By MATTHEW BRODSKY, senior editor/Web editor of Risk & Insurance®
We at Risk & Insurance® typically are a cheerful lot. After all, we cover the diverse and dynamic universe of insurance and risk management, spanning carriers and claims, government and law, technology and science, global development and high finance. But lately, the view has gotten dim. Some players in the field, once held in high esteem, are now under fire. Others hold their breath and hope they're not the next victim. Meanwhile, risk managers, corporate and public alike, scrape together increasingly dwindling resources and staff as the main budget priority becomes survival.
Things aren't looking up anytime soon. Egads, man. What else could happen?
To help us gain as sharp and sober a focus as possible on our world, and what's to come, we decided to recruit some of the leaders in the insurance and risk management field, across as many industries as possible, to dissect what they see as the major challenges in their field--and detail what they're doing about them.
Link to all of this insight, including Web exclusive guest writers, here.
We're talking names you've heard before, like Gregory Case, Mark Lyons, Janice Ochenkowski, Carol Zacharias, as well as names you should know.
Their reader-generated content can be found here. The authors include the likes of Victor Parker, who heads risk management for the second largest city in the United States, Los Angeles.
Parker stares down the possibility of not just a slashed budget, but no budget. Yet he stays positive and provides "13 lucky survival tips" for risk managers on the hot seat.
As a public risk manager, Parker is not alone. Timothy Mahoney, president of global risk management at Marsh, reports that risk managers at some of the largest corporations are also wrestling with these critical issues, such as how to maximize spending, allocate time and improve efficiency.
It doesn't help that the insurance market is challenging, with certain lines becoming more complex (and some would say exasperating) to place.
In such a market, a flight to quality is clearly in the cards, and already taking place, on the part of both customers and insurers. In the process, insurers must pay particular attention to five critical risks, according to Mark Lyons, chairman and CEO of Arch Worldwide Insurance Group.
Meanwhile, John Glancy, chief underwriting officer for XL Insurance, devotes his piece to one particular insurer concern: making sure underwriters get the proper price for risks in these tough times and not dive for market share above all else.
Or how about George Stratts, vice president of AIU Holdings' Property Casualty Group, who raises the specter of the next great catastrophe. California quake, the next Florida major hurricane, a man-made disaster--you imagine the multibillion-dollar catastrophe, then imagine cash-strapped insurers and reinsurers unable to find infusions of green from the capital markets.
Back to the buyers of insurance, we have additional commentaries from risk management professionals working in fields from airlines to parcel delivery, from technology to utilities, from hospitality to healthcare.
Ochenkowski, past-president of the Risk and Insurance Management Society and managing director with Jones LaSalle Inc., provides the view from the real estate industry, the forward-looking view.
The wave of the future for building owners and managers is here today: green building. As advantageous as sustainable and ecologically sound building practices are, they do bear risks, many as of yet unknown and unaccounted for, she says.
What is Ochenkowski doing to deal with green risks at Jones LaSalle? How are Lyons, Stratts and Glancy steering their companies on a straight course in spite of the full-blown gale? How does Parker stay so upbeat about risk management despite the downturn?
Read each of our expert contributors' articles to find out.
April 15, 2009
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