Swiss Re's 2016 Global Risk Briefing for Ambassadors promotes innovation in improving risk resilience

Discussing key risk challenges with public sector representatives is part of Swiss Re's vision for a more resilient world. Swiss Re’s annual Global Risk Briefing for foreign ambassadors is a valuable opportunity for such a discussion.

Hosted at Swiss Re's Centre for Global Dialogue, the annual Risk Briefing promotes dialogue between government institutions and the private sector about developing innovative solutions to improve risk resilience.

Several top foreign diplomats posted in Switzerland attended Swiss Re's 8th Global Risk Briefing. Kicking off the event, Martyn Parker, Chairman Global Partnerships at Swiss Re, invited guests to consider what it takes to make societies and economies more resilient. Resilience can imply protection from property damage, such as that threatened by natural disasters, as well as the ability to meet new and/or re-emerging disease outbreaks.

Managing key health risks

Guest speaker Katherine DeLand, Senior Advisor from the World Health Organization (WHO), outlined the many risks associated with sudden disease outbreaks. The 2015 Ebola pandemic in particular has shaped the WHO's plan for responding to outbreaks and health emergencies. One of its ambitions is to find new ways need to swiftly unlock sufficient funding in the event of a pandemic.

Emergency funds for the most vulnerable

Ivo Menzinger, Client Executive for Swiss Re’s Global Partnerships, presented a concrete new solution to respond to just such a crisis – the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF). The PEF is designed precisely to meet the WHO's ambition: to unlock funding swiftly and thus contain potential pandemics. The World Bank Group, Munich Re and Applied Insurance Research (AIR) joined forces with Swiss Re to create the PEF so that the world's poorest countries can quickly access emergency funds in the case of a health outbreak.   

Pooling flood risk in the UK

Resilience was also the focus for the event’s second guest speaker – CEO of Flood Re, UK, Brendan McCafferty. With Flood Re, UK, the government and the insurance industry are teaming up to make affordable flood cover available to UK households. Following the launch of Flood Re, UK, in April this year, communities in flood-prone areas will be better able to manage the effects of devastation from floods. Given that many countries face increasing flood risks, Flood Re, UK, provides useful insights for other countries on how to address this costly threat.

Disaster Risk Management – progress across the global community

2015 saw remarkable progress – and indeed consensus – towards an international political framework for Disaster Risk Management and Financing. What's more, the key role of re/insurers and the need for a systematic risk management approach by the public sector have been underlined by both the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the New UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. It's encouraging to see that an insurance industry approach to tackling climate change is emerging, manifested through the G7 InsuResilience Initiative, launched during the climate discussions in Paris, and underpinned by rating agency Standard & Poor's recent reports on how risk preparedness can improve national credit ratings. These commitments all mark important milestones on the road towards more resilient societies and economies.

Tour d'horizon of the changing risk landscape from a reinsurer's perspective; Martyn Parker, Chairman Global Partnerships