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Article | WTW Research Network Newsletter

WTW Research Network Newsletter – Q2 2020

June 23, 2020

In this summer newsletter, you will find a selection of topics showing the variety of research partnerships facilitated by the WTW Research Network.
Risk & Analytics|Corporate Risk Tools and Technology|Credit and Political Risk|Medioambiental|Insurance Consulting and Technology|Property Risk and Insurance Solutions|Climate
Climate Risk and Resilience|Risque de pandémie|Geopolitical Risk

How the world has changed since our last newsletter…Although some may be reaching coronavirus news fatigue, rarely has an event topped the charts in the news, social media, and our minds across the world and for so long. GoogleTrends has been looking very graphically at the questions dominating our thirst for knowledge, and it is clear that we are moving from a set of reactive “what is” questions, to more forward-looking “how to” questions.

  • The Willis Towers Watson micro-site collates a number of Publications on the topic – and for a different perspective you could also follow the updates from our WRN partners: Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
  • We are also sponsoring the latest RUSI Modern Deterrence podcast “On the Cusp”, which focuses on how governments, business and civil society can work together to strengthen countries' defence against existing and emerging threats.
  • This newsletter features insights into the knock-on effects of the pandemic on technology risks, on geopolitical risks, and wide-range long-term impacts on businesses and society.

Yet the world is hopefully now transitioning to a mindset of how to shape and adapt to the “new normal”, or even better how to encourage a Great Reset, an initiative promoted by the World Economic Forum. One of the key questions will be whether climate action accelerates as one of the silver linings of the recovery. Some of our articles explore the parallels between pandemic and climate change, both as “wicked problems” and “grey rhinos”. With this in mind, we are also pleased to welcome Cloud to Street to the WRN to bolster our flood risk solutions.

Discussions on equality and access to disaster risk financing are also prominent and the protection gap is a subject that continues to demand attention, as outlined in this newsbrief published in collaboration with RUSI.

The WEF Great Reset initiative also aims to build a new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being – a topic that is front of mind around the world with global protests around systemic issues. People risks are continually evolving, and this is why we have a hub dedicated to exploring these challenges.

We hope that you find something of interest in this newsletter, and feel free to get in touch if you are curious to know more.

Hélène Galy
Managing Director
Willis Research Network

Table of Contents

  1. 01

    The wicked problems of pandemics and climate change

    The challenges we face in responding to COVID-19 and climate change are complex, but within this complexity there are parallels that can be drawn and lessons to be learnt. This insights article explores the similarities between these risks and different aspects of managing these “wicked problems” to build a more resilient future.

  2. 02

    A modern bestiary for risk managers

    In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many claim to have spotted a “black swan”. But is it really the right animal metaphor to use in this case? This article examines how spotting the right beast has important consequences in terms of risk management attitudes.

  3. 03

    The long term implications of COVID-19 on business risk

    As businesses around the world are grappling with the immediate impacts that COVID-19 is having on the global system and its resilience, it is important not to forget the slow burn impacts, as this is where unintended consequences can create hidden tipping points. Using the geopolitical risk lens approach we consider what a post-COVID-19 world could look like.

    • Part 1 looks at the long term impact of COVID-19 from a people, investment and cyber perspective.
    • Part 2 looks at the long term impact of COVID-19, considering business resilience, climate and geopolitics.
    • Part 3 provides guidance on what businesses can do in this new reality of a post-COVID-19 world.

    The full piece is also available to download as a single PDF.

  4. 04

    Willis Research Network Digital Dialogues: The geopolitics of COVID-19

    As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, the impacts are creating new dynamics. This Digital Dialogue looks to focus on those ripples and considers the short- and long-term consequences on geopolitics, bringing together Sam Wilkins, (Willis Towers Watson); Simon Coote, (Oxford Analytica); and WRN partner Elisabeth Braw, (RUSI) to provide some insight on futures to watch out for.

    • Part 1 deals with the short term impacts
    • Part 2 deals with the longer term impacts
  5. 05

    Lockdown in Industry 4.0 – Technological isolation

    How would your company react to a scenario of being technologically isolated for an extended period of time? At a time when technology is being seen as a key component to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and indeed companies with a strategic approach to technology investment should be better positioned to survive / thrive post pandemic, it is increasingly easy to imagine a scenario where a virus rips through our digital landscape, forcing an environment of self-isolated networks and broken connectivity.

  6. 06

    COVID-19: A turning point for technology?

    As companies navigate new ways of working during COVID-19, this article looks at how those with a strategic view of technology may find themselves with a competitive advantage.

  7. 07

    Energy and Power Market Reviews 2020: Enhancing your ESG response

    2020 represents a fundamental fork in the climate change road. The actions we take now, and in the coming years, may well determine the future of the world’s climate system. This is where the modelling of future climate scenarios using state of the art scientific knowledge can play a key role in strategic planning and risk management processes. The WRN collaborated with the Climate and Resilience Hub to highlight the need for risk managers to embed climate change as a financial and strategic imperative in the Energy and Power Markets.

  8. 08

    Energy and Power Market Reviews 2020: Exploring geopolitical risks

    For the energy sector, exploring geopolitical risks is increasingly important because the industry is both reacting to and creating waves of its own. At a time when all eyes are turned to COVID-19, it has never been more important to look at the full risk landscape, as any one of these areas, if not managed correctly, can threaten the very viability and long-term profitability of projects.

    • ‘Geopolitical risk: dealing with Newton’s Third Law in the energy sector’ challenges thinking associated with the changing political landscape, ESG trends, and digitalisation. Read more
    • ‘Geopolitics of energy: navigating threats to the power sector’ describes the geopolitics of energy security, people driven risks, and digitalisation. Read more

Future Events

  • Subscribe to the Willis Research Network newsletter if you would like to hear about upcoming events.

Previous Events

Hurricane forecast 2020 webinar – recording available on request


Hélène Galy
Managing Director of WTW Research Network
Head of People Risks Research
email Email

Stuart Calam
Programme Director of WTW Research Network
Head of Technology Risks Research
email Email

Head of Weather and Climate Risks Research
email Email

Head of Emerging Risks and Business Engagement

Head of Flood Risks Research

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