WTW (formerly known as Willis Towers Watson) doubled its new product announcements in 2021, dominating the insurance innovation space and quickly securing the top spot in Advisen’s Pacesetter Index, an annual recognition of product innovation and leadership in the property/casualty insurance industry.
The insurance brokerage giant led the pack early in 2021, introducing 10 new products by the end of June. An additional six announcements made during the rest of the year ultimately clinched the No. 1 spot for the insurance innovator, toppling five-time Pacesetter Award winner AXA XL.
“WTW is delighted to be recognized for our growing investment in innovation. It’s a testament to the resilience and commitment of our colleagues who have remained totally focused on delivering for our clients in these uncertain times,” said Carl Hess, WTW’s CEO, in a statement to Advisen. “While recent events have challenged WTW and our clients alike, our company’s unique perspective and capabilities continue to help organizations achieve success in the face of an ever-changing risk landscape. As we look to the future, this recognition reinforces our credentials and our dedication to delivering innovative and actionable solutions for today’s complex challenges in people, risk, and capital.”
Broker Aon, no stranger to the Pacesetter Index Top 10, retained its No. 2 position with nine product announcements last year.
“Innovation is key to growing as an organization and providing clients with solutions that manage increasing volatility. The value of intangible assets, which are widely misunderstood in capital markets, can support that growth and power innovation,” said Lewis Lee, Aon’s global CEO of intellectual property solutions. “Over the past year, we’ve seen how intellectual property (IP) and intangible assets can be business’ most valuable assets, but also their biggest risks. That is why we are continuing to bring our clients unique solutions that not only protect their intangible assets and IP, but also unlock their value. For example, we worked with brain-assessment device innovator BrainScope in 2021 to complete an IP-based funding arrangement, which provided them with up to $35 million in capital to fund the full expansion of their commercial activities, as well as to develop new clinical applications on their platform. Aon's unique IP solutions are able to provide companies the help to value their intangible assets and IP, giving them greater access to capital so that they can further pursue their growth ambitions without diluting their ownership. We also continue to drive innovation in our IP solutions designed to address the biggest risks associated with IP assets, namely their unexpected loss, transactional challenges, and potential IP liability.”
Even while working on their now-terminated mega-merger, WTW and Aon remained at the forefront of innovation.
Beazley, which climbed up one spot from its 2020 ranking, shares second place with Aon.
“At Beazley we focus on the problems faced by our clients to work out where our innovation efforts will add the most practical value. We have an incubation underwriting team, whose role is to develop and underwrite brand new insurance propositions that the market hasn’t seen before,” said George Beattie, head of incubation underwriting at Beazley. “We also have a product development team, whose role is to evolve our existing product offerings – adding in new services, or making those products available for new industries. At Beazley, product innovation is owned by all of our underwriting teams; this innovation work is largely tactical in nature and is often found in individual deal settings where a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to a client’s problem won’t work. Our plans for the future are to keep delivering practical value to clients by not only evolving our existing solutions but by leading the market in the creation of new solutions facing emerging risks.”
Tying for the third spot are CFC Underwriting and Sapiens, who kept up their momentum by increasing their new product announcements in 2021.
After a five-year winning streak, AXA XL fell to fourth place with seven products tracked, down from a high of 19 new products in 2018; 16 in 2019; and 12 in 2020.
Holding on to fifth place is Chubb, another mainstay in the Pacesetter list, which released six new products last year.
Rounding out the Pacesetter Top 10 are newcomers to the list, Origami Risk and Swiss Re. The two are tied with Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) at five new products introduced in 2021.
The seven Pacesetters that made the Top Five towered over 163 firms that formed part of the 2021 Pacesetter Index. In all, Advisen received 282 new product announcements that were included in Innovation News, a monthly email newsletter published by Advisen, a Zywave Company. Although the number of companies that sent new-product announcements marginally declined in 2021 from 182 firms in 2020, the total number of submissions received or tracked by Advisen increased by 100 compared to 2020 figures.
The Pacesetter Index is Advisen’s annual recognition of product innovation in the P&C insurance industry. Advisen has been recording and publishing new-product announcements since 2008. Firms are ranked by the number of press releases Advisen receives or tracks from each company. A tally of previous years’ rankings follows below.
NEW-PRODUCT CRITERIA & THE ANNUAL PACESETTER RANKING
Our monthly Innovation News contains descriptions of new commercial insurance product offerings and services sent as press releases to Advisen Editors via email@example.com
Our primary focus is on new offerings that expand the array of P&C insurance and risk mitigation options available to insureds. We also have a penchant for including new products that represent marketplace responses to new and old problems and perils that impact insureds.
Office moves, website revisions, and the opening of a new location are not included. One-time offerings, research papers for sale, webinars, and products intended for providers instead of insureds, etc. are also usually excluded. However, exceptions occur when we believe our audience will benefit from the announcement. Mergers and acquisitions are also not included.
2020 TOP 10
1. AXA XL
3. Willis Towers Watson
8. The Hanover
8. Zurich North America
2019 TOP 10
1. AXA XL
5. Everest Insurance
5. The Hanover
7. AIR Worldwide
7. Sompo International
7. Berkshire Hathaway
2018 TOP 10
1. AXA XL
2. Willis Towers Watson
5. Everest Re
8. AIR Worldwide