Beyond all expectations – Airmic CEO opens Annual Conference

Published on Tue, 26/10/2021 - 13:09

Physical events are back, after the return of the Airmic Annual Conference in Brighton. Julia Graham, CEO of Airmic, introduced an all-star programme.

The start of 2021 didn’t seem to bode well for a return to physical events, Airmic’s CEO recalled in her opening address, but the possibility was there to hold the event in Brighton, allowing tentative planning to proceed.

“Looking at our options, Brighton in October became a possibility. The rest as they say, is history,” said Airmic’s CEO, welcoming delegates to the conference – Airmic’s first physical conference since 2019.

Julia continued: “We boldly went where many said it was too risky to go – and here we are today in Brighton: with an audience beyond our expectations, a world-class programme, an exhibition full to the brim, members, partners and exhibitors waiting to meet and share their news and ideas, and thirteen new publications being released.”

Julia extended warm thanks to Airmic members, partners, exhibitors, speakers, the Airmic team and Brighton conference centre staff, without whom none of what has achieved in Brighton would have been possible.

She went on to announce the release of a clutch of new publications for risk professionals.

Roads to Repurposing

The latest edition of Airmic’s “Roads” thought leadership series: Roads to Repurposing: Driving Transformation, Building Resilient Organisations, was published in association with ACCA, Crawford, and Lockton, with the University of Oxford Saïd Business School as a knowledge partner (full report and boardroom edition available).

The objective of a repurposing journey is to reach clarity about why the organisation exists, which is distinct from its profit-making motive.

Clarity of purpose will then inform the organisation’s brand, values and desired behaviours, and act as a focus for everything the organisation does. The report considers ‘corporate purpose’ and ‘repurposing’, why these ideas have acquired such an urgency within the business world, and how organisations are applying and using them to improve their business performance and manage risk.

Harsh Market

Airmic announced the release of its latest Pulse Survey report on insurance market conditions, this time with a focus on cyber risk and insurance. The survey found that premium rates, and the scope of cover and capacity, have continued to disappoint members.

Silent cyber remains a work in progress, and the removal of silent cyber provisions, has left some property and professional liability programmes, for example, exposed.

There has been a perception that the cyber insurance market has inconsistent approaches to capturing and analysing data, and while progress is being made in cyber risk profiling, the cyber insurance market remains set for further disruption.

This report is set in the context of a surge in the use of digital technologies by member organisations, and a rise in actors looking for online fraud, intrusion and security breach opportunities - the proliferation of ransomware attacks, which are increasing in sophistication and frequency, has transformed the risk of a data breach.

Ending on a note of optimism, whilst the market remains “harsh”, there are some green shoots of improvement in insurer attitudes, communication and terms – we shall see ……. 

Annual Survey

The  2021 Airmic Annual Survey, provides a picture of the risk environment facing Airmic members amid unprecedented challenges. The research reveals their concerns and priorities, as they drive transformation and shape the future of their organisations.

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. Perhaps there is also a word of warning here that high impact, low probability risks like a pandemic fade from immediate vison with disturbing haste ….

Environmental and social governance, cyber threats, climate risks, agility and adaptability, and remote working, were top challenges outlined. Each of these areas was the focus of one of five themed reports, published in association with Airmic partners Marsh, Control Risks, KPMG, QBE and Sedgwick, respectively.

D&O guide

Airmic and McGill & Partners launched Directors & Officers Liability Insurance: Perfecting Governance; Liability challenges and questions’. The publication aims to provide an insider’s guide to directors’ and officers’ liability insurance (D&O) for end users, and for board members in particular.

Twelve questions make up the core of the guide, focusing on practical issues that commonly arise. The answers are intended to provide general guidance as to the likely position, subject to the important caveat that no two D&O policies are the same.

Two new EXPLAINED guides

Airmic also released two new guides in its series of popular EXPLAINED Guides series, which aim to provide guidance for learning and development on a range of risk and insurance subjects at an introductory level.

The two new publications are: Risk Appetite: The facts, the myths, and the links with culture, maturity and sustainability produced with A D Little and QBE; and Making the most of the Insurance Act 2015 prepared with Herbert Smith Freehills.

Salary and Status Survey

Brought in response to requests from Airmic members, the Annual Member Salary and Status Survey 2021, provided a picture of the current profile and future of the profession.

Key findings of the survey included:

  • Airmic research reaffirmed a trend in the growing importance of managing risk as a strategic enabler.
  • Risk and insurance professionals who combine digital literacy with a creative mindset and strong influencing skills are likely to be best positioned to succeed as valued strategic business partners.
  • The increase in those who have joint responsibility for managing risk and insurance indicates that the Airmic objective to drive the integration of managing risk and insurance is moving in a positive direction.
  • The talent pipeline of younger risk professionals is more likely to be female, although diversity in the profession remains a work in progress
  • The potential value of mentoring will increase, as it helps to fulfil a need for professional and emotional connection in a hybrid or remote (smart!) working environment.

Airmic members are loyal to their organisations, with more than half having worked for their current organisation for more than six years. However, people policies and practices must be updated to reflect the current and future world – loyalty cannot be taken for granted.

Next up…

7 December: the Enterprise Risk Management Forum; followed by the Annual Dinner later the same day, to be held at the London Hilton, Park Lane.