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28 June 2013

Risk management proving challenging for insurance firms

Content team

Risk management is proving difficult for insurance firms due to a shortage of knowledgeable, specialist staff, especially across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

This is according to new research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of State Street, which found a quarter of respondents from the EMEA struggled to find suitable personnel, compared to 16 per cent of firms from the Americas.

Enterprise risk management and carrying out due diligence is a key aspect of insurance firms' operations and the research showed that many companies have diversified their lines of business since the financial crisis began, due in part to risk management considerations and new capital requirement regulations. Over a quarter (29 per cent) of firms in the Americas said they have taken such action, with the figure rising to 39 per cent among EMEA companies.

Furthermore, the majority (89 per cent) of respondents globally said improving risk assessment and pricing is proving difficult at present, while 80 per cent are finding balancing liquidity and reserve adequacy challenging.

Over 300 firms responded to the survey and executive vice-president and international chief risk officer at State Street David Suetens said the survey "highlights risk management as one of the most pressing areas of challenge for industry leaders".

"When adjusting their business models, firms must confront the resulting risk challenges to
successfully adapt to this exciting new environment," he remarked, adding the current landscape of the insurance industry "places a laser focus on risk".

It is not just insurance firms that are having to deal with increased risk assessment requirements - new research from Wolters Kluwer Financial Services shows that, in the US, banks and credit unions are also under pressure to meet stringent regulations.

The research found financial companies are having to allocate more resources to dealing with risk management and regulatory compliance and as a result are turning to their executive teams and boards of directors to have a more hands-on role in managing risk.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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