Chief risk officers at the Insurance Risk & Capital EMEA conference have stressed the risk function’s role in supporting a growth agenda and the insurance industry’s transformation.
Speaking at the conference, organised by InsuranceERM in London on 3 December, Vitality’s chief risk officer Justin Skinner, told the audience that his risk management team is involved with every aspect of the life insurer’s business, which is heavily focused on health and data analytics.
Skinner said: “My job is to support the business and be able to say yes.”
Philippa Herz, chief risk officer at mutual OneFamily, said that to deliver effective strategic risk management and thinking, it is crucial to think long-term and engage a broad group of stakeholders.
Herz said: “Talking to people with different perspective is very powerful.” She added that cultures which engage in strategic thinking are open and ask themselves questions, such as ‘what if that happens and what does failure look like’?
Argo Group’s chief risk officer Alex Hindson said it was important for the risk function to shift from being controlling, and instead help insurance businesses deliver their strategy.
At Argo Group, Hindson highlights the risk function’s role by promoting the value it brings to the speciality insurer, as well as examining different risk dimensions, such as capital and reputational issues.
Hindson added: “We have an emerging risk review group looking at business opportunities.”
An interactive poll conducted during the session asked the audience what challenges they face when presenting their ideas and concerns to the board.
A majority (69%) said the key challenge is that the board is understanding and supportive, but does not necessarily make the resources available.
The remainder (31%) said either the board either does not support their concerns or understand them.
Commenting on the audience poll results, Herz said while a board may not agree with all a CRO’s concerns, they should at least be heard and understood.