U.K. Office Creates a Workplace That Welcomes All
Above all, we will continue to enhance and embed DEI processes wherever possible and provide tools to empower our workforce.
For people to thrive, they must be allowed and encouraged to express and to discover their true selves. For an organization to thrive, it must therefore foster a comfortable and safe environment where all people, including those whose background and beliefs may be underrepresented, feel they belong and can advance.
RGA understands this reality and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout its global enterprise. At RGA UK, we have embraced this company-wide mandate with full support from our local leadership. Together we have implemented awareness initiatives, created affinity groups, and are integrating DEI into all aspects of our work.
This enhanced focus on DEI at RGA UK took shape over a period of years, growing out of an initiative to establish mental health as a workplace priority. Success in this area of employee well-being taught us the value of serving the needs of the whole person, and momentum built from there.
Formal and informal efforts around gender equity, LGBTQ+ support, and other DEI-related issues followed. After working with dedicated teams at all levels of our local organization to build out our strategy, we entered execution mode in 2021 and accomplished a great deal. Notable achievements among many include the following:
- Received the Gold award in the 2020-2021 Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index for successfully embedding mental health wellness into policies and practices.
- Moved up more than 200 places since 2020 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool to measure progress in LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace.
- Developed a formal policy for transgender inclusion and gender transitioning at work.
- Committed to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Making Flexible Work Charter.
- Committed to hire our first intern as part of the 10,000 Black Interns Programme.
- Implemented training in inclusive management and unconscious bias.
- Organized a webinar for RGA EMEA on inclusivity in the insurance sector.
Looking ahead, we plan to pursue strategic goals around building awareness, ensuring an inclusive workplace and workforce, and fostering an engaging community. We intend to build on our success from 2021 to accomplish even more in the coming years across the full spectrum of DEI issues, including challenges around age, gender, ethnicity, and social mobility. We understand that to make real progress we must be able measure it and will be initiating a data collection campaign to make that possible.
Above all, we will continue to enhance and embed DEI processes wherever possible and provide tools to empower our workforce. From the highest levels of the company, DEI is a genuine commitment at RGA, and in the U.K. we want to help inspire progress.
Partnership Approach Brings Success for GFS in the Netherlands
In 2021, years of working with our Dutch insurance company partners paid off. The GFS EMEA and RGA Netherlands teams, working seamlessly together, executed three large longevity transactions, covering more than €14 billion in underlying reserves.
RGA’s Global Financial Solutions (GFS) team doesn’t just make deals; we build partnerships. Our business focuses on large, complex financial transactions that require a long-term commitment to our clients and to the market. Such transactions do not happen overnight, but demand months and often years of working closely with clients to understand their unique challenges and then leveraging our deep experience and expertise to create the best possible solutions.
In 2021, years of working with our Dutch insurance company partners paid off. The GFS EMEA and RGA Netherlands teams, working seamlessly together, executed three large longevity transactions, covering more than €14 billion in underlying reserves. This remarkable success came about due to three primary factors: a long-term commitment to the Dutch market, established longevity expertise developed globally, and the execution certainty RGA brings to every transaction.
RGA has enjoyed a strong local presence in the Netherlands for more than a decade. In that time, we have formed a talented, dedicated team with a detailed understanding of the market, the underlying liabilities, and the regulatory landscape. We bring a deep knowledge of the challenges our Dutch clients face so we can anticipate their capital optimization needs. Perhaps most importantly, we have developed close relationships with insurers in the Netherlands and become trusted partners.
RGA executed its first longevity transaction in the U.K. in 2008 and has since leveraged established longevity expertise in markets in Europe and North America. The GFS team completed its first longevity transaction in the Netherlands in 2014, but opportunities remained limited in the years that followed. The market opened up for RGA in 2021 and could offer more opportunities moving forward. The new national pension agreement, now being implemented after 10 years of development, could trigger more pension buy-outs as companies seek to transfer closed blocks of pension liabilities to insurers. RGA sees the market potential and is investing resources in the Netherlands to serve our clients as the business environment evolves.
In addition to local knowledge and longevity expertise, what truly differentiates RGA is our ability to do what it takes to deliver a solution. When issues come up in the course of executing a transaction, from simple contract wording changes to incorporating more complex features, we work to accommodate our clients’ needs. Most importantly, RGA is a reliable counterparty. We align ourselves with our clients’ long-term strategy and stand by our commitments to our partners.
