Building resilience in uncertain times

Lloyd Richards, senior manager at Crowe, explains how the risk consultancy's focus on resilience has helped their clients adapt in a challenging year, and how they are helping companies to focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors

What has Crowe been doing to help insurance clients during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The insurance industry has been generally resilient during the crisis. While companies typically responded well at the start of the pandemic, a number were unprepared and struggled, with third-party exposures a particular weakness. Being ready to respond and adapt to fast moving, specific events that impact the extended enterprise will be key in 2021.

Crowe has supported clients every step of the way, helping them to decide how best to deal with the pandemic, while also continuing to maintain momentum on other important projects.

How can companies come out of the pandemic stronger?

Lloyd RichardsAfter a year in which companies were naturally forced to be reactive, companies increasingly have breathing room to allow new opportunities to take centre stage once more. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, in part driven by increasing customer acceptance.

We are really excited about the opportunities for insurance companies to make better use of a more 'digital-first' perspective.

However, the industry has a patchy record on delivering transformation, and before the pandemic, most operational failures and adverse customer impacts were caused by companies' own change initiatives.

Data is an enormously valuable asset, but the challenges companies face in extracting value from this resource requires a well-mapped journey from the outset. The promise of data science can lead companies to try and achieve meaningful insights, without properly thinking about their data journey or what business problems they are seeking to solve.

Crowe's approach to 'mastering data' leads clients through a robust data journey to ensure the hidden value of data is unlocked in a way which supports business objectives.

What aspects of operational resilience do insurers need to focus on post-Covid-19?

As companies come to terms with the practical challenges of implementing operational resilience, more have begun conducting pilot exercises to build confidence in the effectiveness of their approach, enabling them to test, learn and embed.

The actions of third-party providers, both external and intra-group, can have an enormous impact on a firm and its operational resilience, and this has been a growing area of concern for companies and regulators alike. As we move towards implementation, iterative, tailored approaches will be essential if firms are to be successful in achieving real business benefits.

What climate and ESG expertise does Crowe offer clients?

On climate change, we see companies are tackling the issues from a range of current maturity levels. We have helped clients on the journey, from reactively understanding the potential impacts of climate change and incorporating it into their risk universe, all the way through to proactively developing strategies that minimise their impact and set them on a net-zero pathway.

As specialists in making enterprise risk management understandable, we have helped secure cross-functional support for climate change initiatives for our clients, and have expertise in:

  • helping to lead ESG programmes
  • climate modelling support
  • development of climate and sustainability strategies
  • integration of ESG and climate considerations into wider risk management and decision-making frameworks

What makes Crowe stand out from other insurance consultancies?

Our experienced team of consultants, many of whom have spent time working as practitioners and regulators, bring a diverse set of skills and perspectives to every problem, which is delivered in a practical way. We provide a tailored approach for our clients, to help add practical value beyond simple compliance.

Winning this award for the second year in a row is something we are really proud of. The one piece of feedback we hear most often, is that we really listen to and understand our clients' needs and deliver solutions that work for their unique businesses; it reinforces how much our clients value our approach.