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Reputational Risk Management

We can help protect your business’ reputation with intelligence on emerging threats, expert crisis consulting and efficient risk transfer.

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News travels fast, so planning for business reputation risks is critical.

We can help you anticipate and prevent reputational threats, respond and recover quickly if a crisis occurs, and reduce the potential financial impact of reputational damage.

What is reputational risk?

Reputational risk is the potential damage to your business if your customers and stakeholders believe you’ve failed to meet their expectations.

Negative perceptions can lead to a loss of trust in your organization, potentially harming your brand, market value and revenue. It can affect:

  • Who buys from you
  • Who wants to work for you
  • How other businesses engage with you

Your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. It’s worth taking care to protect it as you would any other asset.

The Insurer TV Risk Spotlight on Reputational Risk

What are the causes of reputational risk?

Today’s businesses face increased scrutiny from the public, media, regulators and activists.

Social media’s influence is a major factor, particularly among younger people, who increasingly rely on it for news and opinions.

It can amplify any event that causes negative publicity. For example, a product failure or a damaging tweet can travel around the world in minutes.

A crisis can appear to come from nowhere, spread like wildfire and be hard to control.

In this fast-moving landscape, reputation crisis management can be challenging. Many organizations don’t have a complete picture of their reputational risks or the impact they could have on future profit.

But the risk can be managed through insurance and risk mitigation strategies.

How is reputation tied to ESG?

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can affect your reputation and vice versa. If your reputation suffers, it may result in a poor ESG rating and that can impact your bottom line.

Stakeholder perception of your organization is important, and many are using ESG ratings to decide who they buy from, do business with or invest in.

In the short term, your customers and clients may take their business elsewhere. In the long run, you may struggle with employee retention and recruiting.

Additionally, investors are using ESG ratings as a factor in investment decisions. Don’t let reputational risks derail your ESG efforts.

Can reputation be insured?

Businesses have traditionally found reputational risks difficult to insure as their unpredictability made them hard to assess and quantify.

Our insurance solution focuses specifically on risks most likely to affect any business exposed to public opinion, especially those in leisure and hospitality, retail, transportation, charities and non-governmental organization (NGOs), and manufacturing.

The reputational risk triggers include:

Abuse and discrimination

Videos or reports of employees discriminating against or abusing customers or other employees or cruelty to animals can go viral in minutes leading to reputational harm.

Actual or threatened injury or harm

Incidents such as physical injury, disease outbreaks, abduction, active assailant attacks and products that cause harm can have an immediate impact on confidence and reputation.

Damage by association

Your reputation can also be tarnished by the celebrities or other businesses affiliated with you if they commit a crime or act unethically.

Each policy is designed to cover a client-selected number of the nine key perils described under the headings above, but it is possible to discuss other perils for inclusion as insured events on a bespoke basis.

What is reputational risk insurance?

Through our Reputational Crisis Insurance, we help you understand, prevent, manage and recover from reputational damage.

  1. 01

    Artificial intelligence-powered data analysis

    We use artificial intelligence (AI)-powered data analysis from our partner Polecat to help you understand what publicly available data, such as social media, is saying about your business and scan the horizon for emerging threats to help prevent risks from occurring.

    The Polecat online platform monitors eight million online sources, including all tier-one media globally and more than 30 million social media posts.

    Polecat's platform helps identify and quantify the key reputational risks and topics impacting global organisations.
    Artificial-Intelligence powered data analysis

    And WTW’s Reputational and Crisis Dashboard aggregates Polecat’s data for nine triggers and named perils on a single platform in real time.

  2. 02

    Crisis consultancy

    We help you establish a plan of action, respond and recover quickly and minimize reputational damage.

    • Crisis communication: Every minute counts in a fast-moving situation. We’ll arrange and pay for crisis consultancy experts to support your response during an event and your recovery afterwards, including post-event public relations costs.
    • Brand rehabilitation: We understand it can take time to rebuild trust in your brand, so our solution includes promotional and advertising costs for brand rehabilitation and revenue recovery.
  3. 03

    Risk transfer and mitigation

    We help you manage the financial impact of reputational risks.

    • Profit protection: Working with, a leading global insurer with a strong financial rating, we can cover you for loss of gross profit as a result of named reputational risks. We can arrange up to $50 million of aggregate cover for critical costs such as losses suffered while your business is interrupted.
    • Interim claims payment: The insurer will pay a proportion of the loss immediately, so that you can cover critical expenses right away because in a crisis, you can’t afford to wait for your claim to be processed.

Disclaimer

This Willis Towers Watson publication is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. If you would like additional information, please contact us. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources, whilst we consider these to be reliable, we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Willis Towers Watson. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates, for example: Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. in the United States and Willis Canada Inc. in Canada.

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