Treasury 4.x – Trends for Insurers

May 2024
7 min read

Insurance Treasury is evolving into Treasury 4.x, a forward-thinking paradigm integrating advanced technology and strategic foresight to enhance efficiency and resilience in the digital era.

The productivity and performance of the treasury function within insurance companies have undergone a transformative evolution, driven by the emergence of what is now termed Treasury 4.x. In this digital era, characterized by rapid technological advancements, Insurance Treasury is transitioning towards a more dynamic and strategic role. Treasury 4.x is distinguished by its capacity to envision and operate within various financial scenarios, reflecting a forward-thinking approach. The contemporary Insurance Treasury aligns itself with the principles of "Fit-for-purpose" – emphasizing a centralized organizational structure embedded seamlessly within the financial supply chain. Highly automated processes, often referred to as "exception-based management," are integral to this paradigm shift, enabling treasuries to focus resources on critical issues and exceptions, thereby enhancing efficiency and minimizing manual intervention. This evolution underscores the imperative for insurance treasuries to leverage cutting-edge technologies and embrace a proactive, scenario-driven mindset, ensuring adaptability and resilience in the face of dynamic market conditions. 

Innovation of Payment Landscape

In the ever-evolving landscape of payment innovation within the treasury functions of insurance companies, a pivotal focus has been placed on migrating to the ISO 20022 XML messaging standard and moving away from FIN MT messages. This migration, driven by SWIFT, is not just a strategic choice but an industry-wide mandate, compelling all financial institutions, including insurance companies, to transition to the ISO standard by November 2025. This migration is a cornerstone in revolutionizing payment processes, offering a standardized and enriched data format that not only enhances interoperability but also facilitates more robust and information-rich communication. As insurance companies navigate this time-sensitive transition, a review of address logic within payment files becomes even more critical. The insurance companies are mandated to review and refine address logic within payment files by November 2026. Ensuring that the company is compliant with evolving financial messaging standards will not only improve the overall efficiency, speed and compliance of payments, but it will also provide the opportunity to redefine the best-in-class cash management operating model. 

In additional to the industry migration to a new messaging standard, the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) could impact the traditional roles of treasuries by offering new means of payment, settlement, and potentially altering liquidity management strategies. CBDCs could enhance efficiency in cross-border transactions, simplify reconciliation processes, and influence investment strategies. Insurance treasuries might need to adapt their systems and processes to incorporate CBDCs effectively, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and taking advantage of potential benefits associated with this digital form of currency. We are also witnessing an increase in momentum around the use of distributed ledger technology within the wholesale banking domain. In December, JP Morgan announced it was live on Partior, the Singapore-based interbank payment network that uses blockchain and is designed as a multi-bank, multi-currency system for wholesale use, with each bank controlling its own node. This is clear evidence we are starting to gain real traction around potential solutions using both blockchain and CBDC’s that will further increase the number of payment rails available to support the payments ecosystem.  

Finally, the payment landscape of insurance companies sees further innovation with Faster Claims Payment (FCP). This solution streamlines the disbursement of claims, decoupling it from traditional monthly processes. FCP integrates seamlessly with the Vitesse payment platform, ensuring direct access to insurer funds and significantly reducing delays in payments. This paradigm shift promotes efficiency and enhances customer satisfaction through its accelerated claims payment system. The innovative payment landscape, however, could highlight a potential impact for processes of insurance treasuries. Increased application of faster and real-time payments requires insurance treasuries to have sufficient liquidity readily available to meet the immediate financial obligations. This demands careful planning of cash reserves to ensure uninterrupted claim processing while maintaining financial stability and stresses the importance of effective cash management for navigating any potential downside impact of FCP. 

Changing Macroeconomic Environment

The insurance treasury is profoundly influenced by macroeconomic events, and the convergence of several geopolitical challenges has introduced heightened uncertainty and downside risks. Elevated geopolitical tensions, particularly the intensified strategic rivalry between the United States and China, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the recent Middle East conflict, pose significant threats to the insurance industry's stability. These events bring the potential for energy price shocks, amplifying concerns about increased insurance industry losses stemming from geopolitical and economic upheavals. Furthermore, the scheduled elections in 76 countries, with pivotal ones in the United States, Taiwan, and India, add an additional layer of uncertainty. Political transitions can introduce policy shifts, impacting regulatory environments and potentially altering economic landscapes, further complicating risk assessment for insurance treasuries. As the global geopolitical landscape remains dynamic, insurance treasuries must navigate these challenges prudently, emphasizing resilience and adaptability in their financial strategies to mitigate potential adverse impacts. 