After an exceptional year in 2021, the GFS team in the Netherlands and around the world is well-positioned to build on our success in the years to come.
Strong Local Commitment Produces Holistic Client Solutions
RGA solidified its position as a product development leader in the Asia Pacific region, harnessing our full spectrum of capabilities to move our clients and the industry forward.
Innovation in product development has long been a core strength and a differentiating factor in why clients choose to partner with RGA Asia Pacific. Our teams leverage a strong local presence in every market we serve to get to know our clients and to understand their business needs in depth. We then combine our core reinsurance expertise with advances in digitalization, data analytics, and new ways of thinking to create holistic, consumer-focused solutions.
Below are two examples among many from 2021 that illustrate how RGA solidified its position as a product development leader in the Asia Pacific region, harnessing our full spectrum of capabilities to move our clients and the industry forward.
Innovation Leads to More Innovation – and More Business – in Korea
In recent years, RGA Korea has partnered with one of the market’s leading insurers on a range of innovations. In 2021, RGA built on that partnership and is currently developing two innovative risk scoring models, IRS (Insurance Risk Score) and HRS (Health Risk Score), for that client. RGA combines underwriting and data analytics expertise with external data such as credit information and medical checkup records. We expect the new risk scoring models will help the client achieve sustainable business growth by providing a more predictable risk management framework and increasing sales through a streamlined underwriting process.
Based on this success, along with extensive market research conducted by RGA to identify emerging opportunities for our client, we formed a strategic “bulk deal” partnership in which RGA will serve as co-creator of our client’s future innovation projects. As part of the arrangement, RGA will reinsure new and recurring business as well as renewable in-force business as it becomes available.
RGA Changes the Game for Retirees in Singapore
The RGA Southeast Asia team sought to address a growing market need in Singapore: the uncertainty of post-retirement medical insurance and the cost of premiums. The solution was dubbed the “Retirement Game Changer,” a hybrid life and medical product that provides policyholders:
- A safety net for medical expenses after retirement by drawing down on mortality cover.
- Peace of mind about future medical premiums via a limited premium-paying period.
- Death and terminal Illness coverage, with deferred medical benefits starting from customers’ selected retirement age.
Because the product was a novel proposition, RGA supported our clients in all aspects of implementation, including advising on risk controls for hybrid life and accelerated medical risks. We brought market insights and concept validation by conducting our RGA Future of Retirement Product Survey in Singapore and by applying RGA’s behavioral science expertise. The result was a comprehensive protection solution that enabled insurers in Singapore to strengthen its population’s retirement planning.
Knowledge Sharing Grows Business and Builds Trust
RGA has become a trusted partner and a leading source of valuable insights, both for our clients and for the industry.
RGA has long been recognized for its industry-leading expertise in life and health reinsurance. Our company’s nearly 50-year track record of success has been built on the ability of RGA subject matter experts – from underwriters and actuaries to claims analysts and data scientists – to work closely with clients, get to know their businesses, and together create innovative solutions. In the process, RGA has become a trusted partner and a leading source of valuable insights, both for our clients and for the industry.
This work has taken on added importance throughout the pandemic, with RGA playing an instrumental role in helping insurers respond to the many unknowns of COVID-19 and its impact. Subject matter experts in areas such as medical risk assessment, digital distribution, and product pricing have provided advice and insights into how the disease could affect all aspects of insurance. Meanwhile, as part of an ongoing, enterprise-wide thought leadership program, RGA’s steady stream of knowledge-sharing on other important industry issues and future-focused solutions has continued unabated.
In 2021, to make up for limitations on in-person meetings and events, our thought leaders produced hundreds of webcasts, videos, and articles, as well as a range of newsletters, podcasts, and in-depth white papers. RGA sponsored and provided featured presenters for major industry conferences and hosted our own virtual events, such as the Global Client Actuarial Seminar and the 9th Annual RGA Fraud Conference. To benchmark industry trends, our research team conducted local, regional, and global surveys and issued a landmark series of reports on insurers’ current activities and future plans related to wellness, genetics, and eldercare.
RGAX built on its role as a transformation engine for the insurance industry through a variety of thought leadership initiatives in 2021. The Technovate webinar series inspired discussions around the impacts of technology and innovation on the life insurance industry, with topics ranging from data protection to wearable devices. An integrated “Future of Healthcare” multimedia campaign in EMEA provided engaging content on three trending topics: eldercare, digitization, and behavioral science. A collaboration among RGA, RGAX, RGA subsidiary TAI, and industry partner MIB produced a successful communications campaign around jumbo policy violations and a new shared solution to prevent them.
