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Press Release

WTW launches geopolitical risk research programme to bring together world experts and build resilience against escalating threats

November 29, 2022

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.

LONDON, November 29, 2022 — WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company, has announced the launch of a new research programme, coordinated by the WTW Research Network, focusing on some of the most significant drivers of geopolitical risk and what global businesses can do to proactively manage these threats.

As governments around the world continue to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19, a rapidly escalating geopolitical storm of political, economic and social disruptors is challenging established international systems and leading to increasing turbulence across the full risk landscape.

The research programme will focus on some of the most important issues in the geopolitical space, exploring the impact on the international supply chain, trade blocs and international institutions:

  • the changing relationship between China and the rest of the world;
  • the political implications of climate change, including resource scarcity, climate-led migration and demographic changes as well as resource scarcity and climate fragility as drivers for inter-regional cooperation or conflict.
  • how grey-zone aggression and cyber threats are increasingly being used to achieve geostrategic objectives, with ramifications for the application of international law and insurance contracts.

Internal polarisation is being exacerbated by sharply rising costs of living, and risks weakening the decision-making abilities of many western countries and corporates, emboldening alternative visions on national governance.”

Hélène Galy | Head of the WTW Research Network

Hélène Galy, Head of the WTW Research Network, said “While internal polarisation is being exacerbated by sharply rising costs of living, corporates are increasingly realising that geopolitical tensions are not only affecting national governments. In fact, they are challenging the aspiration of finance, insurance and corporates to be neutral. Our partnerships with world-class specialists Elisabeth Braw and Dr Orville Schell bring fresh perspectives and an increased appreciation of this new landscape, so we can help our clients understand the risks and opportunities presented by geopolitical events.”

Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society said: “On the whole, given that ‘engagement’ as a policy is no longer the operating system of relations between China and the liberal democratic world, there is an urgent need to factor questions of political risk into all considerations, whether as diplomats, academics, members of the media or businessmen. Building resilience into supply chains, diversifying the sourcing of high-technology products, ensuring the stability and continuity of food and water systems, and stabilizing state-to-state relations is of fundamental importance to the current international system, especially in the growing Asia-Pacific region.”

Elisabeth Braw, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said: “I look forward to continuing my collaborating with WTW as part of its outstanding work analysing the intersection between globalised business and geopolitical confrontation. No industry is more attuned to risk than the insurance sector, which has also been a leading force in trying to assess the risks stemming from today’s increasing geopolitical confrontation. Because companies are highly exposed to these risks, understanding them is vital not just for insurers but for Western economies more widely.”

Jo Holliday, Global Head of Crisis Management, said: “The geopolitical landscape is increasingly complex, nuanced and systemic. With the Western world’s attention on Ukraine and Russia, electoral tensions in Sri Lanka, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to highlight the growing security and political stability risks spreading across other regions. Geopolitical risk is of increasing concern to our clients and in-depth research initiatives such as this enables us and them to understand the risks associated across crisis management and geopolitical tensions and translate that into solutions and innovation.

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 organisations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximise performance.

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

About the WTW Research Network

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. Founded in 2016, the WTW Research Network continues drive innovative research by partners in science, academia, think tanks and the private sector, combining specialist expertise with state of the art knowledge across our global network.

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