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Getting the most from global programmes: Key insights for risk managers

From crisis, to captives, to cyber — Commercial Risk’s “Global Programmes — Europe 2023 Conference”, sponsored by Marsh, tackled a broad gambit of trends and challenges faced by the risk managers of multinational companies in today’s climate.

From crisis, to captives, to cyber — Commercial Risk’s “Global Programmes — Europe 2023 Conference”, sponsored by Marsh, tackled a broad gambit of trends and challenges faced by the risk managers of multinational companies in today’s climate.

The event, held Wednesday, 13 September, in London, saw leaders and specialists from across the risk management and insurance sectors — including many from Marsh — come together to talk about risks now and on the horizon, insurance program creation, and the process and pitfalls associated with claims.

The panelists’ discussions were set against the backdrop of the day, and issues such as inflation, climate change, and digital transformation, proved strong contextual anchors throughout. 

Marsh specialists and leaders shared insights on a number of topics throughout the event. Below are some of their key takeaways.

On digital transformation:

  • During the keynote panel, Marsh McLennan UK’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ailsa King, stressed the importance of the insurance industry seizing the once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve true digital transformation.
  • The key drivers for digitizing trading platforms are cost reduction and, ultimately, increased efficiency; transactions could be processed in seconds, rather than days.
  • Third party capital providers are increasingly interested in supporting the digital transformation through investment in new technology. Marsh is adopting a partnering approach to help bring the latest technology to the table. 

On securing the best insurance programs:

  • Marsh UK’s Head of Risk Management Property Placement, Simon Jenkins, outlined during his presentation how underwriters are using new technologies to assess risk and premiums, helping clients in their future-proofing and resilience.
  • As technological advancement in this space increases, program creation will shift from sanitizing data to using standardized data to get the right coverage. Good quality data will lead to better decisions.
  • Technology will not, however, negate the need for people in the renewal process — the panel agreed that empathy will continue to play a crucial role in the placement of insurance.

On cyber risk coverage:

  • Marsh UK’s Retail Cyber Team Leader, Yue Yang, spoke of the prevalent underinvestment in cyber security measures, as companies struggle to grasp the full extent of their cyber risk exposure.
  • Many SMEs are also underinsured against cyber risk due to lack of awareness and limited financial means.
  • The threat of cyberattack continues to grow as technology evolves and systemic cyber risk increases; the insurance industry is taking steps to address unknowns and uncertainties in the space.

On captives:

  • According to Robert Geraghty, International Sales Leader at Marsh Captive Solutions, the increase in captives is a long-term trend that is set to continue growing and evolving.
  • A recording-breaking 370 new captives have been set up in the last three years, attracting $70 billion in premium.
  • Though countries like France are now opening their doors to captives and growing the space, multinational companies are still likely to turn to tried and tested captive hubs with familiar regulatory environments.


  • Marsh UK’s ESG and Climate Consulting Director, Dr Beverly Adams reminded attendees that ESG was weaving into the “moments that matter”, be that insurance, M&A, or even annual reporting.
  • ESG is an evolving risk that is no longer just a nice to have — with stakeholders such as investors, customers, and regulators increasingly focused on the area, ESG is now a mainstay on boardroom agendas.
  • Dr Beverly Adams stressed that is was paramount for each and every sector to have a roadmap outlining their ESG strategy for the next few years; this is the best way to build in resilience and smooth the way for adaptation.

On the tax and regulation impact:

  • Marsh’s Global Leader, Insurance Regulation and Tax Consulting Practice, Praveen Sharma stressed during his presentation that tax issues relating to claims for multinationals stemmed from unsuitable program structures.
  • Multinationals must remain vigilant and aware of the changing tax landscapes in the jurisdictions they operate in.
  • Misinterpretation and misconception of local laws lead to wasted money and time. 

On claims trends:

  • Marsh’s International Practice Leader, Claims Solutions, Christian Knutson highlighted that increased volatility due to elevated global inflation, supply chain issues, and extreme weather were affecting the claims market in the short term.
  • In the longer term, emerging threats including geopolitical challenges, increased technological exposure, societal shifts, and changing perspectives are likely to impact claims trends.
  • During the panel, the practicalities of claims generated much discussion, with Christian Knutson highlighting the importance of balancing the where and when of claims through robust placement and solid claims protocols, respectively. 

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