The AIRMIC Annual Survey 2021

Infrastructure resilience and reputational risks top concerns of risk managers

The top risks for risk managers in this year’s annual survey by trade body AIRMIC continue to focus on the resilience of infrastructure and the value of reputation.

Ransomware is the second greatest concern to risk professionals. The global pandemic has been one of the key drivers and accelerators of many of these trends in cyber threats.

The switch to remote working was made almost overnight and, with that, the related cyber risks of having employees accessing company data from home increased potential cyber risk touchpoints. Cyber threats are becoming a form of disruption that organisations must learn to live with.

There is the tip of a people risk iceberg, as concerns about mental health risks and musculoskeletal risks surface.

The Annual Survey 2021, released as delegates attended this year’s conference in Brighton, provides a picture of the risk environment facing AIRMIC members amid unprecedented challenges.

The research reveals their concerns and priorities of AIRMIC’s membership, as they drive transformation and shape the future of their organisations.

This year’s AIRMIC Annual Survey consists of a Main Report, plus five themed reports, each of which addresses a top concern revealed by the research:

  • ESG meets ERM: Role of the insurance risk manager – with Marsh
  • Cyber threats: Living with disruption – with Control Risks
  • Working together to tackle climate risks – with KPMG
  • Agility and Adaptability – with QBE
  • Remote working – with Sedgwick

Pandemic risks

According to AIRMIC, risks associated with the pandemic have changed the risk profile of the world.

While the disease and pandemics didn’t make it into the top five risks of the 2021 AIRMIC survey, risk connectivity means that every risk in the AIRMIC top ten has been and continues to be touched by the pandemic and its systemic effect.

Fuelled by technology, the speed of the shift to a virtual economy during 2020 and into 2021 has encouraged organisations to examine their purpose and their core business model, and how they deliver their products and services.

The top risks continue to focus on the resilience of infrastructure and the value of reputation. There is the tip of a people risk iceberg, as concerns about mental health risks and musculoskeletal risks surface.

Although the lack of adequate cover at an affordable premium has become a risk in itself, AIRMIC members reported some reduction in the throttle of premium rates increases and the imposition of cover limitations and capacity.

Client relationships

There are positive signs that insurers and brokers are working hard on their client relationships, which have increased in fragility over the past two years.

Looking to the future, AIRMIC said that ESG has emerged as one key area where insurance buyers and insurers can work better together through more collaboration and engagement. However, it noted, there needs to be more collaboration in the insurance industry on how to deal with climate risks, and the measurement, management and risk financing of those risks. This is especially significant given most insurers are now signed up to the same climate commitments.

Regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance in the context of ESG is the leading topic of concern to risk professionals this year.

This does not mean that they are only concerned about climate threats and diversity and inclusion issues from the point of view of regulatory risk. In fact, more than 40% of risk professionals believe that climate change will have a material impact on their organisations within one to two years.

Equally, they see regulations and reporting requirements such as the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as an opportunity for them to sharpen their focus on the ESG issues that matter to their business.

Claire Combes, Chair, AIRMIC, commented: “This survey provides contemporary insight into our current world, the concerns and priorities of our members, and an indication of where AIRMIC resources and energy should be directed. The survey underlines the importance of the connectivity of risks and the need for risk professionals to speak up in order to achieve the attention of top management.”

Julia Graham, CEO, AIRMIC, added: “The report, and the accompanying themed reports, provide a picture of how AIRMIC members and risk professionals have been stepping up to the challenge over the course of the global pandemic. As a profession, they are driving transformation and shaping the future of their organisations.“

According to AIRMIC, risks associated with the pandemic have changed the risk profile of the world. While the disease and pandemics didn’t make it into the top five risks of the 2021 AIRMIC survey, risk connectivity means that every risk in the AIRMIC top ten has been and continues to be touched by the pandemic and its systemic effect.

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