There are some risks against which even the most vigilant board is powerless. On the other hand, there are significant known unknowns that property/casualty boards should anticipate in 2015.

Executive Summary

Across public companies of varying sizes and industries, boards say their top priorities for 2015 are strategy, risk oversight, board composition, CEO succession planning and cyber security, according to a Deloitte survey. P/C carrier boards might want to move CEO succession planning—or leadership development generally—high up on the list, says Deloitte's Howard Mills, referencing results of a separate cross-industry survey finding that many CXOs have little confidence in the leadership abilities of those coming up the ranks behind them.

Many of these surround risk and regulation in a period when some risks, such as cyber risk, are significantly increasing and when uncertainties surrounding regulation remain high, even as an increase in regulation seems to become more certain.

In our next column, we will narrow our focus and discuss strategy and what boards can do to ensure their organizations are properly prepared to thrive in this era of enhanced insurance regulation and increasingly diversified regulatory influences. But to start off 2015, it might be worthwhile to take a broader look at what boards in general consider their priorities for 2015.

The “2014 Board Practices Report: Perspectives from the boardroom” (ninth edition) published by the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals in collaboration with the Deloitte Center for Corporate Governance (available at www.corpgov.deloitte.com) presented findings from a survey of the society’s membership, which includes individuals from more than 1,200 public companies of varying sizes and industries on 16 board governance areas.

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