Imperial Brands simplifies insurance renewal management and risk monitoring with Ventiv technology

Dramatic Digitisation:

Imperial Brands Simplifies Renewal Management and Risk Monitoring

Imperial Brands plc, in partnership with Ventiv, has harnessed technology to dramatically simplify and streamline its global insurance renewal management process and ongoing risk monitoring, which is paying dividends in today’s hard market.


Giles Shepherd, Group Insurance Manager for Imperial Brands plc, is responsible for the insurance needs of a business with over 150 operations globally. This lean structure is not unusual amongst FTSE100/FTSE250 companies – with big insurance departments now the exception, not the rule. Giles is not alone, however, and sits within the Treasury function in Bristol. He is supported by colleagues from across the factories and sales offices in the group who are responsible for reporting the insurance data.

Imperial streamlines renewal process with automated data gathering and 24/7 reporting

Keeping up to speed with changes across these 150 disparate operations is a mammoth task, particularly when you add in the need to answer the increasingly probing and detailed questions posed by insurance underwriters. But it is not an impossible one.

As Giles comments, Imperial Brands has “pulled the technology lever” to automate much of the insurance renewal process and embrace 24/7 internal reporting across the globe. Imperial invested in a risk management solution for insurance applications which includes user-friendly data collection, storage, management and a market-leading analytics system. It enables Giles to take full control of the insurance renewal process with automated data gathering.



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Once all the data has been submitted and consolidated, the renewal data can then be used to produce reports and charts – sliced and diced any which way.

Imperial achieves full data ownership and now has more time to manage internal stakeholders

It has been almost 10 years since Imperial Brands first invested in the Ventiv system to support its insurance renewals process. In addition to the automation of the process, one of the attractions was that the Ventiv solution enables the group to own their data – meaning it is fully transportable – rather than rely on it being held and controlled by a third party, such as an insurance broker.

This portability was tested in 2018 when Imperial changed its insurance broker, moving to Willis. Giles describes the process as very straightforward:


I think of the system as a vehicle – a means for getting us efficiently from A to B – and we simply had to pass the steering wheel to Willis and asked them to do the driving. I sit in the back, giving instructions every now and again. We believe that our investment in the vehicle is worthwhile; we could not achieve the same results without an excessive amount of manual effort and time on the part of us and Willis.


Giles Shepherd
Insurance Manager, Imperial Brands


Imperial delegates responsibility for much of the renewal process and data gathering via the Ventiv system to Willis, particularly in terms of setting up of the right question sets to match the different underwriters’ requirements, supporting the data collection phase across Imperial’s 150 operations and collating and presenting the data back to the insurance market.

Tailored question sets improve data quality and enhance user experience

The quality of the information coming in from the Imperial Brands business has benefited from tailored and relevant question sets and a constant user feedback and listening process. The more tailored and relevant the question sets, says Giles, the better the experience for those inputting data and the better the quality of data.

The ability to simply update question sets and data points has also enabled Willis to respond quickly to changing demands from underwriters, such as in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring a smooth renewal. Willis can shape the questions based on underwriters’ changing needs as new risks evolve. This is especially important in a hard market, as underwriters increasingly want different and better data, a requirement that is now unlikely to change.

Imperial moves away from spreadsheets and embraces technology for real-time updates to risk profile

Imperial Brands has extended its partnership with Ventiv to embrace asset management. Now, in addition to the collection of data around the insurance renewal process, Imperial’s users are able to update material changes in risk all year round – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This constantly updated risk profile means the business has been able to move away from a reliance on spreadsheets and emails and has an up-to-date, accurate and live risk profile.

Imperial is now able to keep their renewal questionnaires open all year round, which enables the entities to declare any relevant changes online as and when they happen. With a robust process in place, Giles and his team have peace of mind about meeting their obligations.

If there is a new location or a significant change in the value of stock at a warehouse, the user will enter or amend the details on the system and an email outlining the change and the reason for the change automatically gets sent to Giles, Willis and Imperial’s insurers. The ability to declare accurate values to insurers is critical, as the value of finished goods including excise duty can be very high. With comprehensive data, Imperial can be certain that they are adequately insured.

24/7 workflow automation notifies insurers of important changes in risk

Imperial’s use of Ventiv’s workflow automation functionality notifies insurers directly of important changes in risk without needing Giles’ involvement.


That is one of my favourite parts of the system. Its saves us all so much time and so many emails. It’s ‘on’ 24/7 and is always working even when you’re not, which is great peace of mind.


Giles Shepherd
Insurance Manager, Imperial Brands


Impactful reports and graphs communicate findings effectively with insurance market

The risk analytics and reporting functionality within the system enables Willis to tailor and generate reports and impactful pie charts and graphs that will resonate with the insurance market. With the user-friendly reporting capabilities, Willis can produce powerful messages detailing Imperial’s risk profile. The simplicity of creating these charts allows the teams to focus less on administrative tasks and more on premium renegotiations.

Key business impacts for Imperial Brands:

Increased capacity to focus on managing stakeholders

Removed manual processes and improved efficiency and data quality

Increased staff engagement and real-time risk updates

Simplified and automated data gathering and risk change reporting

Achieved more risk reflective pricing in a hard market

Enhanced management analysis and reporting

Gained real-time insights into changing risk profile all year round

Facilitated greater collaboration with its insurance broker and made improvements in risk and safety

Enabled skilled staff to focus on higher-value tasks with digitalisation and workflow automation