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Issue 07 / October 2015

How Mars manages its insurance programmes

At a glance
  • Changed broker for domestic and international insurance after 40+ years
  • Planning to RFP global property insurance programme after 30+ years with single carrier
  • Wants to smooth out pricing peaks and troughs rather than push for a rock-bottom rate in soft market
The corporation is more focused on its long-term insurance-buying strategy than whether the market is soft or hard, says Donny Quesenberry, International Risk Manager, Mars

How have your insurance arrangements developed in recent years?

We don’t want to ride the rollercoaster of market cycles.

We initiated the RFP for our broker services for both the domestic and international business back in late 2014, continuing in 2015.

After a thorough review process we ended up making changes on both fronts: after a successful 40+ year relationship with our previous broker, we decided to move the brokerage for our domestic insurance and the international insurance.

We have also tendered arrangements for our various insurance programmes: for example, we moved our international liability insurance, which had been provided by one of the big global carriers for 20+ years.

We are also planning to RFP our global property insurance programme, which has been with a single carrier for 30+ years, and our RMIS (Risk Management Information System), which has been with another carrier since its inception, by the year’s end.

One of our five principles is ‘mutuality’, which we define as: ‘a mutual benefit is a shared benefit; a shared benefit will endure.’ This applies most when we look at the relationship with our brokers, insurers and third-party providers. 

Mars’ risk management strategies

How the corporation revamped its insurance programmes for the first time in decades, and the growing importance of analytics


We look for our brokers to service both corporate risk and our local business units in an efficient manner for the appropriate fee. We look for our insurers to work with us to help analyse the risk and provide coverage for the exposures. And lastly, we work with our third-party providers to meet our needs in the ABCs of Mars Risk. 

Have you been tempted to buy extra insurance because of the soft market?

We are happy with our coverage limits, and wouldn’t want to pay extra for coverage that won’t necessarily always be there.

We’re more focused on our long-term strategy and not too concerned by whether the market is soft or hard. We don’t want to ride the rollercoaster of market cycles.

For example, there is lots of capacity in the property market at the moment, and rates are really soft, but if a couple of big events occur then the perception of risk could change quickly – as could the rates.

We don’t want to push for a rock-bottom rate in a soft market, because that is likely to mean we’ll end up paying an expensive rate when the market hardens. We want to smooth out the pricing peaks and troughs. In effect, we say to our markets: “We won’t gouge you, so don’t you gouge us.” 

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Resilience is the risk management magazine from Willis for business leaders around the world. Each issue explores the latest trends and issues facing multinational businesses as they compete in an increasingly dynamic and interconnected threat landscape.

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