The Consortium Approach
A recent survey identified “reputation risk” as a major concern for risk managers and insurance buyers. In the national press in quite a few countries some of the world’s most well-known brands have been committing themselves to “green ethical” production and manufacturing methods.
This is a risk management issue and the question is, with limited resources and more than usual scrutiny from inside and outside the organisation, what tools does one need in order to set up and monitor an effective programme and which market will reward such efforts with well-designed and –priced insurance or ART protection?
Yes, we know that there are many experts out there and some so-called tailor-made products which, when actually pulled off the shelf, lack the necessary flexibility. Increasingly there are alternative sources of knowledge, skills and expertise and it is no longer just the mega-brokers who can come to the rescue. In fact “coming to the rescue” is sometimes a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted: reactive.
There are firms out there whose offering is broader, more focussed on the client and who have the ability to design the sort of programme which will take the pressure off the buyer as their out-sourced arm.
They can bundle certain risks to facilitate the identification and monitoring of risk control programmes: take for example clothing manufacturers using third country labour. They need to avoid the sweat shop syndrome which could harm their sales and marketing reputation. Similarly tour operators struggle with the fear that their hotels in exotic destinations are not anything like what they should be and the resultant bad publicity is damaging.
Teams of advisers, intermediaries and underwriters are forming pro-action groups targeting those organisations whose risks, if a crisis were to occur, could have disastrous consequences for the clients’ balance sheet. The London market is developing the expertise to prepare risks for placement (and place them) on a specialty basis. Key personnel are now approaching selected customers in a proactive manner and explaining how they can bring the latest tools to identify sensitive scenarios and monitor production and manufacturing behaviour and take them to specialist markets. These consortiums of independent firms which comprise the best individual skills in the market are not only looking at reputation risks but a whole host of business performance issues whereby risk profiling and continuity planning play an important role.
Undoubtedly an integrated approach combining risk identification, control and customised insurance protection is in the best interests of the client. By adopting a consortium approach one has an opportunity both to satisfy the needs of the client and to differentiate oneself from the pack.
In preparing this Spotlight article we received invaluable assistance from the leading independent risk advisers, idRisk (www.idrisk.com) for which we are grateful.
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George Worsley, Director
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