EP 210 – Jonathan Rake – Swiss Re Corporate Solutions – Working Off the Same Single Source of Truth


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Jonathan Rake was appointed Regional Chief Executive Officer Asia Pacific of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions with effect from 1 July 2017 and member of the Corporate Solutions Executive Committee with effect from 1 July 2019. In this function, Jonathan is responsible for oversight and management of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions business in the Asia Pacific region. This includes developing and executing the regional business and financial plans in line with the Business Unit's financial targets. Jonathan joined Swiss Re in October 2016, serving as Head of South-East Asia. In this role, he was responsible for further developing Corporate Solutions' portfolio and strategy in the South East Asia region. During this time, he also served as CEO of Swiss Re International Singapore Branch. Prior to joining Swiss Re, Jonathan worked for Zurich Insurance Group from 2004 to 2016. From 2012 until 2016, he served as CEO Principal Officer Zurich Singapore General Insurance & Country CEO. His other previous roles included Head Business Development and Operations, Chief Operating Officer Global Corporate Asia Pacific, and Strategy Assistant to the CEO Global Corporate.

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The Asia InsurTech Podcast had an in-depth conversation with Jonathan Rake, CEO of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

Key Topics Discussed: 

Insurance Trends

Jonathan mentions generative AI and partnership ecosystems as strong emerging trends in insurance and insure tech in Asia and globally. They discuss the changing customer perspectives, moving from a singular view on insurance to a more holistic, multi-dimensional view on risk. The conversation veers towards the role of partnerships and ecosystems in the insurance industry, and how it is important to address evolving customer needs.


Jonathan talks about the shift in strategies based on learnings, and the importance of knowing exactly what problem to address with fintech. He highlights the need for companies to have an end-to-end single data foundation which can help adapt to other offerings and bring in other tools, models, and partnerships. He argues that it’s not just about enhancing offerings with fintechs, but looking at the whole solution and the end-to-end platform.

Fast-changing Insurance Environment

The discussion moves on to how companies can stay ahead in the rapidly changing insurance environment. Jonathan emphasises the importance of organising and structuring data, and the role of partnerships in achieving this. He talks about Swiss Re Solutions’ ‘risk data services’ campaign, which uses their data capabilities to enhance understanding of a company’s risk profile. Jonathan highlights that being prepared and having a single source of data truth is key to taking on new technologies and applying models for the benefit of customers.

Generative AI 

Jonathan believes the implementation of generative AI can be revolutionary, enhancing the efficiency and capability of insurance companies. He underscores the importance of considering the customer and ensuring the security and consistency of generative AI delivery. However, he admits that finding the best areas for deployment to improve business and customer offering is a challenge many companies are still grappling with.

The Single Source of Truth

According to Jonathan, having a single source of truth in the form of a massive data lake enhances internal communication and decision-making, as everyone works with the same facts. It also aids in improving the data capabilities of external partners. This, he says, has allowed them to use their capabilities to help customers improve.

Data First Company

Jonathan recalls a conversation with the Chief Digital Officer of the company who suggests that instead of being a solutions company, they should become a data-first company. This would prevent a “spaghetti effect” that occurs when starting with the solution. By starting with data, they can ensure consistency, use the same language, and deploy the data to various areas as needed.

Growth Assurance and Parametric Solutions

Jonathan shares the concept of growth assurance, where insurance benefits the sales and marketing side of a business. He provides an example of a fertilizer company that utilized a parametric solution to help farmers affected by floods, thus increasing their sales and differentiating their offering.

Influencing Business Decisions

Jonathan mentions their ability to use data and their models to help companies, such as a real estate manufacturing company, improve their products and solutions. They can guide decisions around product development and investment by understanding materials, climate changes, and risk concentration.

Insurance Distribution and Business Growth

The concept of growth insurance is discussed in the context of businesses using insurance distribution to protect their business, particularly in regions with low insurance penetration like Asia.

Closing the Insurance Gap through Innovation

Jonathan reveals that just over 50% of the estimated $284 billion economic losses in 2022 were uninsured. He believes that innovative solutions, and not just traditional insurance cover, can improve and close the insurance gap, especially in developing countries in Asia.

Evolving nature of risk and the role of insurance

Risk, according to Jonathan, is always evolving and insurance companies need to be adept at recognizing and understanding these changes. He emphasized the importance of maintaining up-to-date models to navigate through the risks and ensure sustainability.

Attracting talent in the insurance industry

Jonathan speaks about the challenges and strides made in attracting talent into the insurance industry. He mentioned how awareness and focus on risk insurance in educational institutions could increase interest in insurance as a career.

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