Risk results provide a sunrise surprise

With the sun just peeping over the horizon, those attending a series of breakfasts hosted by Swiss Re to launch its Survey of Risk Appetite in Asia Pacific 2009 report may have thought they were still dreaming when the surprising results were revealed.

The survey is believed to be the first of its kind to look at risk attitudes of consumers and business decision makers aged 20-40 in eight Asia Pacific markets, including Australia.

The survey results show that  Australians have the highest appetite for consumer and business risks in the region studied.  This finding was contrary to a widely held belief that emerging or developing countries are more inclined to take risks.   Despite the fact that the survey was conducted in the first half of 2009 during a significant point in the global economic downturn, Australians were still ready to entertain more risk than their Asia Pacific counterparts,  particularly in the areas of career and finance.  

Australian business respondents have the highest appetite in taking operational risks and second highest in risking for growth:  Australians are more willing to take on the challenge of expanding product and business lines but are least willing to assume financial leveraging to facilitate this.

Also, Australia was the  only market with a higher proportion of respondents rejecting the statement,  “Only a company with good environmental policies and practices can stay in business in the long term.”

At the report launch in August,  Russell Higginbotham,  Head of Swiss Re Australia and New Zealand, said,  “The findings of the survey have some very interesting implications for both the life and general insurance industries in regards to how we reach out to our markets and the design of future insurance products.”

The Swiss Re Survey of Risk Appetite in AsiaPacific 2009 report is available exclusively to clients of Swiss Re.  To obtain a copy, please contact your Swiss Re client manager or email asia@swissre.com.

August 2009

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