Conference a catalyst for discussion on risks facing APAC insurance industry, says regional chief executive

An event being held in Australia this week will focus on managing a variety of risks to enable profitable growth in the insurance industry, according to Aon Benfield Asia Pacific chief executive Malcolm Steingold (pictured).

More than 350 delegates are now on the Gold Coast for Aon Benfield’s Hazards Conference, which has as its theme “Think Outside the Risk”. They will be challenged to consider innovative ways of measuring and mitigating the complex sources of risk facing insurers today.

Steingold said that the conference was “a catalyst for discussion on the nature of risks facing the insurance industry in our region of Asia Pacific”. “Understanding the change in demographics and economic drivers is critical when considering new insurance and reinsurance opportunities and planning how to manage that risk to enable profitable growth,” he said. “Moving forward, effective risk management will entail a combination of advanced modelling tools and qualitative processes to identify risks not properly reflected in quantitative analysis.”

Aon Benfield’s chief strategy officer and chairman of its analytics and investment banking divisions, Bryon Ehrhart, is opening the conference with a discussion on the emerging global trends affecting insurance markets. He will discuss the business drivers and influences that are now changing key segments of the global insurance markets, such as automotive safety, catastrophic corporate liability, changing governmental roles, longevity and urbanisation.

Other conference topics include the impact of low-probability, high-consequence events such as geomagnetic storms and pandemics; enterprise risk management for extreme events; and the consequences of a massive volcanic eruption.

The conference host is president of Aon Benfield Asia Pacific and chief executive of Aon Benfield Australia and New Zealand, Robert De Souza. He said that several events had surprised risk managers in recent years. “Some of these events exposed limitations in modelling capabilities, such as the Thailand floods, while others have been driven by rapidly changing technology, such as cybercrime,” he said. “Many new types of risk are arising from the combination of traditional perils like earthquakes with our increasingly technological and interdependent society.

“The 2011 Japan earthquake is an example that triggered a series of secondary effects which generated losses in ways few imagined before the event.”