Identifying emerging risks

Reinsurers today are operating in a risk landscape that is shifting ever more rapidly. Charting emerging risks and opportunities in a pre-emptive way is an important element of Swiss Re’s integrated approach to risk management.

How we define emerging risks

We define emerging risks as newly developing or changing risks which are difficult to quantify and which may have a major impact on an organisation. We investigate these risks because of the substantial potential impact on our business.

Key drivers

Key drivers of the changing risk landscape include new economic, technological, socio-political and environmental developments as well as the growing interdependencies between them which can lead to an increasing accumulation of risk. In addition, there is a changing business environment to consider: liability and regulatory regimes continue to evolve, stakeholder expectations are strengthening and risk perception shifting.

Reducing uncertainty

The key is to reduce uncertainty and thus help diminish the volatility of business results. While risks today are assessed largely reactively based on loss experience, a faster pace of change requires a more anticipatory approach. To achieve this, we strive to translate risks associated with high uncertainty into a quantifiable measure.

Our SONAR framework

SONAR (“systematic observation of notions associated with risk”) is our Group-wide framework specifically designed to manage and communicate emerging risks. Firmly embedded in the Group's risk management organisation, SONAR allows us to identify, assess and report these risks in a timely manner and to factor them into our decisions. The process involves two steps. Firstly, we have an interactive intranet platform which enables our employees to share and discuss risk notions on all main areas of the emerging risk landscape quickly and easily and to stay up-to-date on new developments. Secondly, our emerging risk specialists periodically cluster and further assess
these risk notions for their potential impact on our business.

Managing our risks

Risk Management at Swiss Re aims to ensure an appropriate risk-reward balance in all of the Group's risk taking activities. This requires a strong and independent risk management organisation and comprehensive...

Read the whole story

Cyber resilience for the 21st...

The news is increasingly dominated by stories of cyber attacks on large organisations. Recent examples serve as a blunt reminder of the substantial financial and reputational impacts that such events...

Read the whole story

Write a comment

Comment Policy
(All fields marked with * are mandatory)

User comments (2)

Posted by Kevin E.Thomas on 25 May 2016

This is great insight and content. Thank Thank You.

Posted by Frederic Gindraux on 28 Mar 2016

Continue to keep up to date on Emerging Risks/claims issues

In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality and relevance of our publications, we would like to know more about you.


Interested in subscribing to our content? Visit our subscription page

Remember me

We use cookies to gather information that will help us provide the best possible service. By using this site, you are accepting our cookie policy.

In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality and relevance of our publications, we would like to know more about you.

* required fields

Interested in subscribing to our content? Visit our subscription page.


Show local contact for:


  • Zurich +41 43 285 2121
  • MUNICH+49 89 3844 0
  • HONG KONG+852 2827 4345
  • LONDON+44 20 7933 3000
  • ARMONK+1 914 828 8000
Show Location

Subscribe to Newsletters

Subscribe to Newsletters