Multinational Programmes – What’s the secret to success?

by Alex Land: Senior Associate of MAP Training Ltd

Whilst doing my daily trawl of market news recently, I came across an article discussing risk managers’ wishes for the New Year and International Programme News’s predictions for 2017.

Together with the inevitable mention of Brexit and IPT increases this prediction caught my eye:

“A global/multinational insurance policy (just the one) will actually be issued before it incepts.”

After a little chuckle to myself at such a thing, I sat there wondering why after over 20 years’ working in the multinational insurance area this is the ‘holy grail’ that multinational insurers aspire to but rarely achieve…..,  surely with 21st  century technology, rafts of MI and strict contract certainty requirements this should by now be achievable. Yet, talk to anyone working in this space and they will agree that having everything in place for a global programme by inception is usually a pipe dream. Why? There are a variety of reasons that can be categorised under various headings – what might be called the 6 C’s:

  1. Complexity: Multinational programmes are complicated by the need to apply and/or adapt the cover across all the local markets where global corporations operate.
  2. Compliance: Ever increasing and frequently changing regulation can drain time and resources as teams work to understand the implications for compliant programme delivery and develop alternative approaches.
  3. Control: The ability for customers, brokers and insurers to control a programme working across 20+ countries can require some serious ‘plate spinning’ to ensure that all issues are dealt with speedily and correctly.
  4. Communication: Even the simplest of communications can be misinterpreted when managing one-dimensional e-communication combined with language differences.
  5. Conflict: Differences between local versus central in terms of objectives, processes and solutions.
  1. Co-ordination: A multinational programme covering 15 countries could involve over 45 different parties working to the same objectives, but each also needing to reflect their own local context. The task to co-ordinate these objectives to deliver a single clear, comprehensive programme able to respond in the event of a claim anywhere in the world should not be underestimated.

Whilst there does not yet appear to be a magic wand to consistently deliver compliant multinational programmes prior to inception many risk managers, brokers and insurers do have some important tools available to support them in this multi-tasking feat, such as:

  • Policy Management Systems
  • Management Information tracking
  • International Market databases
  • Pricing models
  • Global networks
  • Process mapping

However good the understanding of the 6 C’s and the availability of such tools the simple fact is that in multinational programme implementation problems can still occur, often due to:

  1. Internal Slipups

Small oversights in multinational programme interpretation and implementation have the potential to become magnified when replicated across multiple countries. What is the best way to avoid these and understand the impact of any action before information is communicated?

  1. Regulatory Curveballs

We can probably all name the countries with the more complicated regulation regimes. This complexity requires expert interpretation in the context of international and local markets. Some regulators have a reputation for making changes at short notice (to the frustration of the multinational insurance community). Regulatory updates require monitoring and investigation, to either implement a solution or advise clients that there is no local impact.

The tools above can be powerful components to manage generic aspects of programme implementation but how can they be complemented to deal with these very specific problems?

What really makes the difference is people – that is people with expertise and experience. The ability to resolve complex issues or better still avoid them altogether comes from an in-depth awareness of how to use these tools, deal with international insurance and the application of innovative problem solving.

Development of advanced capability by the insurance industry in guiding customers through multinational programme complexity is essential. The benefits include:

  1. Demonstrating expertise and in turn peace of mind through delivering compliant solutions
  2. Reducing own resource required to resolve issues that have escalated

At the end of the day, the objective of a successful multinational programme is to ensure that claims can be paid compliantly where customers need the proceeds to get their businesses back up and running. This should be the critical success factor of getting a policy issued prior to inception and for this the best in the insurance market deliver through the use of specialised tools, and most importantly, continuously developing people to have the advanced level of expertise to manage the 6 C’s in their international context.

How We Can Help

If you are an operator within the multinational insurance market are you developing this expertise and if so how are you going about this? The complexity (and other C’s) mean the subject matter of multinational programmes does not lend itself to learning solely by slide show, off-the-shelf course or e-learning. It also needs hands-on practical learning through actual situations and case studies.

At MAP Training we have considerable expertise in technical insurance training, and experience in the development of capability to handle multinational programmes. Alex leads our delivery on global and multinational matters.

If you want to discuss this or anything else in this article please do get in touch at

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