The Asian risk management association focused on geopolitical risks and personal well-being

StrategicRISK was in Singapore this week for PARIMA’s 2022 conference at Suntec Singapore, the closing event of its ‘Resilience Week’. Here are four major themes from Thursday’s 12-session all-day event.

Climate change

Overwhelmingly the largest focus of the conference was climate change and how to battle its impacts. PARIMA itself previewed the launch of its own ‘Climate Risk Management School’ targeted at risk managers to upskill in this area.

“You all know that climate change is here,” said Franck Baron, chairman at PARIMA. “We need to change things drastically in our personal and professional life. We will be the first risk management association in the world to launch a climate risk management school.”

Baron said PARIMA has teamed-up with AXA Climate School to develop an education programme on climate change with specific modules for risk managers.

Elsewhere at the conference, the impacts of climate change and the need for preparedness consumed several sessions, as risk managers were advised about the importance of immediate action and the wide scale implementation of environmental policies.

The three ‘I’s – Inflation, Interest rates and Invasion

A major discussion point in almost all sessions was various external and emerging risks, especially geopolitical issues. This was termed at the conference as the three ‘I’s.

Firstly, inflation, which was given its own dedicated afternoon session titled ‘Inflation Risk: Imperatives for Businesses in Asia’, which hinged on the notion that record inflation might persist long-term and businesses should prepare for this fate.

“Inflation has a material impact on the economic value of organisations and also has operational impacts,” said Allwyn Barreto, partner, Oliver Wyman, who stressed there remains a variety of future inflation situations and risk managers must perform broad scenario planning in preparation.

Record interest rates were also flagged as an external risk likely to wreak havoc on risk management into 2023.

As for ‘invasion’, the Russia-Ukraine war has destabilised the region and created far-reaching consequences, such as the European energy crisis, causing various interconnected risks.

Mental health

“In terms of mental health, we are in an epidemic,” said Tulsi Naidu, CEO for Asia Pacific at Zurich Insurance Group in her session. “Anybody in the room who has an adolescent will confirm this. One in seven teenagers globally has some kind of mental health issue, but there is only 2% of global government funding going towards this topic. This is an area in crisis, but there is not sufficient attention on it.”

Another session of the conference – ‘Walk the Talk: Holistic Employee Wellbeing’ – was dedicated to mental health and noted that according to WHO, 15% of working adults suffered from mental disorders in 2019.

However, the theme ran through several conference sessions: “There has been a shift in the status associated with mental health with people becoming more comfortable speaking about it and seeking out help,” said Juliet Kwek, regional director for APAC, Maxis GBN, in the afternoon session on healthcare claims. “For employers there are financial costs but also support requirements to implement.”

Face-to-face matters

The first in-person PARIMA Conference since the start of COVID took place with a celebratory tinge as risk managers were finally able to network face-to-face.

“To us it is extremely important to all be back together,” said Baron in his opening address. “When I look at the exchanges and the conversations happening this morning, there is clearly a want to return to physical events. People must meet together because there is a need for collaboration and a need to restore our common understanding.”

The sentiment was shared by delegates who spoke to StrategicRISK. While video communications held the industry together over the past couple of years, greater value on a networking and professional level is achieved through the return to face-to-face events and conferences.

PARIMA confirmed that it will be holding two face-to-face conferences in 2023, heading to Mumbai, India in June 2023 and then Tokyo, Japan in October 2023.