Hannah Gurga said the UK risk and insurance profession had much of which to be proud.
Airmic’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2023 was addressed by Hannah Gurga, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
She began by noting that the UK’s insurance sector is a “global success story”, as well as playing the crucial role of underpinning the prosperity of the UK economy.
As a trade body, she described the ABI’s role as “ambassador”, but also “convenor”, linking the insurance sector with “with government, regulators, businesses and society at large”.
The UK’s insurance sector is the largest in Europe, she noted, employing more than 320,000 people across the UK, and contributing more than £17bn in tax each year.
“We should, as a nation, be proud of this industry,” Gurga said. “And I believe this industry should be proud too – proud of its power to unlock the confidence and enterprise needed to secure our economic prosperity.”
Turning to the risk landscape, her speech focused on technology, turning to a key focus for risk professionals and society at large – that of artificial intelligence (AI).
Not engaging with AI represents “the biggest risk” of all, she noted, as society becomes reliant on the technology across domains in a rapidly changing environment.
“There’s no domain today where this is more pertinent than Artificial Intelligence. AI is redefining the very fabric of our lives. From the minutiae of sorting emails to the complexities of disease diagnostics, AI is our brave new frontier,” she said.
“It offers us huge opportunities and promise, as AIRMIC acknowledges in its recent Future of the Profession report. Indeed, the Government has laid out its ambition for the UK to become an ‘AI superpower’ by 2030,” Gurga continued.
“These challenges are complex and interconnected. The only way to navigate them successfully is through collective effort, fostering a culture of dialogue and innovation,” she added.
Industry groups should work together to ensure emerging technologies are deployed safely for society’s benefit, she stressed.
“The risk management community, the ABI, Airmic and the insurance industry must create a proactive ecosystem to understand and where possible to mitigate these risks,” Gurga said.
She concluded her remarks with a metaphor: “If one thinks of business as a competitive game of chess, there are kings and queens on the board. But the risk manager must be the chess player, always thinking three moves ahead.”