Live from Davos with Zurich’s CRO

Channels: Managers, Risk, Governance, Regulation

Companies: Zurich, WEF

People: Alison Martin

Alison Martin, group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group shares with Insurance Asset Risk her expectations ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting which takes place in Davos from 22nd to 25th January 2019.



Davos January 21, 9pm - the eve before the start in earnest of World Economic Forum 2019... For me this meeting is a unique opportunity to learn; to listen to new perspectives on both old and new challenges; to contribute to moving the debate from words to actions...and to see how many different topics you can pack into the available 18 hours a day (assuming sleep is a necessity at some point!).  

This year I am mainly following two tracks of risk resilience content, the first is on the environment, with a particular emphasis on climate change and the second cyber security.  I also have the occasional pitstop planned into the credit cycle, economic collaboration, importance of mental wellbeing and ethics in Artificial Intelligence... 

Environmental risks are where the world is most clearly sleep walking into catastrophe according to the 2019 Global Risks Report with extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaption of biggest concern over the next 10 years.

I am keen to see how we can bridge the necessary long term thinking into short term agendas, whether that’s of policy makers, investors or other stakeholders.

The recent IPCC report gave us just 12 years to make a significant transformation to the way we live and work if we want to keep global warming to around 1.5 degrees.

If you combine that with the estimated global infrastructure investment gap of $18trn you can see a huge opportunity for businesses to invest in transformative energy, transport and digital infrastructures to enable rapid innovations at scale for renewables, carbon capture and storage, battery technology, grid infrastructures, road and rail networks for electric vehicles, telecommunications etc.

I will be joining debates on how the investor community can support the transition to a low carbon economy as we play a vital role in ensuring the successful navigation of the risks involved with this. 

On cyber security, ranked the number 1 risk of doing business in Europe, US and South East Asia for 2019, I will join discussions on a variety of aspects; from looking at the role of Boards in building resilience, increasing organisations preparedness, how public-private partnerships can support global collaboration including in areas such as data and insight sharing, aligning on common standards, tools and approaches and how to meet the challenge of getting sufficient expertise whilst also improving diversity.  

Given the eye watering estimates of the potential costs of cyber crime (from the hundreds of billions to the single digit trillions) and the inherent uncertainties in assessing and managing the risk; the more diverse perspectives in the room to solve the challenges the better. 

I hope at the end of the week I will come away with some new insights, contacts and ideas as to how to accelerate the momentum on addressing the key global risks...and to have learnt something totally unexpected!

Martin's round up of Day 1 can be found here. Her round up of Day 2 is available here. Her final round up can be found here.