Speaking to StrategicRISK soon after it was revealed that he was taking on the role of head of Asia for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), Mark Mitchell identified 2014 as a ‘critical year’ for companies dealing with a range of emerging risks

Mitchell (pictured), who is currently CEO of AGCS SE Hong Kong, told SR that businesses in Asia were increasingly challenged by a combination of new technological, economic and regulatory related risks.

“2014 is a critical year for companies when it comes to dealing with the threat posed by a number of emerging perils,” he said.

“These perils are often interlinked, potentially creating a systemic threat to risk managers of companies.”

The global risk landscape continued to evolve at a pace, he added, becoming increasingly complex due to growing independency of different industries and processes.

“Inadequate internal processes are often the main factor behind companies suffering a crisis, which means there is an increasing need for holistic state-of-the-art risk management and mitigation strategies,” he said.

Mitchell will take responsibility for AGCS activities in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore on October 1. It’s a big move for Mitchell, who only joined AGCS in January 2013, but his results in that short time have been impressive.

AGCS has stated that premium income for Hong Kong and Greater China went from just under $50 million in 2011 to about $79 million in 2013.

Mitchell said that, as the fastest growing region in the AGCS Group, AGCS Asia’s priority was to raise the profile of its products through partnerships with major brokers and cedants.

“We will also continue to strengthen our pipeline with a particular focus on international insurance programme business and maintain a disciplined underwriting approach to control loss ratios,” he said.

AGCS was committed to working closely with its clients to identify key risks and help them mitigate against knock-on effects and potential losses, Mitchell said.

“Identifying the impact of connectivity between different risks is a top priority for risk managers,” he said.

“Today’s business continuity plans must prepare for an increasing range of risk scenarios, which need to reflect the sometimes hidden knock-on effects.”

Mitchell replaces Alexander Ankel, who AGCS has stated is “leaving to pursue opportunities outside of the group”.

Ankel has been with the insurer since 1997, as head of Allianz Malaysia from 2004-2010 and, before that, of Allianz Fire and Marine Insurance Japan. However, he has only been in his current role for a year.