There’s a section of Carrier Management’s May/June 2020 edition focused on new ways to manage risk at a time of accelerating change. The topic was appropriately conceived by our guest editor, David Bradford, a reinsurance industry veteran who was also the co-founder of what is now a 20-year-old InsurTech.
CM reached out to Bradford to develop a part of this magazine that was scheduled to be physically delivered to the RIMS 2020 annual meeting. Now working as a consultant advising traditional players and startups on risk challenges and innovation strategies, Bradford drew his inspiration from the 50-year-old book “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, which describes a world where too much change happens in too short a period of time.
That’s how insurers and reinsurers were feeling when advances in technology and data were emerging faster than they could update systems, understand risks and conceive of new products for the modern economy. In fact, according to a survey published by Willis Tower Watson in February, insurance executives ranked cybersecurity and disruptive technology as the most dangerous risks they were facing. (Related article, “Pre-COVID, Cybersecurity Tops Insurer Ranking of Dangerous Risks“)
That was all before the coronavirus pandemic grew to epic proportions and change stopped accelerating. In fact, the world stopped.
For many of us—especially people like me who live in the epicenter in the Corona/Elmhurst ZIP code in New York—listening to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has become a daily constant as we watch the world from our windows and look for signs of change. On April 1, Cuomo started talking about the future.
“We should start looking forward at how this experience will change us—or how it should change us,” he said. “This will be a transformative experience” on a personal, social and systems basis.
Going on to acknowledge fears that might prompt us to accept isolation for good, he continued: “We must make sure the change is positive.”
“How do we grow from this?” he asked. “If you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter and wiser, or bitter, angry and fearful?”
“How do you make the economy more resilient?” he asked, noting that something like this will happen again. “We’re seeing it with floods and hurricanes.”
“Why weren’t we ready?…Why don’t we gear our medical research to these threats and challenges?” he asked, calling for future thinking about backing up first responders who fall ill and about the need for “societal stability.”
“You can’t just tell everyone, ‘Sit on your couch and order takeout.’ That’s not how we were built.”
I have included so much of Cuomo’s April address because this is an industry that deals with catastrophe on a regular basis. I hope that at the time you’re reading this, you are safe and planning for the future—and you’re reflecting on Cuomo’s central questions as they apply to your lives and your companies: How has this changed you personally? As a leader? How has it changed your company? The trajectory it’s been on?
In Cuomo’s words, “We’re never going to be the same. We’re not going to forget what happened.”
Profiles of several leaders who have made gigantic leaps in their careers are included in the May/June edition too. They suggest that our industry is up to the challenges that lie ahead when the world restarts.
CM would like to include the thoughts of insurance and reinsurance leaders on these questions in our next edition. Please contact me if you’d like to share your views for publication (firstname.lastname@example.org).