CHRISTOS GAVRIEL. Renaissance Insurance Brokers insurance re-invented
Renaissance Insurance Brokers is little known among the Russian-speaking audience on our island and this was the main factor that we decided to make material about their unique insurance products, most of which are generally do not exist on the insurance market of our island and to tell our readers about their unique products.
The company is an affiliate partner of the world famous insurance community Lloyd’s of London, whose portfolio includes a huge number of unique and most expensive risks in the world (this is where Celine Dion’s voice, Brooke Shields and Tina Turner’s legs and many others are insured).
Renaissance Insurance Brokers “team of professionals analyzes clients” risks and develops individual insurance programs, most of which are unique in the Cyprus insurance market, it is a kind of insurance supermarket for businesses and professionals. The company’s clients include importers and exporters, distributors, logistics service providers, food and FMCG manufacturers, educational and healthcare institutions, hi-tech and large construction companies. Clients are given access to local and international markets to provide any innovative and cost-effective solutions.
Renaissance Insurance Brokers knows which insurance company specializes in the sector the client needs and takes action very quickly to resolve claims quickly and fairly.
We talked about what services the company provides for private clients with the managing director of the company Christos Gabriel.
Please tell us about the background of Renaissance Insurance Brokers
Renaissance Insurance Brokers was founded in Cyprus in 2008 to re-invent insurance for businesses and professionals. So, we named the company symbolically (Renaissance meaning Rebirth) to act as a reminder of our vision; to be a continuous force of positive change in insurance. When we started, we soon realized that the problems our prospective clients faced in Cyprus were common globally so we transformed our business model to reflect that and have since gone from strength to strength.
Tell us about the main products and services you are offering to your client
Our firm is a one-stop-shop for the insurance needs of businesses, professionals and high-net worth individuals/ family offices. For these types of clients, we provide risk and insurance advice to establish their needs, we place their insurance programs globally and we sit on their side of the table when they need to negotiate an insurance claim.
Even though most of our clients initially approach us for advice and risk expertise, the relationship gradually transforms into a full out-sourcing solution, which includes General Insurance (i.e. Property, Liability, Marine, Transport), Employee Benefits (e.g. Group Private Health Insurance) and solutions for new age risks such as Cyber-crime, Pandemics and Geopolitics, including War.
What makes you different from other insurance brokers in Cyprus?
Our main differentiators are expertise, market access and culture.
Our firm was a pioneer of the profession in Cyprus, but has evolved to be significantly larger than any local competitor mainly due to our culture. Every broker claims to have a “client first” mentality, but the difference in our case is that we have built that into our business by ensuring that our clients talk to one person for all their needs and that person is a specialist in their field.
Another key differentiator is market access. Our firm is licensed to place insurance across the European Union and is also the only Lloyd’s Broker operating in the Cypriot market. Direct access to European insurers and Lloyd’s, the world’s most diverse and specialist insurance market, helps us structure wider insurance coverage and with lower cost than if we only used the Cyprus insurance market. This is complemented by our membership in Brokerslink, a broker network with presence in more than 100 countries, which allows us to service Cyprus-based multinationals globally.
What advantages does the client have if buying the policy from insurance broker?
It is a legal obligation of every broker to work for the client and not for the insurance company. Effectively a true insurance broker is an insurance buyer and not an insurance seller. In this respect, any client that uses a broker benefits from the broker’s expertise in arranging a specialist financial product, i.e. insurance, the broker’s experience in negotiating insurance claims and its purchasing power in the insurance market.
What is today’s client looking for?
We serve various types of clients from multinationals to Cypriot companies, from professionals to financial institutions, from high income earners to family offices. Depending on their needs they may be looking for a variety of things but if I were to sum it up to just a couple, I would be inclined to say trust and value. The insurance industry has traditionally not treated clients with the level of professionalism expected and most of our new clients’ top priority is to find a trusted insurance advisor.
Also because of the cyclicality of the insurance industry and the complex nature of insurance products it is common to see clients overpaying for insurance coverage or buying insufficient coverage because no one advised them appropriately. Our loyal clients traditionally stay with us because they appreciate the added value that comes from the combination of peace of mind at competitive cost.
Who is the better client for you private individuals or corporations?
Both types of clients are valuable to us. On private individuals we focus on high-net worth individuals and family offices. Most corporate clients and professional firms are ultimately owned by such individuals or families. So, our business model caters for the needs of both in a one-stop-approach.
Tell us the main insurance products you offer to your private clients and corporate clients
Both our private and corporate clients have a one-stop access to any insurance product they need.
On private clients our business focuses on high-net-worth individuals, family offices and high-income earners and available solutions range from asset protection (e.g. high-value home, yacht, art, private jet insurance, etc.) to family protection coverage such as high limit Life insurance and Kidnap & Ransom insurance.
On businesses, professionals and financial institutions we can arrange solutions for any insurable risk like Directors’ & Officers’ Liability, Public & Product Liability, Property, Construction, Marine, Professional & Fiduciary Liability, Employee Benefits, including new age risks such as Cyber and Crime.
On both segments our main aim is to be the trusted risk advisor that helps clients buy the insurance they need, if they actually need it.
What is the main segment of business your company is focusing on?
We segment our business into 3 practices:
- Corporate: Advising businesses in all sectors of the economy, including Cyprus-based multinationals
- Professions & Financial Institutions: Advising professionals such as lawyers, accountants and corporate service providers as well as banks, forex companies, funds and other financial institutions
- Private Client & Specialty: Focusing on high-net-worth individuals, high income families, professional sports teams, event organizers and pure e-businesses.
All practices are supported by our centralized Operations team, which creates and maintains the environment and infrastructure to run our business.
What do you see as the main challenges facing brokers and insurers in the current climate?
The insurance industry has an element of cyclicality; long periods of soft rates and short periods of hard rates. The Covid-19 pandemic coincided (and perhaps catalyzed) the end of a very long soft market period. Insurers are caught with long-term losses at a time when interest rates are at all time low and this is bringing about upward rate pressure. For insurers it’s a matter of survival. For brokers the challenge is to minimize the impact of the hard market for clients in a very strange trading environment. For example, most London insurance underwriters have been working from home since March!
Apart from the hard market and Covid-19 long-term disrupting trends such as digitization and consolidation as well as emerging risks such as Cyber, geopolitics and climate change are constantly transforming clients’ needs and insurers’ capabilities.
It is definitely a very challenging environment but also exciting environment. We have the chance daily to show our clients why we exist, and this is both motivating and rewarding.
What’s your prediction for the future of the insurance industry – let’s say in 10 years
I have been following predictions for the insurance industry for the last 20 years. In year 2000 people were predicting that the internet would soon wipe out insurance intermediaries and that direct insurance would dominate. As a risk and insurance student I was a bit concerned at the time! In the end direct insurance has come to dominate commoditized insurance such as third-party car insurance, but not the space where clients have specialist insurance needs.
Knowing that I am probably falling into a similar trap by predicting how the insurance industry will look in 2030, my feeling is that our industry will be much more differentiated. There will be country-based insurers insuring small commoditized risks over the internet, fewer large insurers operating globally and insuring major risks, and some niche regional insurers doing a combination of both. I really hope insurers will manage to become less bureaucratic in paying clients’ claims in this interval!
As far as insurance brokers are concerned, our profession will definitely become more globalized and more specialist. The brokers that will succeed are the ones that will overcome national and language barriers, embrace change and technology and evolve as risk advisors and facilitators of value-adding insurance.
tel.: 22 311 662