Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance-sponsored Business Insurance Risk Perspective

Multinational risks benefit from coordinated approach

By David Valzania, Senior Vice President, Head of Multinational, BHSI

Risks are becoming more complex, and the world is getting more interconnected every day.  Organizations that face particularly large challenges in managing property and liability risks amid these trends are multinational corporations. Whether these entities do business in two countries or 200, multinationals require a coordinated approach from their insurance partners and risk advisors.

When it comes to underwriting risks and handling claims, insurers serving multinationals can't simply stretch domestic processes to fit programs that span multiple countries. If that worked, every insurer could offer true multinational solutions. The fact is, only a handful of insurers have the expertise, resources and financial strength to meet the complex needs of multinationals. Here are some characteristics that brokers and risk professionals should look for when choosing an insurance partner in multinational risk:

  • Collaboration. Risks don't stop at borders. Delivering seamless solutions internationally takes a great deal of collaboration and a strong, global network of providers. Collaboration is vital in multinational insurance and risk management programs. A multinational might operate in a relatively small number of jurisdictions today, but its near-term and long-term growth plans may take it into many markets. Having a trusted network everywhere that multinational customer operates is only half the challenge; the rest relies on effective collaboration throughout the network to holistically provide the appropriate local solutions for the customer. Unless an insurer has a collaborative culture globally, it can't deliver solutions seamlessly.
  • Communication. What could be worse than a message that gets lost in translation? No message at all. Good communication is a hallmark of an effective multinational insurer. This starts with an earnest desire to understand the customer, its business needs, and its risks. It takes time and teamwork to understand the complexities in multinational exposures. Asking the right questions and providing prompt, clear feedback are critical in managing multinational risks. This is important during the underwriting process, obviously, but it becomes even more important when claims arise. Internal communication with all partners involved in a multinational program is also critical, so everyone is on the same page in serving the customer.
  • Contract certainty. Many multinational insurance programs involve master policies, typically issued in the customer's home country, and supplemented by locally issued policies to meet regulatory and business needs. No matter how a program is structured, what matters most is the certainty of terms and conditions in all those policies. Lining everything up after binding a program takes effort, but a good multinational insurer will deliver contract certainty at the time coverage begins.
  • Claims plans. There is never a good time for a customer to be confused about how an insurer will handle a claim, but for sure there is a bad time: when that claim occurs. For that reason, an effective multinational insurer will take the time to work out a global claims process and explain it to the customer early on. Even better, the insurer's claims team will meet with the customer at the time of onboarding and gain a clear understanding of what the customer's needs and expectations are. If the insurer does not automatically offer claim contacts for every country with local policies, request that information.

At Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, we have a dedicated team for multinational customers. This team assists underwriters in focusing on multinationals' risks. We also do not make unilateral decisions about coverage. We seek the input of other, local underwriting teammates involved in the multinational program. This flexible approach enables team members to share informed perspectives that ultimately results in the best solutions for customers' multinational risks.

When it comes to claims, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty was founded on the principle that "CLAIMS IS OUR PRODUCT®." In the context of multinational claims, we closely review a great number of the programs we create. This is not so much a claims audit as an opportunity to gain clarity on differences and what our underwriters intended and what we expect to deliver. We monitor claims centrally, and we're highly engaged on claims activity for multinationals — and all our customers.

For more information, please visit:

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David Valzania is Senior Vice President, Head of Multinational, at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance ( provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, transactional liability, surety, marine, travel, programs, accident and health, medical stop loss, homeowners, and multinational insurance. It underwrites on the paper of Berkshire Hathaway's National Indemnity Group of insurance companies, which hold financial strength ratings of A++ from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor's. Based in Boston, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Ramon, Seattle, Stevens Point, Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cologne, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Macau, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, Munich, Paris, Perth, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto. 

The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service. Any description set forth herein does not include all policy terms, conditions and exclusions. Please refer to the actual policy for complete details of coverage and exclusions.

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