May 2014

Talk Around the Bazaar

Litmus Analysis, a team of experts in London, understands credit risk, ratings, the processes and methodologies of the rating agencies and their continuing evolution. They have recently issued their sixth Ratings Review and has extended the scope of their review to include the global commercial lines sector. The review can be accessed at http://litmusanalysisblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/lrr-6-v22.pdf

The European Union has published a draft directive intended to improve governance of occupational pensions, reduce the risks for plan members and to promote cross-border pensions. When you think of how many people go and live and work in another country and their careers move them from country to country, integration and harmonisation of pensions arrangements follows slowly behind. It is a tricky business because of the occupational legislation and taxation are different. At least the EU is attempting something and this should be applauded. Business Insurance discusses this at http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20140402/NEWS03/140409959

An example of how the EU has an uphill battle with facilitating easy movement of professionals between its member states is the recent announcement that Greece is to abolish a levy which provided the benefit of a supplementary pension for all employees in the insurance industry but was being paid by all consumers (used to be a good idea!). Maybe a reason not to get transferred there. Impendulo looks at this at http://www.impendulo.com/impendulo_news.php#

Last year Alberta flooding cost Canada’s economy C$4.8 billion Canadian in economic losses. Almost 90% of the C1.9 billion clean up costs were borne by the government. Climate change and extreme weather events are the subject of an interesting article by the Vancouver Sun which readers can find at http://www.vancouversun.com/business/economy/Canada+economy+battered+climate+change+catastrophes+2013/9692432/story.html

In Europe it has recently been the re-stated aim of the European Commission to make disaster risk-reduction a key priority for national authorities and the private sector alike. Issues such as this can become political hot-potatoes and it is very encouraging that support comes from the right direction. In this case, it is Insurance Europe who supports the EC aim for better governance and transparency in the collection and sharing of globally comparable data which is essential for insurers to model disaster risks. For more information, please go to http://www.insuranceeurope.eu/newsroom/683/51/Key-role-for-insurers-in-disaster-reduction

For the many admirers of Lloyd’s, the wait is over: Lloyd’s Strategy 2014-2016 has been published. As part of the on-going fine-tuning of goals and objectives of this venerable institution, one needs to know why certain changes in direction are needed and how the market faces the challenges confronting it. As always, this is a well-thought out and well-written document as readers can see for themselves at http://www.lloyds.com/~/media/Files/Lloyds/About%20Lloyds/Strategy/LloydsStrategy20142016.pdf

For some people, the posturing and sabre rattling in the Kremlin are diverting attention from the sleeping giant, China. While its foreign policy seems more confrontational with extending flight zones, claiming unpopulated islands and pushing neighbours around in potentially profitable oil and gas areas of the oceans, there is a lot going on at home. But who really understands the Chinese? Not easy, especially as most people have never been there. That is why a recent book has become popular overnight. The One Hour China Book discusses what is not yet an integrated continental economy and the differences from east/west, north/south are wide. It is worth the tiny investment and Amazon praises its virtues at http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-One-Hour-China-Book-ebook/dp/B00HK0DAO6#reader_B00HK0DAO6

Ferma has launched its 2014 Risk and Insurance Management Benchmarking Survey in partnership with its national association members in 20 European countries. This survey, open from the 22nd April to the 13th June, allows European risk managers to benchmark their activities against their peers throughout the continent. Amongst others subjects, their views will be sought on significant risks facing business, identification of emerging risks such as cyber risks and risk management and corporate performance. For full information, one should go to http://www.ferma.eu/about/publications/benchmarking-surveys/

As many of our readers will know, the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Its main task is to protect the integrity of international trade by seeking out fraud and malpractice. One of the IMB’s principal areas of expertise is in the suppression of piracy and the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre was established in 1992. In its most recent report it states that in the first quarter of 2014, piracy was at its lowest level since 2007. This is an interesting read on the website of the ICC where there is a lot of other interesting stuff as well, http://www.iccwbo.org/News/Articles/2014/Lowest-first-quarter-piracy-figures-since-2007-but-no-room-for-complacency,-reports-IMB/

Famous quotations. Here are some words of wisdom which have survived the passage of time…

· “In a war of ideas it is people who get killed” – Stanislaw Lec

· “Those who lose dreaming are lost” – Australian Aboriginal proverb