Opportunity report

Opportunity report

Speed is one of the qualities used to measure a successful knowledge transfer. Quick solutions and staying one step ahead of the competition is the name of the game. Hannover Re searches systematically for new business opportunities in order to generate sustainable growth and strengthen the company’s profitable development. With a view to identifying opportunities and successfully translating ideas into business, Hannover Re adopts a number of closely related approaches in order to achieve holistic opportunistic and risk management. Of significance here is the interplay without overlaps of the various functions within opportunity and risk management, which is ensured by interfaces.

Key elements in Hannover Re’s opportunity management include its various market-specific innovations in the life and health and non-life reinsurance business groups (see in the Forecast). What is more, innovative and creative ideas are generated by our employees. If they can be successfully translated into additional profitable premium volume, such ideas are financially rewarded. Further elements are the “Future Radar” initiative and the working group on “Emerging Risks and Scientific Affairs”. Not only that, Hannover Re has set up a stand-alone organisational unit for “Business Opportunity Management”. This service unit deals exclusively and systematically with ideas and opportunities and it concentrates its activities on generating additional premium volume with profit potential. In this context, among other things, ideas on business opportunities are refined and optimal framework conditions for fresh commercial ideas are put in place.

The “Future Radar” initiative, the members of which cut across divisions and hierarchies, picks up on a broad range of topics and arrives at initial business approaches. The working group is tasked with evaluating trends and issues of the future. This includes, for example, increasing fluctuations in the weather, obstacles to the turnaround in energy policy, greater scarcity of resources, developments in the health market or cybercrime.


The trend analysis carried out by the “Future Radar” initiative anticipates, among other things, a sharp increase in cybercrime. Going forward, malware is expected to become much more common on smartphones and tablet PCs. There is also a risk that in future physical targets (e.g. power plants, electricity grids or communication networks in the banking and finance sector) may be targeted more heavily via the information and communication infrastructure.

In general terms, attractive business opportunities are analysed prospectively by the “Future Rader” in order to translate them, as a second step, into marketable insurance and reinsurance products. For this purpose, concrete topics are examined by cross-divisional and interdisciplinary teams and potential business approaches are elaborated. The analyses carried out in the “Future Rader” encompass not only topics of the future but also the steps taken by competitors to identify business opportunities and niche markets at an early stage.

These business approaches are subsequently evaluated and given concrete shape by the Opportunity Management service unit. This unit also supports selected projects from the conceptual design of integrated business models to their operational implementation or until their handover to line responsibility. The goal is to generate new business and thereby sustainably foster Hannover Re’s profitable growth. Since the unit was set up several initiatives and projects have evolved out of the roughly 100 ideas developed by the worldwide network. Under an attractive employee incentive system various project groups have already been financially rewarded, including those working on the opportunity management projects “Weather” and “Energy Savings Protect” (“Energie Einspar Protect = EEP”):

Business opportunity management project

The goal was to offer a clientele heavily dependent on the weather industry-specific solutions to protect against weather fluctuations. The interest shown by customers in this product has grown sharply of late on account of greater variability in weather conditions and the higher profile of the product.

Business opportunity management project
“Energy Savings Protect”

This project was tasked with developing covers for so-called energy-savings warranties in Germany. This insurance solution enables providers of energy efficiency solutions to take out protection in the event that the promised energy savings fail to materialise. In this case the company in question receives a compensatory payment from the primary insurer. For its part, Hannover Re covers the energy saving warranties of its primary insurance clients.

Since 2010 the stand-alone service unit Business Opportunity Management has been assigned to the Chief Executive Officer’s area of responsibility – a reflection of the considerable importance that Hannover Re attaches to business opportunity management.

In view of the diverse range of potential future opportunities, close links exist with other projects, working groups and bodies, such as with the working group on “Emerging Risks und Scientific Affairs” in regard to emerging risks and opportunities (see “Other risks”). The working group carries out qualitative assessments of emerging risks. As a result, however, not only are the potential risks analysed but also any available business opportunities. In the year under review, for example, issues such as fracking and the repercussions of protracted heatwaves were explored by the working group.

Protracted heatwaves

Protracted heatwaves have repercussions on many areas of daily life. While the most well-known impacts are on agriculture and health, the consequences for industry, transportation, power and water supplies and the environment – with the associated heavy financial strains – also need to be borne in mind.

If a business idea is translated into reality and a new reinsurance product results, the normal procedure – provided the criteria defined for this purpose by Risk Management are applicable – is to work through the so-called new product process. This process is supported by Risk Management at Hannover Re. The process is always worked through if a contractual commitment is to be entered into in a form previously not used by Hannover Re or if the exposure substantially exceeds the existing scope of coverage. If this is the case, all material internal and external influencing factors are examined beforehand (e.g. implications for the overall risk profile or the risk strategy). In so doing, Risk Management ensures that before it can be used or sold a new reinsurance product must be approved by the Executive Board.

The opportunity management process can be illustrated in simplified form as follows:

Opportunity management process (graphic)


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