The pandemic, a prolonged recession, cyberattacks and data fraud are the primary short-term risks, finds RIMS and Marsh

For the second consecutive year, the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about a future public health crisis were top-of-mind for Indian business leaders with 30% of survey respondents choosing it as the most impactful short-term risk.

This is according to a joint report titled Excellence in Risk Management India 2021: Advancing Towards Resilience by Marsh and RIMS. 

Respondents viewed a prolonged recession as the number two short-term risk, followed by cyberattacks and data fraud. It is worth noting that both economic worries and cyber risks are generally seen as being heightened by the pandemic.

Interestingly, in the second year of the pandemic, concern around cyberattacks due to a change in working patterns and lack of information intensified. Many employers in India are looking at transitioning to a more flexible working system.

Some extent of remote work is expected to remain, leading to concerns of increased cyberattacks due to unsecured home networks. Yet, less than a quarter of respondents said they were fully prepared for a near-term or long-term cyberattack. 

This year’s report also delves into Indian corporates’ preparedness for these risks. Only 10% of survey respondents said they are fully prepared for the continued fallout from COVID-19 or a new epidemic/pandemic. While a staggering 58% of the respondents are between “not prepared” to “somewhat prepared.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had a far-reaching impact on both organisations and individuals, which could also be seen in people risks becoming an important component of organisations’ risk management.

Around 90% survey respondents indicated that their human capital was impacted as a result of the pandemic. Indian corporates actively took steps to safeguard employee health and well-being as a part of their effort to retain talent, the report said. 

“The past two years have shown the toll that a low frequency high impact event can take on organisations, and the importance of being sufficiently prepared for such risks. As interdependencies further increase, the risk landscape becomes even more complex. Organisations need to monitor their preparedness when it comes to these risks and invest in developing resilience,” said Sanjay Kedia, country head and CEO, Marsh India.

“Indian companies are at an important juncture. Their ability to develop resilience against emerging risks will determine their ability to survive and thrive.”

Achieving the right level of preparedness with a balance between risk transfer and risk mitigation is an important aspect of advancing towards resilience.

Despite the high potential losses associated with emerging risks, there is still scope for further development when it comes to coverage for these risks, with half of survey respondents saying that available insurance does not cover all of their organisation’s critical emerging risk needs.

“In the face of so much uncertainty, global business leaders have recentered their focus on risk management and insurance strategies to effectively prepare for future challenges and leverage new opportunities,” said RIMS president Ellen Dunkin.

“Key to that preparation is having a network of professionals that is willing to share their experiences. RIMS is committed to uniting the risk management and insurance communities to facilitate this important exchange of best-practices and deliver powerful insight like that found in this Marsh, RIMS report.”

The report is based on 242 responses to an online survey with C-suite executives and risk professionals from leading firms conducted by Marsh and RIMS in August 2021, along with expert inputs from Marsh and RIMS specialists.