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Editorial: What the future holds for risk management professionals

Editorial: What the future holds for risk management professionals | Insurance Business UK

Editorial: What the future holds for risk management professionals

It is hard to imagine a more fitting theme for the 2021 Airmic Conference than its title, ‘Driving Transformation: Shaping the future’. Indeed, if you were to parse down the insights from the event into one core impression (though, I note you could not) it would be that the future of the risk management profession is looking decidedly bright.

Throughout the Brighton Conference Centre, this two-day event played host to an abundance of talented and dedicated risk management professionals who had come together in a bid to breathe new life into what might otherwise be viewed as increasingly archaic conversations. And hopefully without sounding too much like the provincial cousin, I will attest that it was with substantial appreciation that I seized the opportunity to meet and speak with both familiar and unfamiliar faces from across the profession face to face.

From these discussions, my optimism about the future of risk management has been substantially buoyed by several factors.

New talent entering the sector

There has understandably been a significant spotlight shone on the war for talent facing the wider insurance and risk management sector, an emphasis that highlighted this not as a potential concern but a very real reality facing the industry. From attracting young talent via apprenticeships and graduate schemes to reintroducing established talent to the workforce after some time out of the loop, efforts are being undertaken to right a wrong before it offsets the progress being made by the profession.

It was refreshing to see the blend of experiences, backgrounds and trajectories that made up the floor of the Airmic conference and to see in them the individuals willing and able to take up the mantle of risk management and deliver its solutions to a new generation of entrepreneurs. Shared among these people was a desire to see the industry do and be better, as well as solutions for how this might be achieved.

But even more uplifting than seeing this talent having the opportunity to actively debate their convictions was the willingness displayed by upcoming professionals to listen to each other and share advice, guidance and suggestions. Shared intelligence and thought leadership have long been the bedrock of this profession and it is no small relief to see that time and circumstance have left that unchanged.

The broadened scope of risk management

As emphasised by the recent ‘Future Risks’ report from AXA, when it comes to risk management all that is all old will be made new again, with climate change and cybersecurity risks reclaiming their place as the top risks being registered by UK risk experts today. Yet despite this, the lessons of the pandemic have very clearly been put to good use by the profession.

It seems that across the risk management spectrum the lessons learnt are being taken on board. When it comes to cyber, climate risk, the wider ESG proposition, the war for talent, changing consumer expectations or the role of diversity and inclusion, COVID has either shaken up or accelerated the evolution of the status quo and encouraged a different way of thinking for a profession committed to thinking about every risk in a different way.

A renewed willingness to see things in a new way

The willingness to see risk management in a different light, to accept where certain aspects will have to be altered, to lean into what has been done well and to communicate the risk management propositions more effectively, has clearly been embraced by the profession.

The Airmic conference was an example of this at its finest. It offered a blend of the traditional facets that make this such a people industry and the innovation that allows the industry to do what it does best – to form and solidify lasting relationships able to withstand those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and by navigating a clearer and stronger path forward, to the benefit of all the sector’s myriad of stakeholders.