You Think Political Instability Is Crazy Now? Half of Business Leaders Surveyed Said It’ll Only Get Worse

With global risk perceived as increasing, business leaders remain confident in their own company's success.
By: | February 23, 2019 • 3 min read

Risk is global; confidence is local.

That’s what the CNA Hardy Global Risk and Confidence Report concluded after surveying 1,500 business leaders from multinational firms across the globe.


In total, 82 percent of business leaders believed they operate in a moderate to high risk environment. Twenty-two percent cited economic risk as their top concern, with cyber risk following close behind at 19 percent.

These numbers, the report concluded, stem from several factors, with global tension and political risk leading the forefront. Forty-eight percent of respondents cited Brexit as a driver of their concerns, while 34 percent added the global trade war tensions add to their precaution.

Predicting Growth, Wary of Risk

CNA found that in North America, 64 percent were confident in their business’ ability to grow.

Across the pond, the proportion falls to 60 percent for Mainland Europe. The UK, facing a looming Brexit, was more uncertain, with only 39 percent of leaders confident in their business’ potential for growth.

As for Asia, where respondents are wary of trade war fall out, only 53 percent of leaders said they were confident in their business’ growth potential.

In addition to economic and cyber risks, respondents cited technology risk (14 percent) and political risk (13 percent) as their numbers three and four top risk concerns. In fact, almost half of the respondents (42 percent) think political risk is likely to increase within the next six months.

Technology: From a ‘Near Risk’ to Global Top Three

Technology was a critical area of spend among respondents, noted the report. Seventy-four percent of leaders said they are prioritizing technology, while only 14 percent answered they are cutting back on tech spend.

“Often expansion is facilitated by technology,” read the report, “which offers access to new markets literally at the touch of a button. On the plus side, technology does everything businesses could ask for: enabling more efficient operating, improving customer engagement – even delivering step changes in performance.”

“Insurance has a key role to play in helping companies to get that risk management right, both in prevention and incident response.” — David Legassick, head of technology and cyber, CNA Hardy

But on the other end, “it’s a myth that technology inevitably makes companies more nimble and flexible.”

That is also why technology moved from being a ‘near risk’ in a CNA Hardy May 2018 study to one of the top three concerns of business leaders today. Additionally, 37 percent believe technology risk will increase in the next six months.

“Anxiety about the role of technology is also reflected within the sector’s leadership,” the report said. Fifty-nine percent of respondents are confident about the future, but 17 percent remain cautious about the weight of expectation placed on tech advancement and the risks that they could face.

Breaking Down Cyber

In the May 2018 CNA survey, cyber was considered the #1 top risk. This time around, it took second as the most concerning risk for business leaders.

CNA Hardy discovered that while small- and mid-size businesses tend to be the most vulnerable to cyber threat, large corporations are most concerned about this risk, with nearly 50 percent of leaders predicting cyber risk will increase in the next six months.


“There is a chronic shortage of cyber security skills and this will continue as new technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) amplifies creating more insecurities,” wrote David Legassick, head of technology and cyber, CNA Hardy, for the report.

“This means the gap between risk and mitigation, exposure and cover will continue to grow. Insurance has a key role to play in helping companies to get that risk management right, both in prevention and incident response,” Legassick said.

Additional Insights 

The main goal of the CNA Hardy report was to review and come to an understanding of how the mood in the market is changing internationally and where insurers should focus their discussions with clients.

The 1,500 business leaders surveyed ranged from businesses with turnover of $6.5 million to up to more than $1.3 billion, and they came from sectors ranging from manufacturing and construction to tech and life sciences.

The study goes one step further and analyzes each region in detail, from North America to Asia Pacific, Mainland Europe and the UK. Read the full report here&

Autumn Heisler is the digital producer and a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]