Industry leader interview: Ronnie Coutts MBE, Managing Director, The Clearway Group

Which areas of business do you think offer the greatest opportunities right now, and how are you capitalising on them?

Blending new technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart devices and easy to use IT platforms with traditional approaches to protecting property and assets. Firstly, we’ve built a great team of inquisitive technologists who are constantly look at new tech, how we could apply it and then testing it in the field. Feedback from clients in the insurance, insolvency and property sectors is crucial, so we always run pilots to ensure the benefits are real.  When we marry this to experienced property surveyors, FM specialists and security experts we can either solve problems in a different way, improve service or drive better value for money. I’d sum it up as great people, the right tech and hard-won experience.

How have you added resilience and adaptability to your business over the past few years?

We’ve had to diversify our supply chain and at the same time getting closer to our suppliers to ensure we understand their challenges and how they might impact on us. We’ve also spread some of our UK geographic footprint to reduce our response time to clients while also giving us in-built resilience in our own estate.

In terms of adaptability, we have kept a number of people focused on changes in the market, new risks and changing needs who are not directly involved in day-to-day operations. This allows us to react to issues, find workarounds and be adaptable.

How has your business philosophy evolved since you began in the industry?

Some things are an absolute constant – we need to hire great people and we need to look after them.  What is evolving rapidly is how people want to work, what their expectations are and how we need to evolve the workplace to suit them, while meeting the needs of the business. That can sometimes be a challenge as we need to still be a 24/7/365 organisation to meet the needs of our customers.

What has evolved, and quickly, is focusing more on end-to-end services and not just selling products. Increasingly we are demonstrating the value to large and small clients that when we bring together great products with the right service and integration this approach better serves them, inevitably reduces cost and lowers risk. Explaining that integration and what value it brings can be a difficult message to convey, so its measurable.  

What is the greatest myth about the insurance industry, and what is the fact?

One of the greatest myths about the insurance industry is that insurance companies try to avoid paying claims whenever possible. While there have been cases of disputes over claims, it’s important to understand that insurance companies exist to provide financial protection and support to their policyholders in times of need.

Insurance companies have a legal and ethical obligation to honour valid claims based on the terms and conditions outlined in their policy. They have a financial incentive to maintain a good reputation and excellent customer satisfaction to retain their client base and attract new customers. Bad news travels fast!

Consumer attitudes are changing – how is the Insurance market changing to focus on – Risk mitigation to reduce claims and how are suppliers evolving to meet these demands?

Partnerships and Alliances: Insurers are working with partners who are providing the best security solutions for their risks. Insurers are providing their customers with prevention security services that can be triggered by risk prevention monitoring and detection services. At Clearway we are continuously innovating to stay at the forefront of these advancements, whilst continually adapting to meet the needs of our clients.

Digitalisation and Technology Integration: The industry is leveraging technology to streamline processes and identify and prevent risk. This includes the use of AI and data analytics for risk assessment.

Prevention: This shift is driven by our recognition that preventing losses is often more cost-effective than paying claims after they occur. In industries with complex supply chains, insurers are partnering with risk management experts to help businesses identify and prevent potential disruptions.

Cybersecurity and Data Protection: As cyber threats continue to evolve, there is an increased demand for insurance coverage related to cyber risks. This includes protection against data breaches, cyber-attacks, and other digital threats. We have an established and broad-ranging supply chain with strong collaborative partnerships with technology vendors, (outside of China).

In summary, the insurance market is continually evolving to become more proactive in risk management. Insurers are forming strategic partnerships and leveraging advanced technologies to help policyholders identify, assess, and mitigate risks before they lead to claims. This not only benefits the insurers by reducing payouts but also helps both businesses and individuals, protect their people, property, assets and operating costs.


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