Eugenie Molyneux, chief risk officer for commercial insurance at Zurich, reviews the key ERM developments of 2021 and her outlook for 2022
What steps have you taken to return to the 'new normal' working pattern?
We returned to the office during 2021, but with a new hybrid model in place in many locations. Consequently, many of our people spent some time working from home, and some time in the office.
It was great to be back in the office to re-establish connections or indeed form new ones. We were starting to find our rhythm. Personally, I like that the calls we used to do previously over the phone with colleagues overseas are now on video. We "see" each other more often. The flipside of the coin is that I still don't feel like I see people in person enough yet, but I think that will come in time.
What trend is going to have the biggest impact on the insurance industry in 2022?
I think what is relatively unusual about the paradigm we are currently in, is that there we are facing quite a few significant trends that all look set to continue into 2022. For example, weather related events and, so too, cyber-attacks. Those topics will continue to be top of mind for many in the P&C insurance space. In the meantime, socio-political fractures and geopolitical tensions have been exacerbated by Covid 19.
What emerging risks are you most concerned about?
Like many others in the industry, the trends mentioned above are all top of mind. However, if I have to narrow it down, here I return to the first two I mentioned above. Weather related events, in particular and how they are developing.
Similarly, the nature of cyber-attacks continues to develop, along with their frequency. Of course, the extreme scenario of a globally pervasive cyber-attack is perhaps the risk that is of greatest concern.
If you could have one wish for 2022, what would it be?
My one wish (if perhaps it may be perceived as a little too optimistic or utopian) for 2022 is that we would have a more settled year, resulting in a stabilisation of some of the trends mentioned.
The question is how to achieve that more settled year. There is no 'cure all' but one key factor will be vaccination in countries with low rates to reduce the likelihood of Covid variants being a disruptor. Then, perhaps, this allows the world the space to re-focus efforts on income and wealth inequality and climate change mitigation.