The reinsurance side of Willis' business traces its roots to the late 19th century and marine business in Japan, Germany and the UK. The pre-World War II years saw significant expansion in South America, Europe and Asia.
A number of our client relationships date back to those early days, as we have continued to break new boundaries in reinsurance, in areas such as coverage, wordings and the use of data and analytics.
The post-war years heralded a number of acquisitions of UK reinsurance brokers as the company continued to expand. From 1983, up to when Willis' reinsurance business in the US had been purely wholesale support for reinsurance intermediaries, the company also made a number of investments to grow its domestic North American reinsurance portfolio. In 1998, an overall global structure for Willis' reinsurance activities was formed and the global footprint grew across continental Europe, Asia and parts of Africa.
Analytics and research
Willis Re was an early adopter of the power of analytics in reinsurance. This led to the launch, in 1997, of ICMP, Willis Re's Proprietary Natural Catastrophe Modelling Platform, followed in 1999 by iFM, Willis Re's proprietary reinsurance financial modelling tool. Since then, the technology tools at our disposal have proliferated rapidly as we have sought to improve the market's and our own understanding of risk.
Among the many initiatives we've taken, The Willis Research Network was inaugurated in 2006 and has grown to be one of the largest collaborations between academia and the private insurance market with over 50 academic institutions researching commercially and societally relevant risk challenges.
It's just one example of how, while Willis Re is proud of its past, we are focused on the future and the changing needs of our clients.