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Press Release

Health and safety emerges as top risk facing global directors according to WTW’s and Clyde & Co’s latest survey

March 20, 2024

Global Directors’ & Officers’ Survey Report shows health and safety overtaking cyber as the top risk concerning global directors and officers.

LONDON, March 20, 2024 — Health & safety emerges as the top risk for directors and officers according to the 2024 Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report from WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company, and Clyde & Co, a leading global law firm.

The survey report identifies and analyses the key risks for directors and officers worldwide (covering UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, Latin America, North America, Africa and the Middle East). Overall, health and safety was considered the top risk with 84% of global directors, officers and risk managers ranking it as very or extremely important, closely followed by cyber-attack (including cyber extortion) risks on 79%. Data loss has dropped in rank at 3rd place, having ranked 2nd in the previous year. And for the first time since 2019, the threat of an organisation being a victim of crime has dropped out of the top seven risks by global directors.

Other key findings include:

  • Emerging Risks. New entrants in the top risks include systems and controls and breach of sanctions, reflecting heightened geopolitical tensions and the increasing complexity of corporate governance.
  • Climate Change. While not in the top seven risks globally, the importance of climate change remains high in some regions such as Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, where it has been identified as a top seven risk.
  • Alternative Risk Transfer. A notable portion of respondents are exploring or using captives and other mechanisms, indicating a strategic approach to managing D&O risk despite the softer market conditions.

Jeremy Wall, Head of Global FINEX, WTW, said: “We are pleased to be launching the 2024 Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report in collaboration with Clyde & Co. This year marks our most expansive survey yet, with contributions from over 50 countries, and for the first time, our survey includes detailed insights into Africa, the Middle East and India offering a more nuanced understanding of regional risk dynamics.

We strongly recommend that organisations prioritise evolving their risk management practices, addressing the emerging threats, particularly around health and safety.”

Jeremy Wall | Head of Global FINEX, WTW

“While the last five years have seen cyber and data breaches being a top risk for directors and officers, it was a surprise to see Health & Safety be considered the top risk. Clearly the pandemic continues to impact the business environment with some of our clients citing the rise in mental health as a considerable concern in their organisations. We strongly recommend that organisations prioritise evolving their risk management practices, addressing the emerging threats, particularly around health and safety.”

James Cooper, Partner and Global Chair of the Insurance Practice, Clyde & Co, said: “The report underscores the dynamic and complex nature of the risk landscape currently facing directors. What we have seen is that there is a pressing need for better education on D&O insurance and indemnification practices to ensure directors and officers are comprehensively protected. By leveraging the insights and recommendations from this report, organisations can better navigate these challenges, enhancing their resilience and strategic response to risks.”

The complete survey can be downloaded here : Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report 2024.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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