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Blog 26.02.18

Vigilance and QBE; an interview with Chris Gill

This month we sat with Chris Gill, Head of QBE risk management services for QBE Business Insurance in the UK & Ireland, EU, Canada and Dubai. We have been successfully working in partnership with QBE to deliver security solutions for clientele across the UK.

Tell us a bit more about QBE.

QBE Insurance Group is one of the world's top insurers and reinsurers, providing cover in more than 150 countries.  I work for the European division where I oversee the risk solution offering in the UK & Ireland, Continental Europe. Canada and Dubai also fall under my remit.

We work through established product insurance lines, including property, casualty, commercial motor and financial and specialty lines. Ultimately, my area of expertise is about helping our customers understand and manage their risk exposures. Through our risk advisory services, we work with customers to assess their exposures, highlighting where there might be gaps and then we work with them to help plug those gaps.

In essence, we understand the root causes of our customers’ risk and ensure that through consultation and partnership we can tangibly reduce the likelihood of claims happening.

How did you begin to work with Vigilance? And what is important to you when looking at a security vendor relationship?

I began working with Vigilance in order to build out a network of partners to serve our customers. We recognise that there are areas of limitation in terms of on-going security expertise which can be delivered to our customers and want to ensure that we’re partnering with trusted solution providers on an on-going basis. Reaching out and partnering with Vigilance allows us to extend the service offering we can provide to clients.

We are a major insurer of the construction sector and Vigilance are a highly prestigious, well known security organisation, it seemed a natural fit.

It is reassuring to know that we have a partner that can go out and apply their wealth of knowledge and expertise to help our customers manage their security risks. 

What are the main challenges you face within risk management?

Everything we do is driven first and foremost by ensuring that every customer is compliant with the relevant regulations and legislation. That is of paramount importance, however, once we look beyond those remits, we need to work towards best practice.

We look at the organisation and consult on how they can become better in managing all risk. This will be looking at protecting both the organisation and their employees to prevent claims happening in the first place or reoccurring. We actively try to promote best practice to drive optimal performance which ultimately ensures customer protection.

To put this into perspective, we are always trying to mitigate risk and if a problem does arise, we need to manage that problem effectively so that it doesn't become a crisis. If this is around employee safety, which is directly related to security, we need to ensure that productivity is maximised but that safety is never jeopardised. This really exemplifies why best practice is so important. Never has this been more important than in the era of social media where news can quickly be misconstrued and become viral.

Companies want to do this. I don’t think that anyone joins an organisation with the view that they don't want to follow through with risk management but there is a fine balance between delivering on a project’s operational performance and achieving risk management best practice. That comes back to a cost-benefit analysis which needs to levy the cost of the services, those such as Vigilance offer, with the best practice requirements.

By following a best practice approach, organisations and boards can protect themselves against crisis which should always be front of mind.

Much of what you do will involve looking at potential risk versus cost implications to client, how do you assess where to draw a line?

Customers need to make a compelling case for adequate risk management, the barrier to which can be the cost of implementation. Collectively, both the insurer and the security company share a common interest; an active perusal of risk mitigation to alleviate the potential for risk. In terms of the insurer and the customer this means that assets are protected and in terms of the security company it means that the assessment which they are giving has been adequate and correct. When both happen in tandem, everyone is happy.

Naturally, all customers and the nature of what we are protecting are so variable. It can be anything from a man in a van to a FTSE 100 company. It is very much to do with the risk quality of a company and understanding that risk quality. Broker and underwriters then work together to understand the extent of the risk and the coverage required.

For example, naturally you would need to consider different security provisions and risks when looking at a warehouse which is full of tech products, such as servers, versus a vacant warehouse.

We will go out and make recommendations based on the risks which are deemed appropriate for any particular customer and their assets. We take many aspects into consideration, including geography and crime rates which helps to determine the standard of security measures we would like to see.

We would then commission the likes of Vigilance to take this on board.

We would like to thank Chris for his time and insight. To view more information on QBE’s offering, visit www.QBEeurope.com.

Vigilance works with insurance partners to provide their customers with adequate security provisions, get in contact now to find out more at contactus@vigilanceprotects.com.

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