Getting down to business

In its drive to facilitate business transactions, the Swiss Re Risk Management team partners closely with client-facing colleagues.

Capturing the upside

Swiss Re Chief Risk Officer David Cole describes the role of the risk manager in a nutshell: “We try to build a consensus with our business partners as to how we should address a risk inherent in a particular transaction. And this is not just about managing the downside, but also about how to capture the upside. This approach underlies our capability as a business enabler.”

Political risk

One very topical example of the risk-reward balancing act lies in the area of political risk. Right now, Swiss Re’s Political Risk Management team is weighing the possible implications for our balance sheet and operations of the financial crisis engulfing the eurozone countries, as well as the political upheaval surrounding these developments. On top of this, they also have to take account of the potential business impact of the recent revolutionary upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa.

Climate change solutions

Arguably the most serious challenge facing the planet, namely climate change, is one of numerous business-critical areas involving Risk Management professionals. The Sustainability & Emerging Risk Management team, for example, helps analyse the potential climate-related loss to economies and societies of climate change, and contributes to the development of insurance solutions which can soften its impact.

Regulatory savvy is what clients want

Very much connected to the business, too, are the Risk Management teams ensuring our compliance with Europe’s Solvency II capital requirements for the insurance industry and keeping a close eye on shifts in the regulatory landscape worldwide. Without the foresight and skill of these teams, Swiss Re would certainly not be as well prepared as it is now for the pending regulatory reforms in Europe and the US. Our expertise is obviously sought after: Just recently, for example, the company’s senior regulatory affairs expert was asked to provide insight to a major insurance client in the US on Solvency II developments in Europe.

Solutions for ageing populations

Just as important from a business strategy point-of-view is the involvement of Swiss Re's Risk Management actuaries in the provision of workable insurance solutions for tackling the massive financing challenges of increasing life expectancy.

Partnership of trust

When it comes to advising client-facing executives, the stronger the partnership of trust between the business and the risk manager, the stronger the acceptance of Risk Management’s dual role of both controller and facilitator of a company’s risk-taking.

Published 16 November 2011

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