StrategicRISK Asia Pacific editor Lauren Gow shares her thoughts from the recent Hong Kong Risk Forum where everything from Google insurance to natural catastrophe risks was discussed

It’s ok to be different

Following a long and winding discussion with the ever-controversial Risk Academy chief executive officer, Alex Sidorenko, I came to the conclusion that it is ok to try something different when it comes to risk management, though convincing your audience may take time. Patience is key; as is persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor will the disciplines of risk management be changed overnight. Start small. Take a new idea or new way of doing things to your C-suite, prove to them that this will work and then move on to the bigger things.

Unknown unknowns or a lack of imagination

AIG global innovation lead for client services, Sheri Wilbanks, raised an oft-prickly topic – lack of imagination within the risk industry. Reflecting on major natural catastrophes which have plagued the globe over the past few years, Sheri raised an interesting point about modelling. She questioned whether we are relying too heavily on phrases like a ‘one-in-a-hundred-year event’. When we have 6 of these events in a 3-year-period, perhaps we need to think again how much we rely on models. Alternatively, we need to use much more imagination when using models and not only look at what has come before but indeed, what are all of the possible scenarios that may lay ahead.

The barrier to entry will only keep the Amazon wolf out for so long 

The changing needs of customers continue to challenge all insurers, according to Allied World’s Hong Kong country manager Jota Shohtoku. During our conversation, Jota noted that there is a curiously paradoxical issue rising in the industry – customers wanting bespoke products but a quick, straightforward process. They don’t want to have to spend too long entering their details, but they want a product which suits them exactly. This has created a challenge for insurers but is one being met with digital transformation tactics. But there is a risk looming on the horizon though which may push insurers to move faster when it comes to digitisation with customers in mind – the likelihood that tech giants like Google or Amazon will soon join the insurer ranks. Jota said “This is now a matter of when, not if” so it is time to start future proofing your business if you haven’t already.