Is There a Risk Management Talent Drought in Europe?

A quarter of European insurers say it’s hard to find knowledgeable, qualified risk management staff, compared to 16% of their US counterparts.

(June 28, 2013) -- European insurers are becoming increasing troubled by the lack of knowledgeable, qualified risk managers in the talent pool, according to research from State Street.

According to its survey, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit in April, 25% of European insurers said they found it difficult to find the right sort of risk manager, compared to 16% of US insurers.

The dearth of suitable talent is concerning, given 89% of insurance executives said improving the assessment and pricing of risk was a challenge.

In addition, 80% of respondents globally viewed balancing liquidity and reserve adequacy as a challenge, and almost a third (29%) said their companies have divested lines of business since the start of the financial crisis due to new capital requirements or risk management considerations.

David Suetens, executive vice president and international chief risk officer at State Street, said: "The changing environment in the insurance industry is transformational: enhanced product design, changes in the distribution channels, regulatory demands, and their investment practices. 

"Consequently, the survey highlights risk management as one of the most pressing areas of challenge for industry leaders. This new landscape places a laser focus on risk. When adjusting their business models, firms must confront the resulting risk challenges to successfully adapt to this exciting new environment."

More than 300 responses were received from insurance executives globally across all industry sub-sectors, including life insurance companies, casualty firms, and diversified insurers.

Half of respondents were board level, while the remainder were in senior management positions. The geographic breakdown of respondents was 36% from Asia Pacific, 26% from the Americas, and 38% from EMEA. 

Risk reporting is also in the news for insurers: last week, business school EDHEC issued a call to arms to those in the risk reporting sections of insurance companies to come together and assist with a European-wide survey.

Aiming to provide substantive and qualitative evidence on risk reporting practices by insurers, taking into account the latest developments in regulation, accounting disclosures, and stakeholder reporting developments, EDHEC are seeking the views of European insurer participants over the next few weeks.

Insurers keen to take part should contact research assistant Tracey Zalk.

Related Content: Insurance Companies! EDHEC Wants to Talk to You… and Insurers' Investments Key to European Recovery, Claims Report  

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