For the sixth consecutive year, ceding companies ranked RGA #1 in thought leadership and knowledge on NMG Consulting’s Global Life & Health Reinsurance Study. We intend to build on this success and have integrated thought leadership into our enterprise strategy so that RGA remains a trusted source of actionable insights for our clients and the industry.
Redefining Facultative Underwriting in the Ecosystem Era
At RGA, we seek partners who are willing to reimagine the familiar, rethink data collection methods, and refine risk assessment practices – all in the interests of bringing affordable financial protection to more people.
New data sources and technologies applied throughout the insurance process are connecting companies in new and unanticipated ways. In the area of underwriting, we have seen industry dynamics completely redefined. Insurers are taking a thorough look at how underwriting works within their businesses, determining areas that could benefit from greater support, and identifying the best partners to provide it. RGA’s U.S. underwriting team has developed a strategy to help clients navigate this new ecosystem environment, guided by these four principles:
1. Connection matters.
Established insurers, new insurtech entrants, reinsurers, and other players are sharing underwriting data, insights, and capabilities to fast-track innovation, adapt to change, and deliver more personalized customer care. Yet many insurers are held back by issues with capacity, legacy systems, and processing speed. RGA has developed an end-to-end suite of underwriting services designed to draw on our traditional facultative expertise and respond to these insurer pain points.
2. Expertise matters.
Underwriting’s ongoing transformation has not lessened the importance of the expert facultative review. In fact, RGA reviewed a record number of facultative cases in the U.S. in 2021. We are doubling down on facultative underwriting as central to our value proposition, introducing new technologies and efficiencies to the process. In 2021, we partnered with insurers to develop a market-first Precision Calculator for best-in-class risk calculation and launched a FAC Optimization solution that integrates machine learning, optical character recognition, and natural language processing technology into the facultative underwriting process.
3. Innovation is more than either/or.
When it comes to the question of innovation, the answer is not either/or; it is both/and. Facultative underwriters must be capable of both technical excellence and experimentation; of both providing rigorous case review and challenging the status quo. We believe it is time to break away from labels that can constrict the industry artificially and to redefine what “facultative” means. RGA is expanding our role within the industry ecosystem by applying underwriting expertise throughout the entire insurance process, creating a holistic portfolio of products and services to deliver greater value.
4. Partnership cannot become a platitude.
When partners look out for each others’ best interests, everybody wins. At RGA, our clients are at the center of everything we do. We have embraced a vendor-agnostic approach, allowing insurer-partners to find the right tool within the broader ecosystem to meet their specific needs. This necessitates a deep understanding of the data tools landscape and best-in-class capabilities, and a willingness to make the insurer’s success the primary goal. We provide a full range of on-demand solutions and are willing to assume the risk, but only as determined by each client.
RGA seeks partners who are willing to reimagine the familiar, rethink data collection methods, and refine risk assessment practices – all in the interests of bringing affordable financial protection to more people. The old model demands re-invention. Future success demands a meaningful, scalable, and material system of supports – an underwriting ecosystem for the future.
Changing Perceptions and Roles for Insurance Medical Directors
To keep up with the pace of change, our medical teams have adopted a transformational mindset and immersed themselves more deeply within all aspects of the business.
The COVID-19 pandemic and competitive pressure continue to reshape the role of medical directors (MDs) in the life and health insurance industry. The need for medical and data analytics expertise is greater than ever as insurers face complex underwriting and claims case management challenges, as well as rapid digital transformation. Additionally, MDs are playing a greater role in executive advisement and key business decision-making.
To learn about the evolving role of physician-leaders in the pandemic era, RGA conducted a first-of-its-kind global survey of 124 insurance MDs from 84 companies in 2021. The report, first published in the February 2022 issue of the Journal of Insurance Medicine, is available here.
Survey results revealed that:
- 70% of MDs dedicate most of their time to providing technical medical expertise.
- More than half reported that their responsibilities and influence increased in the last two years.
- Three in five (60%) reported a shift in underwriting to an emphasis on more competitive decisions, e-underwriting, and data analytics.
- 35% reported a shift to more claims decisions being challenged and increasing complexity of claims and products.
