Aviva GI CEO Colm Holmes on its British Insurance Awards success

After being crowned general insurer of the year at the British Insurance Awards in July, Aviva’s UK general insurance CEO Colm Holmes sat down with Post content director Jonathan Swift to discuss its “social purpose” and how – as a business – it is helping customers defy uncertainty.

“We looked at the role of insurance during the 320 years that Aviva has been around, and concluded it is to look at the uncertainty in people’s lives and help them manage it,” Holmes explained.

“To help them sleep easily and put their minds at rest, whether they suffer illness or are planning for retirement, through to having a car accident or a suffering a flood at their home. How can we help each of these constituent customers to get on with their lives and run their businesses after an unfortunate event?

“And that is at the heart of what we do. How do we defy uncertainty, whether it is for a personal or corporate customer? And what we need to build to help them satisfy that?

Holmes continued: “That meant we have spent a lot more time looking at the products we had in the market and investing most heavily in simplifying them and introducing a change in how we view risk.

“And so we now speak a lot less about underwriting risk, and instead risk management by using a lot more technologies such as [digital water detector] Leak Bot and [security system] Cocoon for instance, because when all is said and done, customers will tell you that they wish they had not had the event in the first place.

“But we do recognise that when an event does take place, it is important we react very quickly and deliver what they are looking for. And to deal with issues that have existed in the market for years such as underinsurance and the inability to get the right levels of cover.”

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