Welcome to the latest Newsletter from the WTW Research Network.
As 2021 came to an end, the optimism and promise of a new normalcy seemed in sight. COVID restrictions had started to lift across the globe and a new way of working had emerged that gave greater flexibility to workforces whilst still enabling economic growth. However Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February led to an energy price shock and supply chain failures that accelerated already accumulating inflationary pressures to rates now at historic highs in many countries. With recession looming across much of the world, geopolitical instability and macroeconomic risks are at the forefront of the work we are involved in including the launch of our new Geopolitical research and pioneering work with Lloyd's of London looking at supply chain risk.
Extreme events including floods in Pakistan, heatwaves and wildfires across Europe, drought in many food-producing regions around the world, and a slow-to-get-started hurricane season that nevertheless included record losses from Hurricane Ian meant the cost of natural disasters across the globe exceeded $227 billion through the end of the third quarter.
However, there is cautious optimism on many fronts. The immediate risks of an energy crisis across Europe have abated with gas prices falling and storage facilities well stocked for what is forecast to be a milder winter. At COP 27 several steps were made to offer the most vulnerable greater protection for natural disasters and more accurate pricing of climate risk could support a more orderly climate transition. Digital and talent transformation is accelerating as insurers adapt for post pandemic growth and our work with the Wharton Mack Institute continues to explore talent trends.
Finally, we are delighted to welcome Cameron Rye and Jen Daffron to the WTW Research Network team, starting on 3 January. Cameron joins us from Amlin, where he was Research Manager. He is a well-known figure in the London Catastrophe Modelling community and brings great expertise to support our Modelling Research and Innovation. Jen joins us from the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, having worked with WTW for a number of years to develop scenarios and robust airport/ports risk indices. She brings great experience on scenario design and translating complex science into digestible and actionable insights.
The WTW Research Network is an award-winning collaboration supporting and influencing science to improve the understanding and quantification of risk, with the aim to improve the resilience of our clients and society as a whole.
The three-year programme will apply war-gaming and scenario planning to test the vulnerability of organisations to changing geopolitical drivers of risk, identify their insurance gaps and improve resilience.
Consumer boycotts are on the increase and can lead to substantial losses, yet they don’t fit neatly into risks traditionally modelled by insurers. This should change.
Highlighting supply chain challenges facing the food and drink industry to boost resilience across global systems, Lloyd’s and WTW have collaborated to provide real-life, practical insights into how organisations are responding to food and drink sector supply chain challenges.
Presented to global airport executives at the annual WTW Airport Risk Community (ARC) conference held in Lisbon in September, the index compares 110 of the world’s busiest airports by passenger volumes, against 19 identified threats.
Accurate pricing of climate risk is the first step to ensure an orderly climate transition.
Climate change litigation presents a unique set of risks and opportunities to (re)insurers and they have struggled to assess climate litigation risk in the face of significant uncertainty.
As the number of satellites imaging the earth and computer processing power increases, the process of assessing geohazards is moving from traditional ground-based methods towards techniques allowing for greater accuracy, temporal resolution and accessibility.
Technology has had a transformative impact on many areas of insurance but one sub-market still currently largely reliant on manual processes is the insurance of industrial properties, especially against critical risks of fire and explosion.
1 WTW-designed parametric solution protects Belize’s blue bond debt servicing from climate disasters
2 Hurricane risk in a changing climate
3 Introduction to WTW’s climate transition risk analytics
4 How to build an innovation ‘dream team’