Swiss Re’s 2010 Global Risk Briefing for Ambassadors

Swiss Re briefs top foreign diplomats on ways to make societies more resilient to large risks. With the tragedies in Haiti and Chile still fresh on everybody's minds, foreign diplomats participating in Swiss Re’s 2010 Global Risk Briefing were keen to learn how their governments could work more closely with the private sector to strengthen their own risk management. For Swiss Re, the dialogue with government representatives provided an opportunity to explore the potential of replicating existing risk transfer solutions in different parts of the world.

Engaging in dialogue with government representatives is an important aspect of Swiss Re’s effort to find new solutions that can help governments move towards a more systematic risk management strategy. The briefing was co-hosted by Jakob Baer, Member of Swiss Re’s Board of Directors, and Brian Gray, Chief Underwriting Officer and Member of the Executive Committee. Swiss Re’s initiative is motivated by a keen awareness of the growing interdependencies in a globalised world that require both a deeper understanding of the risk landscape and an enhanced dialogue between governments, international institutions and the private sector about creative approaches to developing solutions for risk transfer.

Broad array of risks that governments need to tackle

Swiss Re’s David Bresch, Reto Schnarwiler and Andreas Schraft illustrated proven examples of partnership-based approaches and the potential for future initiatives between public institutions and the insurance industry. Themes covered at the 2010 Global Risk Briefing for Ambassadors included climate adaptation and total climate risk exposure, the role of public sector risk transfer solutions in making societies more resilient to large natural catastrophe and man-made risks, and terrorism risk pooling as an example of public-private cooperation. One concept that could enable a more systematic approach to risk management in the public sector would be the introduction of Country Risk Officers in government, built on the model of Chief Risk Officers in international corporations.

The lively discussion that ensued reflected the growing interest among governments in finding new ways to cope with global risks. Participants cited terrorism, cyber attacks, catastrophes, financial shocks, and climate change as their primary concerns.

Comments from participating diplomats

“Swiss Re’s approach, especially on public-private partnerships, is both proactive and innovative,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador in Bern, Ms Ayesha Riyaz, adding that the briefing was “a useful starting point between Swiss Re and our different countries to find tailor-made solutions.”

Germany’s Ambassador Dr Axel Berg commended Swiss Re for its initiative, saying that the briefing provided “a most informative insight into large risks in a growing interdependent world, as well as the opportunities and the need for cooperation between the public and the private sector.”

Similarly, the Chinese embassy expressed its hope that the existing collaboration between China and Swiss Re on agricultural reinsurance would be “expanded and enhanced in the future.”

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2010 Global Risk Briefing for Ambassadors

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