The future of specialty in a global market

Expert advice Global Specialty Lines

Both specialty and risk management in general are evolving – the last five years have seen an increase in the number of industry players. Many of these players will be tested by the volatility of results in their book of busi¬ness, net and gross line impacts to capacity plays, and, of course, increased regulatory and rating agency scrutiny. The last is especially important as it pertains to underwriting rigour, solvency on a return-period basis and the ability of enterprise risk management to identify and address emerging operational risk. Operational excellence is also key, particularly in the face of increasing digitization.

Now is the time for insurers to re-evaluate their roles in specialty and risk management and shift the dialogue from being a capacity player to a strategic partner across all segments of business.

Growth in specialty lines 
RSA Canada, like other insurers in the specialty sector, has experienced considerable growth across its global speciality lines [GSL]. One path to success has involved breaking out of the traditional silos between specialty divisions to leverage each more effectively. In the GSL context, this means putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients, adopting their worldview and then underwriting the important details. This is more powerful and effective than attempting to create a ‘forced fit’ insurance solution.

“We have to look at the enterprise risk management of the insured holistically to more adequately and elegantly create solutions for brokers that are relevant to our clients,” says Yvonne Steiner, head of global specialty lines at RSA Canada. “We approach this by ensuring that good local standards in all regions are well understood, especially as they differentiate from master policies. Having an industry-wide knowledge of differentiated business models creates a differentiated view into Canada. The global benchmark and business model view is necessary to meet business objectives.”

Building on the success of RSA’s personal insurance, mid-market, SME and large commer¬cial lines, the growth potential for GSL is immense. According to Steiner, RSA is nearing the 50% of the CI volume in its GSL portfolio. The opportunity for insurers will be based on their willingness to expand their portfolio and accrue more knowledge across the different disciplines within specialty lines.

The role of the GSL broker 
Brokers have an important role to play in the growth of the specialty sector. Not only do they inform the development of various markets’ offerings, but they also work to strategically meet the needs of everyone at the table and can help identify the best opportunities for the client.

The future success of the GSL sector is bright, buoyed by innovative approaches to under¬writing new and emerging risks and building bench strength of industry-leading subject-matter experts. Collaboration across all sectors of the business is key, as it is always possible to learn more – especially from the personal insur¬ance side, SME and mid-market sectors – about how to evolve, transform and remain relevant in an era of constant adaptation. To learn more, visit

This article originally appeared in Insurance Business Magazine.