VIEW: On the importance of local expertise, globally

There has long been a tension between the local and the global within multinational firms; and in recent years the latest front in this war within insurance has seen the development of more multinational policies. Driven by the desire of large global clients to buy insurance on a single global basis, this approach delivers great benefits to clients and insurers, but also requires significant global claims handling scale.

Many insurers now have multinational claims specialists, working out of hubs, from where international insurers will fly in to direct the work of local claims teams, in effect enforcing global standards through a policing and standards network. All well and good, but now that the world has changed and business travel is no longer possible, how can and should we adjust the management of multinational claims; and should clients and insurers reconsider how best to direct them?

For me the answer is simple, because it is something that GILC have been working on for the last few years. Setting up our global legal network three years ago, we took a radically different approach, based on our belief that when supplying insurer-specific legal services on a global basis, the key is the presence of a true local expert. While it doesn’t do away with the need for a central client relationship; the presence of local expertise does allow insurers to trust in claims handling (and legal services) based on the ground. Such trust can bring great benefits; in the form of solutions that make use of local arbitration panels, and claims handling that is based in a true understanding of local laws and policies.

In these times of restricted travel, it also allows the continuation of high-standard international claims handling, driven successfully at a local level. Is it possible that COVID-19 will force all international firms to reconsider and adopt this approach? Would it be a disaster if they did? With our experience in mind, in view the answer is no. Let’s consider COVID-19 a wake-up call. Perhaps we can create a cultural shift which is not only effective, but also better for our clients, our planet and global health preservation

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