- Only 31% regularly offer their expertise to aid in product development.
- Half of MDs (50%) prioritized data and analytics skills as a key to future professional growth.
Expert medical insight is indispensable in the current competitive environment. RGA MDs across the globe have played an instrumental role in helping our organization, our clients, and the insurance industry respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing evolution of medical science. To keep up with the pace of change, our medical teams have adopted a transformational mindset and immersed themselves more deeply within all aspects of the business.
In 2021, RGA doctors continued to closely monitor the latest mortality and morbidity outcomes, trends, and developments across all regions, informing everything from traditional underwriting and claims guidance to digital product development. Our collective medical expertise, which covers a broad spectrum of specialties, helped advance the work of not only RGA and our clients, but also the industry as a whole. Through a range of knowledge-sharing activities, including industry events, webinars, research papers, and articles, RGA MDs provided valuable learnings and informed perspectives for insurers seeking to navigate a dynamic business environment.
The growing demand for medical expertise, reflected in both our global MD survey and RGA’s own interactions with clients, will continue to expand the breadth of responsibilities and depth of involvement for insurance MDs. At RGA, we welcome this challenge and are committed to building on RGA’s status as a trusted, forward-thinking leader in delivering actionable medical insights.
Collaborative Investment Approach Fuels Client Solutions
RGA Investments and Global Financial Solutions (GFS) worked closely together in the successful execution of the transaction, which required an extended process to work through the client’s specific capital and risk management objectives.
In addition to working to secure and build the financial strength of the company, RGA Investments operates as an integral strategic partner in enabling business growth. We collaborate across the many teams within Investments and with colleagues throughout the RGA organization to facilitate transactions and achieve shared goals. Ultimately, our work is directed toward one primary objective: empowering RGA’s ability to deliver client solutions.
In 2021, RGA executed an asset-intensive transaction with a major member-owned fraternal financial services organization in the U.S. to reinsure a seasoned block of annuity business. RGA Investments and Global Financial Solutions (GFS) worked closely together in the successful execution of the transaction, which required an extended process to work through the client’s specific capital and risk management objectives.
The transaction demonstrated the value of RGA’s collaborative, client-focused approach and the breadth of capabilities across our Investments teams:
- Investment Solutions – led and cohesively orchestrated Investments’ efforts; developed and successfully executed an innovative investment strategy including the use of derivatives and tactical investments to make the transaction work.
- Credit Research – conducted extensive bottoms-up research on individual credits to be included in an innovative derivative strategy to achieve incremental yield.
- ReCap, RGA’s commercial mortgage loan and real estate group – evaluated $400 million in real estate assets, physically inspecting more than 100 properties and reviewing related loan documentation.
- Global Portfolio Management/Structured Products – partnered with a specialty asset manager to enable investment in a competitive asset class.
- Derivative Operations – supported the derivative strategy implementation and onboarded a new counterparty.
- Investment Risk – analyzed the risks and stress-tested key elements of the transaction.
- Investment Operations – set up a new structure and new processes for documenting information and sharing data among parties to facilitate a long-term partnership with our client.
A total team effort from Investments provided GFS with the support they needed to tailor a mutually beneficial transaction for RGA and our client partner.
Strengthened Commitment to Combat Climate Change
The collective insight and ingenuity of the insurance industry, working with the broader global community, will be key to assessing and responding to climate change and its implications.
A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued in February 2022 revealed that the changing climate is harming the planet faster than we can adapt. Humanity is facing perhaps the largest and most important health hazard in its history.
The life and health insurance industry has a significant role to play in mitigating the damage, starting with establishing a culture and awareness that will ultimately guide customers and applicants toward reducing their carbon footprints. In 2021, RGA took an important step in leading by example, pledging to make our operations net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2026.
RGA, a member of The Geneva Association’s Task Force on Climate Change Risk Assessment for the Insurance Industry, is committed to environmental sustainability. As a member, we are responsible for sharing our research approach, which relies on the latest scientific findings and actuarial analysis covering multiple risk categories. Our network of experts monitors emerging experience, evaluates scenarios, and identifies factors that may influence the economic and physical health of populations decades into the future.
RGA’s most recent reports about climate change and its implications on the insurance industry can be read here and here. The issues discussed in these reports impact everything from product design, pricing, in-force management, and underwriting new business, to operating models, risk management practices, and investment assets.
