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IsoMetrix attends inaugural IRMSA Masterclass

IsoMetrix attended the inaugural IRMSA Conference Masterclass hosted at Gallagher Convention Centre, by the Institute of Risk Management South Africa and Lloyd’s London. The masterclass, themed “Resilient Organisations for today and tomorrow”, featured a number of industry leaders as keynote speakers, discussing growing global risks and their impact on business.

Evolving risk landscape

In his address, “Reviewing the risk landscape through new eyes: linking natural and manmade disasters to economic development in urban centres” Trevor Maynard, Head of Exposure Management and Reinsurance, Lloyd’s London stressed that the world has never been as connected as it is today. Not only in terms of digital connection, but also in supply chain and export/imports. “Economic development is not plain sailing,” he said, “and man-made threats are becoming increasingly significant on the risk landscape.”

Natural and manmade disasters have far-reaching, knock-on effects. Trevor used the example of food security to illustrate the far reaching repercussion these risks can have. With rapid urbanisation and exploding population numbers, a disruption to food supply has devastating socio-economic consequences. Food insecurity is also directly linked to political instability.

The impact of infrastructure

Rachel McLaughlin, Director S-RM Intelligence and Risk Consulting led a panel discussion at the IRMSA Masterclass coving the “Political and Social Impact on Infrastructure Development”. According to estimates by the Word Bank, sub-Saharan Africa will need R100 billion investment in infrastructure development over the next three years. Because of their long-term nature, infrastructure projects are plagued with risks. These risks include political and regulatory risks, especially in politically unstable regions.

The availability of adequate infrastructure had a direct impact on investor confidence. Rachel discussed a number of case studies emphasising the susceptibility of major infrastructure projects to a range of risks –  physical, political and social –  and discussed mitigation measures around these. Social interaction has a significant impact on infrastructure development. Rachel stressed the importance of inclusive community engagement in ensuring the success of these projects.

Cyber risks

A growing concern is the impact cyber threats have on business. Adelle Gruber, Global Cyber, Privacy & Technology Underwriter, BRIT Syndicate 2987 led a panel discussion on “Cyber Trends: Regulation and Innovation”. The panel at the IRMSA event considered the legal and financial impact of cybercrime and discussed the readiness of South African law enforcement authorities to respond to this ever-increasing threat. The panel also reviewed the measures that companies can take to reduce their exposure to cyber risk.

Emerging risks

Trevor Maynard then retook the floor to unpack “New and Emerging Risks Across the Globe”. This final session looked at the risks that business, individuals, and society in general, are likely to be exposed to in the coming decades. The panel focused on terrorism, the evolution of counter-terrorism methodologies, intelligence and prevention and the tools available to businesses to identify and mitigate emerging risks. Trevor defines emerging risks as “issues that are perceived to be potentially significant but which may not be fully understood or allowed for in insurance terms and conditions.”

“Emerging risks follow a number of steps: identification, evaluation, awareness, assessment and quantification,” he explains.  “Risks are interconnected and cannot be viewed in isolation. We need to constantly keep ahead of risks. One thing leads to another, which leads to another.” Emerging risks are long-term considerations for boards, and they cannot be viewed in isolated silos. They need to be addressed creatively and proactively by organisations, that they may bolster their resilience and long-term sustainability.


The IRMSA hosted an informative masterclass session, with plenty of food for thought. Advances in science and technology bring new and perhaps unprecedented risks but it also brings innovative ways to deal with these risks. IsoMetrix will be covering these topics in-depth over the coming weeks, make sure you don’t miss any of these thought leadership pieces by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.