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Our 2019 Christmas letter

Bitesize InsurTech is on holiday until January.

To fill the vacuum we thought we’d write you a Christmas letter. We know everyone loves getting these from the family, so why not from your favourite consultants? Here’s what we’ve been up to this year.

The team is growing…want to join?

2018 has been a year of growth for Oxbow Partners. A new partner has joined the team and we have hired people at all levels across the firm. If you’re keen to join our team, please see our careers page. We also have a year-round internship programme in case you have a talented relative keen to find out what insurance or consulting are about.

Impact 25 2019…who should be in it?

We’re currently working on our InsurTech Impact 25 for 2019. This follows the tremendous success of our 2018 report, downloaded from our website over 12,000 times and referenced widely. The objective is to keep industry executives well briefed on the increasingly complicated technology and innovation trends and aware of the emerging InsurTechs that could have an impact on their business. If you’re an InsurTech and think you should be a Member of our 2019 cohort, the application link is here.

Also published in 2018 was our paper on the impact of InsurTech on the corporate and specialty markets, published in association with the Lloyd’s Market Association.

We’re not (only) an InsurTech consulting business!

Despite publishing regularly on InsurTech (and being known for our pioneering work in the area, for example the set up of Munich Re’s Digital Partners team), most of our work is not InsurTech-related. We are a management consulting business specialising in insurance and working on a range of strategic, operational and M&A topics. For example:

  • Competitor intelligence: We launched a product to help insurers gain a robust understanding of their competitive landscape in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In contrast with standard data providers, the Oxbow Partners service is tailored around your strategy and objectives and enables you to take specific decisions at Board or executive level. The service includes quarterly papers, periodic deep-dive analysis as well as event-driven bulletins. If you’d like to access this insight, please get in touch with Chris Hess.
  • Cost: With profitability an increasing concern across the market, Oxbow Partners has helped clients address underlying cost pressures without damaging the business’s core capabilities. This has included support on enterprise-wide programmes as well as targeted efforts (e.g. claims optimisation). At the core of our approach is a set of market-tested cost reduction hypotheses. These enable a rapid start without excessive or superfluous ‘as is’ analysis, and a focus on practical action, for example. Sometimes efforts can be underpinned by InsurTechs.
  • Target operating models: We are currently helping a large European composite build a (genuinely) global operating model for one of their lines of business and have executed several other single-country projects this year. We believe that our senior, sector specialist teams drive better outcomes for clients.
  • Claims transformation: We have worked extensively in claims this year, helping both specialty and personal lines players build cutting-edge claims strategies and propositions, and designing and implementing efficient operating models. Often the ambition is to digitise and automate, but often we find that ‘foundational’ operational work is needed as a first step. We have tried-and-tested insight on how to create value in claims, and methodology to accelerate execution based on our Agile Strategy approach.
  • System selection: We have helped several insurers and MGAs select core technology systems (policy admin and claims). Our approach is based on our expertise at the intersection of strategy and technology, and we help clients who are keen to explore their options rather than default to the ‘big beast’ systems. To that end, we use our proprietary database of over 250 policy admin systems. To talk about system selection, drop Greg Brown a line.
  • General strategy: We have also helped clients develop and communicate their business strategy. We have worked in personal lines, sme, specialty, life, pensions and investments and reinsurance; our clients consistently value our bespoke thinking and insightful analysis.

Get in touch to hear more about what we do.

Our work in InsurTech

We do also do some work in InsurTech, of course. This year the main themes have been around ‘innovation effectiveness’ and the ‘innovation operating model’. Many of our clients have encountered some recurring challenges in this area: difficulty identifying the best InsurTechs to work with, all sorts of problems establishing partnerships and an inability to scale pilots.


Oxbow Partners is ending 2018 in excellent shape and we are grateful to our clients for their continued trust in us. We are always conscious of the adage that “nobody got fired for hiring IBM” and that it sometimes takes bravery to engage a new firm. We’d like to think that there will soon be evidence for a new saying: “nobody got fired for hiring IBM, but those who hired Oxbow Partners got promoted!”

Merry Christmas from the whole team, and all the best for 2019.

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Chris Sandilands

Partner at Oxbow Partners
Chris Sandilands, ACII is a Partner at Oxbow Partners. Chris advises (re)insurers and brokers on a range of strategy topics and M&A. Chris started his career as a D&O underwriter at Munich Re, before joining Oliver Wyman, the consulting firm. You can reach him at

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