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Press Release

Businesses increasingly concerned about reputational risk according to Willis Towers Watson survey

68% of clients surveyed have no framework in place for reputation risk

January 21, 2021

Casualty|Risk and Analytics|Corporate Risk Tools and Technology|Property Risk and Insurance Solutions

ASIA, January 21, 2021 – In its 2020 Reputational Risk Survey published late last year, Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, revealed that 86 percent of clients are concerned about loss of income and a reduced customer base due to reputational risk.

In a world where social media allows views and opinions to be shared globally in a matter of seconds, an organisation’s reputation can change very quickly. With less stringent checks in place compared to traditional media outlets, it is easy to see why organisations are concerned about protecting their hard-won reputations.

Key findings from the survey of 200 global organisations include:

  • Seven in ten (72%) report that risk management teams have at least some responsibility for the monitoring, measuring or management of reputational risk.
  • Nearly the same proportion said that reputational risk is reported at the C-Suite (61%) or Board level (66%) within their organisation. Almost eight in ten (80%) believe that the focus on reputational risk in their business will only increase in the coming five years.The majority of respondents highlighted that reputational risks could result in potentially crippling business outcomes for their organisation such as loss of income (86%) and weakened human capital, because of their reduced ability to retain (62%) or attract (57%) talented employees.
  • Framed against this increasing focus, most respondents pointed out that when it comes to measuring and monitoring reputational risk, they face real challenges in accessing reliable data (51%), with a large proportion (42%) indicating they have inadequate tools to do so.

Scott Burnett, Head of Corporate Risk & Broking Asia and Head of Asia, Willis Towers Watson, said “Loss of income and reduced customer bases are usually the main issues that businesses face following reputational damage. However, the impact of reputational damage can be felt across a business, from recruitment and retention of talent to lower environmental, social and governance (ESG) score, investor activism and increased industry litigation. Reputational risk is therefore increasingly of concern to our clients with most Risk Mangers now having some responsibility for risk mitigation in this area.

As a previously difficult to insure risk, it is unsurprising that all of the survey participants agreed it would be helpful to them to have access to a reputation platform. Willis Towers Watson in partnership with Polecat, a leader in technology and reputation intelligence, have designed a platform that will allow organisations to monitor reputational threats in real time and provide them with reputational impact scores against their peers for issues and risks. To compliment this platform, Willis Towers Watson will soon be launching a risk transfer solution for this previously uninsurable risk. We believe that this combined approach will deliver reputational risk solutions to address our clients’ needs.”

Overall, 200 professionals participated in the Global Reputational Risk Management survey, representing a range of job roles, including risk management, reputational management, corporate communications, marketing and the C-suite between September and November in 2020.

Download a full copy of the report here.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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