“As we sit here in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2017, the only certainty seems to be the uncertainty of Brexit, and that it’s going to be an extended period of uncertainty,” said Paul Jack, partner, Lockton. “Nobody planning for six months or even ten years likes uncertainty.”
So, is this the new norm? The risk managers who participated in the discussion both agreed uncertainty was going to have to be something they had to become more comfortable with when carrying out risk assessments and scenario testing.
“You are continuously on your toes,” said one risk manager. “What you could take for granted two to three years ago, you no longer can, so we’re doing multiple scenario planning because we don’t know where we’ll be. In fact, if anything, we are looking at overseas markets increasingly for stability.”
Despite confidence levels dropping, CNA Hardy’s Autumn 2017 confidence survey did show that business leaders are still pressing ahead with 62% actively hiring, 52% are investing in R&D and 51% are prioritising topline growth. In addition to this, driving growth in overseas markets is on the business agenda for the UK multinationals that were surveyed, with a focus on Europe and Asia over the next six months.
With the focus still on overseas markets, participants around the table were quick to identify the importance of risk partnerships between business and the insurance industry to better realise the growth potential from overseas markets.
“The partners who can work with clients to see them work through and identify risks within emerging markets will be winners at the end of the day,” said Ailsa King, chief client officer at Marsh. I think some of us maybe have our eye off the ball and we’re not focusing on those emerging markets our clients are looking at. And they need partners to help them through the risks in those emerging markets,” Ailsa King