The collective insight and ingenuity of the insurance industry, working with the broader global community, will be key to assessing and responding to climate change and its implications. As a global life and health reinsurer, RGA understands we have a unique and important role to play in shaping the conversation around this urgent issue. We are in the process of producing our first annual TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) report in 2022 and are working to advance sustainability initiatives across the company. Together with our industry partners, we are embracing the opportunity and the responsibility we have to protect the health of the planet we share.
Partnerships Fuel Digital Distribution Success
Strategic partnerships help keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, enabling the creation of meaningful products and solutions that fulfill our purpose to make financial protection accessible to all.
The old adage, “insurance is sold, not bought,” remains true today. The insurance industry is trying to overcome this long-standing challenge by testing new ways to make life insurance offerings more attractive, more engaging, more conversational, and more relevant. Digital distribution strategies powered by mutually beneficial partnerships within an expanding insurance ecosystem may hold the key.
In 2021, RGA EMEA partnered with various digital distributors and insurtechs to execute a number of projects and conduct future-focused digital experimentation, both within the region and globally. These activities revealed the following lessons:
- Paid traffic is expensive and generates low return on investment. Therefore, insurers and insurtechs must find ways to attract organic traffic to their sites. Relevant content production and an understanding of what types of content and messaging drive conversions are essential, which is a key area of focus within RGAX EMEA’s digital distribution initiative Money for Them.
- User experience is fundamental to success. We’ve seen that making simple improvements to the customer journey can make a significant difference in conversion rates. One example of this, which we observed via Money for Them, is that repositioning the call-to-action button to ensure it is always visible across devices can improve conversion rates two-fold. Similarly, incorporating behavioral science to improve choice architecture within a digital experience can prove invaluable.
- Product design is important. Products need to be easy to understand to gain traction in the digital world. Additionally, the more emotive a product is – that is, the more people can connect to a product on an emotional level – the higher the conversions. For example, an RGAX insurtech partner launched its most successful product to date: a digitally distributed cancer coverage that is both easy to understand and easy to relate to – everyone knows someone who has suffered with cancer.
- People do not always realize how much or what type of cover they need. Needs analysis tools within the digital journey help customers make the decision to purchase. In Canada, RGA and RGAX partnered with an insurer and a digital life insurance advisor to successfully integrate a financial needs analysis tool within a digital journey, leading to improved conversions and greater consumer engagement than simple aggregator sites.
Partnerships such these are key to RGA gaining a deep understanding of what customers need and how they make decisions. They also help keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, enabling the creation of meaningful products and solutions that fulfill our purpose to make financial protection accessible to all.
Delivering Value Beyond Reinsurance
RGA’s relationship-focused, goal-oriented approach enables deep strategic understanding of clients’ needs and creates new opportunities to grow their businesses, delivering value beyond reinsurance protection.
RGA understands that strong partnerships fuel long-term success, both for RGA and for our clients. Such partnerships begin with trust – trust that we will do everything we can to not only meet our clients’ expectations, but to exceed them. RGA’s relationship-focused, goal-oriented approach enables deep strategic understanding of clients’ needs and creates new opportunities to grow their businesses, delivering value beyond reinsurance protection.
In 2021, RGA Canada’s commitment to value-driven partnerships was exemplified by our group team’s successful collaboration with a major insurer. The client was looking to optimize its long-term disability portfolio and sought expert consultation as well as reinsurance support. We seized the opportunity, applied the deep expertise of a multidisciplinary RGA team, and developed a comprehensive, full-service solution.
Building upon a framework of services requested by the client, our teams took the project several steps further, offering a range of possibilities for adding, reprioritizing, and modifying services – from underwriting guidance to claims management – and building a roadmap for execution. After having demonstrated our strong capabilities in other lines of business, the client was eager to work with RGA Canada and reinsure its group business for the first time ever. Once again, we delivered on our promise and were awarded the client’s reinsurance business.
RGA experts worked alongside client teams, providing fresh perspectives to complement the client’s deep knowledge of their own business. Multi-level communications and cross-functional collaboration enabled tailored solutions, such as a joint underwriting and pricing report with numerous recommendations that was key to the project’s success. In the end, the project roadmap proved accurate, with all major milestones achieved on schedule.
As RGA Canada celebrates 30 years in business in 2022, we remain committed to bringing added value to our partners, which has fueled our success from the very beginning.