Alessa Quane, executive vice president and chief risk officer at AIG, answers InsuranceERM’s new year questions.
What has been the best development for the insurance industry in 2019?
I found it encouraging to see that integrity and diversity of thought in the workplace – topics that are very important to me – are being discussed and addressed across the industry.
Collectively building work environments that are more ethical and diverse leads to better decision making and enhanced risk management, while helping attract and retain great talent, including those who may not have previously considered careers in insurance.
What was the biggest enterprise risk management challenge of 2019?
This year companies across industries struggled with headlines around risk incidents – cyber-related attacks, reputational challenges and ever evolving technology risks around AI, to name a few.
We usually see a shift in a company’s mindset after a dramatic event happens, but the real challenge is how to prevent these risk-related events in the first place. It’s important for a company to recognise its first line of defense is its employees, and to define a healthy risk culture and embrace it as a normal course of business.
Which risk will occupy most of your time in 2020?
As a risk manager, it’s not any single risk, but the pace and interaction of many evolving risks that will continue to be top-of-mind. You always have to have a “what’s next” mentality.
I expect we will continue to see risks related to climate change and, more broadly, sustainability coming to the forefront. We recently appointed our first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer to lead the development and implementation of our company-wide sustainability strategy and reporting initiatives, and I think we’ll see companies focusing even more on these topics moving into 2020.
As in previous years, there will also be other risks, like effective cyber coverage and information security risk management, that will remain a focus for the industry.
If you could have one wish for 2020 what would it be?
I would say an increased focus on the bottom line. As the market hardens, it will lead to greater financial flexibility for the industry, which in turn can help us prepare financially for the many new risks we face.