Claire Simpson

London must attract new people with new skills if it is to remain as the premier international insurance market.

Competition from other international markets, as well as local insurers, means we have to take every opportunity to widen and improve the diversity of the people who work in London if we are to be relevant and attractive to our global client base.

It’s an area where, as price and product become increasingly commoditised, we can steal a competitive advantage. Omar Zeineldine, one of our terrorism underwriters, calls the ability to speak a client’s language and understand their culture and customs as having an "emotional connection" with them, which could mean the difference between winning a piece of business or losing out to a local market.

If you look at some of the big international opportunities– such as the re-emergence of Iran on the world economic stage, which is the topic of our lead article – then I’d say we can’t afford to wait to reflect that diversity here in London. Of course, changing the business model is also an important element of London adapting to a new climate, and Jade Gradwell’s drive to grow our terrorism e-trading book is an example of how we can break out from the physical constraints of Box underwriting.

We also need to adapt to new market forces so that London continues to attract new business, which is exactly what our Alternative Distribution team is trying to do.

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of Hiscox Global Insight, which includes the usual mix of news, features and stories, including Bobby Read’s look at the darker side of the wine collecting bug, as well as Neil Bolton’s mixed fortunes in trying to live the good life on his own smallholding.