Expert Risk Articles
AGCS Risk Consulting: from "service provider" to "benefit provider"
Allianz Risk Consulting fields a worldwide team of specialist engineers, dedicated to supporting our clients by working with them to deliver the best possible solutions for the management, control and reduction of risks – wherever and whenever these occur. We talked with Roland Brandt, Vice President and Head of Risk Consulting AGCS Germany & CE about how recent natural catastrophes have influenced the risk consulting business, emerging risks and the ideal risk consulting engineer.
Risk Consulting takes the lead role
Mr. Brandt, what role does risk consulting play at AGCS?
Roland Brandt: A very significant one: Alongside underwriting, non-life and key account management, risk consulting is one of the four core functions of our business model. We have 250 regional experts across the globe whose main responsibility is to support underwriting by providing independent risk analyses in AGCS' areas of business, as well as to ensure the technical risk quality of the various portfolios. Our multi-line approach, i.e. the cooperation between experts in our individual business lines, e.g. Marine, Liability, Engineering, etc. is unique on the market, making it particularly valuable for our customers.
The world has recently been shaken by a large number of severe natural catastrophes and Allianz experts have confirmed that the insured damage caused by catastrophes like these is growing. What impact will this have on risk consulting in the future?
RB: The ever-closer technical and economic links caused by increasing globalization naturally make the economy more susceptible to risk in general. The challenge is to improve the way in which we model these risks, for example by improving the quality of data used in geotechnical evaluations. What is more, further promoting the bundling of the expertise available within the Allianz Group will help us to develop and optimize risk management solutions for events like these.
Where do you think that there are opportunities within AGCS for further improving risk consulting?
RB: The further development of risk consulting to transform the business area from a "service provider" to a "benefit provide", particularly for our external, but also for our internal customers, is one of my top priorities. This also means that we will be providing more support when it comes to developing new products and solutions. Adjusting our AGCS expert network to suit our global underwriting strategies will be one of the main challenges we will face. This will also allow us to offer our customers even better service and further promote the multi-line strategy I referred to earlier.
AGCS sharing risk consulting expertise
New "emerging risks" are increasingly posing a challenge for insurers. How does AGCS deal with these?
RB: As part of our "top risk assessment", our experts evaluate and analyze the current risks facing each business area, naturally always in dialogue with our customers – their input is very important when it comes to product development. Emerging risks are identified for each area and then tailored solutions are developed to meet the customer's needs. One recent example is nanotechnology in the Liability segment or the development of non-damage BI cover in the Property segment. We pass our results on to our customers, also via our website or at events: the AGCS "Expert Days" are one example. This event will be held in Munich in October and this year, we will be talking about how to secure critical infrastructures, the motto of the event being "Digital Environments" – this is a matter of great topical interest.
What requirements do you think a good risk consultant has to be able to meet?
RB: Our risk consultants are, of course, absolute experts in their fields and we welcome all disciplines, from technical to scientific fields. The ideal candidate will also bring two to three years of industry experience along with him or her – it makes the work involved so much easier when you are already familiar with the processes in this line of business. What is more, working as a risk consultant also demands strong communication skills and the ability to reach a consensus, so that consultants can work with our customers to find solutions. Our consultants also have to be able to familiarize themselves with new topics quickly, meaning that they always have to be open for new things.
Mr. Brandt, thank you very much for your time.
Roland Brandt took up the post of Vice President and Head of Risk Consulting AGCS Germany & CE at the beginning of 2011. Previously, he worked as Head of European Property Account Engineers, a position in which he was responsible for further developing the Account Engineer position at European level. Before joining AGCS, Mr. Brandt was branch director of the US consultancy firm, Global Risk Consultants. He also spent a number of years in the west African country of Nigeria, working as an offshore project manager. The many years he has spent working in risk consulting mean that he boasts extensive international management and sales experience and is a renowned expert in this field, not only in Germany.