How can we use digital solutions to make insurance more accessible?

Technology and data help us to underwrite new risks. Thanks to the fast-paced digital revolution, we can create and manage increasing amounts of data and improve our risk insights. This helps us close protection gaps by making insurance products more accessible and affordable.

In this section, we look at Swiss Re’s cyber solutions, satellite-powered parametric insurance schemes and flood modelling.

Anette Bronder - Group Chief Operating Officer

By accelerating the use of technology and data in our industry, we bring millions more people within the insurance safety net.

Anette Bronder

Group Chief Operating Officer

Anette Bronder - Group Chief Operating Officer

Closing protection gaps with
data-driven insurance solutions

From the massive US property market through to smaller emerging economies, millions of people are benefitting from improved technology tools to make their homes and businesses insurable. Find out how Swiss Re is leveraging innovative digital solutions, such as CatNet® to close the protection gap in a growing insurance market.

Each year, floods across the United States cause approximately USD 15 billion in damage. Despite that, just one in six US homes has flood insurance. Finding a way to increase this uptake, in partnership with our insurance clients, will therefore have a big impact on the resilience of businesses and households across the country.

The issue around flood insurance was sourcing the relevant granular data to accurately model the risk. Thankfully, recent advances in technology are helping us to address this challenge. Swiss Re’s inland flood model, developed by our Catastrophe Perils team, is high-resolution and fully probabilistic. It combines detailed hazard information and insurance conditions to support underwriting for flood insurance.


growth in the number of supported flood
programmes 2018 - 2020


potential flood insurance market premiums
in the US

This fully digital solution is easily integrated into our clients’ underwriting processes. The comprehensive dataset and visualisation tools allow clients to model various risks, such as river flood, heavy rainfall and storm surge, at any location across the globe.

This solution is fuelling growth in the market. From 2018 to 2020, we saw a 300% increase in the number of flood programmes that we are supporting. The digital capabilities that have since evolved provide a true end-to-end solution for clients. They can now create their own flood products, develop ratings and underwriting guidelines and are even supported in their regulatory filings.

Digital solutions such as Swiss Re’s global inland flood and storm surge zones are helping the US private flood insurance market move out of its infancy. With an estimated USD 38 billion in potential premiums, there is a strong incentive for insurers to tackle a risk once deemed “uninsurable”.

There is a strong willingness​ to close the flood protection​ gap in the US. We can only​ do this if we deploy smart​ digital solutions that help​ insurers understand risks.

Matt Junge

Head of Property Solutions US & Canada

Supporting emerging market agriculture with satellite technology

Swiss Re entered into a number of public-private partnerships to provide affordable insurance coverage using innovative satellite technologies. Here are three examples from India, Vietnam and the African continent:

In 2020, Swiss Re partnered with the Vietnam National Reinsurer (VINARE) to develop the first index-based rice insurance product adopted within a public scheme by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The cover draws on satellite technologies to measure rice production and damage to fields and then uses an index-based trigger to enable swift payouts through a simplified claims process.

The technology providing the technical data is enabled by RIICE (Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies). This scheme was created through a public-private partnership between the satellite data processing company sarmap, the International Rice Research Institute, the Swiss Agency forDevelopment and Cooperation, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Corporation for International Cooperation) and Swiss Re.

Satellite technologies are proving increasingly useful for public-private insurance partnerships. This is especially so for the agricultural sector, where the costs of assessing losses are a barrier to affordable coverage.

Find out more

In 2020, we created a new parametric insurance structure that covers the Indian state of Nagaland for excess rainfall that can lead to severe flooding.

The coverage is based on a geospatial dataset where rainfall intensity is derived from satellite observation and rain gauges.

By design, the state is divided into multiple regions and a stepped payout feature allocates funds to regions where losses occur and in proportion to the amount of recorded rainfall.

Find out more

The African Risk Capacityʼs Tropical Cyclone cover was another important sovereign programme supported by Swiss Re in 2020.

This work builds on Swiss Reʼs track record of developing innovative solutions for the African continent. We have provided parametric and satellite-based insurance to support the agricultural sector there, as well as forming digital partnerships to create commercial cyber products and telematic solutions for motor insurance.

Swiss Re partners with Microsoft to boost data capabilities

Our partnership with Microsoft puts Swiss Re at the forefront of big data capabilities in the insurance industry. We explore how this enables us to create new ways of doing business.

In March 2020, we announced our partnership with Microsoft to create a Digital Market Center. The Center draws on cutting-edge capabilities across Microsoft’s next-generation Azure cloud technologies, internet of things and artificial intelligence.

This partnership goes beyond insurance. It will enable the development of next-generation, large-scale tools that will transform the way the insurance industry predicts and manages risks. The Center will also create innovative platforms to measure business risks in a digital environment, enabling industries to foster stronger societal resilience. Ultimately, it acts as a digital sixth sense that helps us to understand the ripple effects of risks on society, governments and economies.

For example, the Center’s capabilities enable risk managers to get a data-driven understanding of how the loss of a ship’s cargo or unexpected breakdown may impact entire global supply chains. City planners and developers can also model how natural catastrophes will affect a government’s key infrastructure investments – and create realtime responses in preparation.

Based on these types of data insights, insurers can develop solutions that proactively mitigate losses before they occur.

The first areas of application are planned to be cyber risk, supply chain management, natural catastrophe resilience and connected vehicles and mobility.

Building solutions for cyber risk

Our evolving global digital services are critical for individuals, communities and businesses today. That means it's more important than ever to protect ourselves against the growing threat of cyber crime. Find out how Swiss Re is tackling this unprecedented risk.

Digital communication was the key enabler of business continuity and connectivity during the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, it has also exposed businesses and individuals to increased cyber risks, meaning people need to take steps to better protect themselves and their businesses.

Cybercrime now results in losses of almost USD 1 trillion a year, according to a recent study by security software company McAfee. Cyber insurance market premiums, however, stood at only USD 5.5 billion in 2020, which is modest compared with more established insurance lines.

Easy and customised solutions

To support clients in offering solutions to counter this growing risk, Swiss Reʼs Cyber & Digital Solutions team has developed a comprehensive and customisable cyber insurance product development toolkit for insurers wishing to develop their own cyber insurance offering. The toolkit includes support on policy wording, risk assessment and costing. In order to grow the cyber insurance portfolio sustainably, the Cyber Product Suite also comes with reinsurance capacity included in the package.

The Cyber Product Suite is tailored for small and medium-sized companies that require end-to-end cyber solutions to protect their business, as well as for individuals seeking to protect themselves against this emerging risk class.

Find out more

Affordable private cyber insurance

In August 2020, Swiss Reʼs iptiQ and a leading Dutch financial comparison platform, Independer, announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind cyber insurance proposition for private individuals in the Netherlands. The product provides protection against the most common cyber risks from just EUR 4.10 per month for individuals and families.

Find out more about iptiQ

Cyber combined with home insurance

In 2020, Swiss Re and Alte Leipziger developed and launched a private cyber module as part of their home contents insurance. This gives consumers the opportunity to buy comprehensive protection against cyber risks at a relatively low price. The produce even includes professional support for young people against cyberbullying.

Find out more


sustainability report 2020

Sustainability Report 2020

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