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Geopolitical Risk Newsletter – Spring 2021

May 4, 2021

In this first spring newsletter, you will find a selection of topics showing the variety of thought leadership and upcoming events from the Geopolitical Risk Team.
Risk & Analytics|Credit, Political Risk and Terrorism
Geopolitical Risk

Welcome to the first edition of the Willis Towers Watson Geopolitical Risk newsletter.

2020 was a year of constant global change as the world contended with a multitude of challenges — a global pandemic, social change, US elections and Brexit negotiations to name a few. These events and others further stressed global political relationships as distrust and nationalist mindsets influenced government decisions on an almost unparalleled level. While on the surface they may seem like distinct events, there are many interconnections and the complex relationship between geopolitical drivers of risks can be as important as the risks themselves – and these impact all organisations.

With countries around the world at different stages of combatting the pandemic, and finding a route to a new normal, we are seeing a rise in Geopolitical risks. These interlinked risks – emanating from where an organization sits in relation to geography, the economy and politics – are reflective of our complex and connected world and are increasingly demanding more of our attention. We saw this challenge outlined in The Integrated Review 2021 published by the UK Government in March, which not only covered security, but also issues such as resilience and climate change.

Because Geopolitical risks are increasingly impacting multiple areas of all organisations – making them a top corporate risk and board room agenda item – we have found that drawing on experts from across Willis Towers Watson to explore the intersection of threats and help organisations manage them is crucial. These threats can’t be viewed in isolation and need to be managed with integrated solutions that start with the need to understand them before developing strategies to prevent/protect and be able to respond to them.

We hope that you find some of our thinking below useful to understand the drivers of these risks and their impacts on a business. We have established a series of events to help support you understand and manage these issues aimed at both your c-suite and operational levels. We hope you and your colleagues can attend and would welcome your feedback on how we can assist you to better understand and manage these increasingly interconnected challenges.

We look forward to working more with you in 2021,


Neal Croft
Global Client Relationship Director


  1. 01

    Building business resilience: Finding your geopolitical feet

    Bringing insights from our geopolitical risk community into practical risk and resilience discussions. This invite only c-suite forum is facilitating peer discussions with expert speakers led by Andrew Hall, Global Client Relationship Director.

  2. 02

    How will Geopolitical Risks evolve in 2021?

    Geopolitical risks will continue to evolve in 2021 to produce even more unpredictable events. Ryan Brown from the Geopolitical Risk team highlights three key areas for risk managers.

  3. 03

    How to build resilience against challenging geopolitical risk

    To remain successful in a volatile environment, organisations must have their boards’ support in managing risk and building resilience. Frederick Gentile, Director of Risk Engagement, outlines the importance of understanding the complexity and diversity of geopolitical risk and, in particular, the effects it can have on supply chain and your business operations.

  4. 04

    Moving from ‘Just in Time’ to ‘Just in Case’

    Being prepared is the motto of the Scouts, but organisations, businesses and governments could benefit from the idea too. Hélène Galy, Director, Willis Research Network, takes us through her thoughts on the need to consider resilience.

  5. 05

    2021 Political Risk Survey Report

    How will the top political risk trends reshape the business environment in 2021, and how are leading companies responding? Our 4th annual political risk survey, presents insights from a survey and in-depth interviews conducted with external affairs and risk management executives at more than 40 of the world’s largest companies. A recording of the launch webinar is available to view online.

  6. 06

    Willis Research Network Annual Review 2021

    The purpose of the Willis Research Network (WRN) is to help society better prepare and cope with the types of events we have all experienced in 2020. Since its formation in 2006, the Network has focussed on developing the science of resilience to support the management of extremes from natural, man-made and hybrid risks, and publishes an Annual Review of its research programme.

  7. 07

    Global Reputational Risk Management Survey Report

    A survey of 200 risk managers and executives has shown that many of the current tools, methodologies and insurance products available are struggling to keep up with the changing demands of our digitally enabled world.

  8. 08

    Managing the new political risks in the Technology sector

    Political challenges facing technology companies surged in 2020, including ‘decoupling’ between China and the West, antitrust, and the ‘reshoring’ of supply chains. What does 2021 have in store? Our Technology Media and Telecomms Executives have worked with Oxford Analytica to provide in-depth analysis of the political risks found in the Technology sector.

  9. 09

    Political risk in the natural resources sector

    Our Natural Resources Executives have worked with Oxford Analytica to provide in-depth analysis of the political risks found in the Natural Resources sector.

  10. 10

    Geopolitics of an electrified world

    For the renewable energy sector, exploring geopolitical risks is important not only because the industry experiences the global ripples of geopolitics, but also because the sector is making waves of its own. The desire to increase future resilience and integrate sustainability is becoming a global trend for COVID-19 loans made by governments, and the interruption of planned investments and budget cycles for other sectors of the energy mix could open the door for acceleration.

Future Events

Subscribe to the Geopolitical Risk Team newsletter if you would like to hear about upcoming events.

Find Your Geopolitical Feet

May 26, 2021, 15:00-16:00

Looking at the major aspects of working through and beyond COVID-19 and to better prepare for what might lie ahead.

Please contact Ryan Brown for more information.

Cyber Operational event

We are also looking to run a climate focused cyber event. To receive details please contact Ryan Brown.

The Willis Research Network: 15 years of Science for Resilience

May 18 – 20, 2021 10:00 - 15:00

The Willis Research Network (WRN) team is hosting a 3-day conference to celebrate the team's 15-year anniversary. Since inception, we have grown to a network of more than 60 partnerships with top universities, research centres and think tanks all around the globe, collaborating to develop practical, applied research that can deliver innovative insights and a deeper understanding of the challenges we face. Over three days we will be looking at how WRN research has helped to develop a better understanding and knowledge across the risk landscape, covering a range of topics from natural catastrophes to geopolitical risks, the future of technology and emergent risks likely to shape the research agenda in the future.

Register here keyboard_arrow_right


Managing Director of WTW Research Network
Head of People Risks Research

Crispin Marriott
(People Risk) Global Client Relationship Director

(Cyber Risk) Lead Consultant, GB Cyber Risk Solutions

Senior Director, Investments

Samuel Wilkin
Political Risk Analytics Director, Financial Solutions

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