Describing her role as Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Casualty at XL Catlin, Nancy Bewlay noted that there is only “a little bit of the classic” role—in other words, the role of making calls on the toughest risks that get pushed up a chain of authority for an individual underwriting decision.

This interview took place in January, before the Mar. 5 announcement that AXA would acquire XL Group.
“We have the classic chief underwriting officer who’s embedded within the casualty group who really focuses on the technical underwriting theme—that referral underwriter.”

A key responsibility for Bewlay involves managing the entire casualty portfolio rather than vetting individual risks—”looking at all of our liability regime to say where are we underserved, overserved, most effective, and trying to balance how XL Catlin deploys its capital within the casualty marketplaces globally.”

“There will be times that risks are referred up to me. But the focus of my role really is to build a common casualty framework across all of our casualty divisions globally,” she said. “The focus is on innovation—innovating how we work, innovating our technical process. Also, looking at challenging how have we operated in the past and how can we now operate in what we say is today’s environment and then the future environment of casualty because it’s changing—the risk landscape is changing so quickly, and technology is changing so quickly.”

“At the same time, I look to coordinate a common framework of how we do product development and how we implement global products [in] a globally connected world,” she added. With technology making “everything real time and present and interconnected,” insurance products should work the same way, she suggested. “Historically, we’ve had all of these siloed products, but now when you look at the sharing economy and you look at the customer needs, they need us to evolve in how we’re responding to their market.”

Summing up, Bewlay said: “For me, when I think about my role and about the chief underwriting officer role [generally], to be relevant, you really have to be one that looks beyond just the underwriting…When you’re looking at [a certain] technology, [you’re] looking at it holistically and figuring out, if we bring it in, how does that improve my underwriting, my claims handling, my enterprise risk management, my legal.”

“It’s really breaking away from the traditional way of keeping all the parts of the business siloed and pulling them all together. What you can build using technology allows you to do that,” she said.