Atlas Magazine April 2016

The farewell waltz*

An unprecedented movement is shaking the business. Insurers, reinsurers and major brokers are affected by moves of departures and arrivals that are picking up month after month.

While the profits made are more than satisfactory, and as the industry is exhibiting a high degree of resilience, withstanding crises, big bosses are quitting or rather obliged to quit one after the other. It is as if yesterday’s masters and icons are leaving a business that is ravaged by some kind of a disease for which they could provide no remedy.

The search for another trend, non-renewal of terms, induced departure, retirement, resignation, need for rest, weariness, all excuses invoked are acceptable.

In fact, such simultaneous moves, of unprecedented scale, are heralding the end of a cycle, of some kind of insurance. The likes of Henri de Castries (Axa), Von Bomhard (Munich Re), Michel Lies (Swiss Re), Tidjane Thiam (Ex-Prudential) and others have sustained a project that came to a close.

The voluntary nature of these departures is a good sign, though. It is living proof that the first leaders, themselves, acknowledge the need for renewal and pay for it.

Insurance business is entering a new era with new aims, another organization and a different kind of governance. It is a new model which is implemented and which requires new engines of development.

It is now up to the new generation to fulfill the change and to meet the shareholders’ requirements, that is, ensuring the sustainability and profitability of the business in a hyper digitized competitive international environment.

*Title of a renowned Czech novel by Milan Kundera

Atlas Magazine N°130, April 2016

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