balance sheets, income statements, ratios and cash flows, and then match the results against industry averages, according to Jonathan Limmer, Marsh's chief risk officer.
Clients can even compare these metrics for the carrier's parent company and track the stock prices of carriers.
Data is available for A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's insurer ratings by layer of an insurance program, so risk executives can see if they are taking more credit risk in the working layers or the excess layers of the program.
"It allows them to see at a glance where their exposure is," said Limmer.
Data and analysis on reinsurance programs are also included, the Marsh executives said, and new data is added all the time. Risk managers, for example, are able to see the exposure of the recent earthquake in Chile for a carrier or for an insurance program.
"We were doing a lot of individual analysis for clients and individual rating for clients, but we wanted the Marsh team ... to build the information in a format that was user friendly," said Sherbine.
Marsh solicited input for Marsh Market Information not just from its portfolio of Fortune 500 clients but from midsized businesses, education boards and universities as well.
DIFFERENCE FROM COMPETITOR
Asked how Marsh's revamped site differed from Aon's GRIP analytics portal, Sherbine said the Aon portal was more geared to offering data about "day-to-day broking operations," pricing and information on the placement side of an insurance transaction.
Marsh's content is "strictly related to security of the program," Sherbine said, noting that one client has 300 insurers on its insurance programs and wanted to "track the position of these guys going forward."
In the end, Marsh executives said they just want buyers to be aware of what they are getting into when they buy a policy from a carrier.
April 8, 2010
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