It’s fair that risk management is top-of-mind for businesses in the aftermath of the recent wave of uncertainty that has swept the globe. A focus was placed on how the risk management profession, which has been under great strain recently, has responded to the problems it has encountered and how its relationship with insurers is evolving in ‘Adaptability and Agility,’ a report issued by Airmic and QBE last month.
“Preparing for shocks is no longer just the preserve of risk managers,” said Matt Lacy, interim executive director, UK, insurance, QBE, in the report, “but instead needs to be part of board-level debate, with the time spent discussing risks and mitigation strategies commensurate with the potential impact of that risk.” Lacy told Insurance Business that it’s crucial to note that this period of uncertainty has been going on longer than the COVID problem, which began in March 2020. “Of course, COVID has been the primary source of uncertainty in the economy during the last 18 months or so, but there have been other concerns as well.” You have to consider Brexit, geopolitical uncertainty, macroeconomic factors, elections, and so on,” he stated. “So, what we really needed to know was how risk managers felt about their ability to handle during this era of uncertainty?” And the answer is that they’ve been on the front lines, dealing with a variety of obstacles, but they’ve handled them well. They’ve also had to become more agile since their firms would suffer if they weren’t. Understanding the basis of their thought processes and how they grew more agile during that era was the key driver for [this report].”
The key to a strong insurer-risk management relationship is to open up more frequent communication channels, whatever they may be, so that any changes that occur within a firm may be shared. Another important component is data sharing. According to Lacy, there is a lot of talk about big data, analytics, and harnessing the potential of data in the insurance sector as a whole. However, this must go beyond a dialogue, since all businesses must be able to comprehend the data they have on hand and how it might benefit their clients or insurers.
“I’ve been with QBE for 20 years, but in terms of the businesses we’ve bought, some of them have been in operation for 100 years.” And while they may not have data going back that long, they do have data going back many years,” he said. “It’s about being able to untangle that data and organize it into a logical structure, and then doing something useful with it.” As a result, we’re on a bit of a journey.
“And when you look at new start-ups, they [tend to be] in a slightly easier position because they start with a blank piece of paper and can structure their business and data, capturing processes, probably more easily than we can because of our history, because we have to pull lots of bits of data together from different sources.” But they don’t have the same rich history or high-quality data that we possess.”