Interest rate changes command a substantial impact on the treasury functions of insurance companies, and the recent shifts in central bank policies have introduced a dynamic landscape. The conclusion of the central banks' rate tightening cycle, coupled with the Federal Reserve's announcement of rate cuts for 2024 and beyond, signals a pivotal change. While these rate cuts are aimed at supporting economic recovery, they pose challenges for insurance treasuries that traditionally benefit from higher interest rates. The insurance industry faces the paradox of modest GDP growth across advanced economies, with the downside risk of a potential rebound in inflation and further geopolitical shocks. The relatively elevated interest rates, however, offer a silver lining for (re)insurers, providing a boost to future recurring income. As maturing assets are reinvested at higher rates, this strategic advantage could help mitigate some of the challenges posed by the shifting interest rate environment, fostering resilience and adaptability in the treasury functions of insurance companies. 

Taking into account the aforementioned macroeconomic changes, insurance treasuries must ensure they possess local treasury experts capable of supporting multiple regions with adapting to shifting business dynamics.

Changing Market Rates

The impact of changing market rates on the asset management activities of insurers is profound, extending to collateral management practices. Market rate fluctuations exert direct influence on the valuation and performance of their investment portfolios, notably affecting the required Variation Margin (VR) and Uncleared Margin Rules (UMR) on derivatives holdings. As rates oscillate, the value of derivative positions can vary significantly, necessitating adjustments in margin requirements to effectively manage risk exposures and collateral obligations. 

Additionally, these changes in market rates affect the liquidity position of insurers, prompting the need for more dynamic models to optimize liquidity management. Given the importance of maintaining sufficient cash and liquid assets, insurers must adapt their strategies to ensure they can meet obligations promptly, especially considering the impact of FX fluctuations on assets denominated in non-base currencies. This entails employing more dynamic models to gauge liquidity needs accurately and employing strategies such as RePo agreements to enhance flexibility in accessing cash when required. Thus, navigating the complexities of changing market rates requires insurers to employ a comprehensive approach that integrates risk management, liquidity optimization, and currency hedging strategies. 

Data Analytics and Predictive Modelling

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics has revolutionized the treasury function within insurance companies, particularly in the realm of cash flow forecasting. These advanced technologies enable insurance treasuries to analyze vast datasets, identify patterns, and make more accurate predictions regarding future cash flows. AI algorithms can process information rapidly, taking into account a multitude of variables, such as market trends, policyholder behavior, and economic indicators. This enhanced predictive capability is instrumental in optimizing liquidity management, allowing insurance companies to proactively anticipate cash needs and allocate resources efficiently. The importance of AI and predictive analytics in cash flow forecasting cannot be overstated, as it empowers treasuries to make informed decisions, mitigate financial risks, and navigate the complexities of the insurance landscape with greater precision and agility.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is pivotal for insurance company treasuries, significantly influencing financial strategies and operations. The complex regulatory landscape, including directives like the Insurance Recovery and Resolution Directive, Solvency II, and EMIR Refit, aims at ensuring financial stability, consumer protection, and market integrity. These requirements, from solvency standards to reporting obligations, impact how treasuries manage assets, liabilities, and capital. Non-compliance can lead to severe consequences, prompting insurance treasuries to invest in sophisticated systems for continuous monitoring. Striking a balance between compliance and strategic financial goals is crucial for navigating the regulatory environment and ensuring long-term organizational sustainability. 

Additionally, insurance companies operating across different jurisdictions face fragmented compliance regulations, consisting of local laws and regulations. This has become a prominent challenge experienced by insurance company treasuries and visible in various treasury processes, from payments to liquidity management. Establishing robust processes and conducting regular compliance reviews could help insurance companies to address the fragmented compliance framework. By proactively addressing compliance challenges and embracing innovative solutions, insurance companies could achieve robust global operations and success in an increasingly interconnected world.   

For more information about Treasury 4.x, download our latest whitepaper: Treasury 4.x - The age of productivity, performance and steering.


is now part of Zanders

In a continued effort to ensure we offer our customers the very best in knowledge and skills, Zanders has acquired Fintegral.

This site is registered on as a development site.