Risk Insider: Tony Boobier

New Riders of the Storm?

By: | March 26, 2015

Tony Boobier is an experienced independent consultant focusing on insurance analytics. An international speaker, commentator and published author, he lies awake at night thinking about the convergence of insurance and technology. He can be reached at [email protected]

Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

I recently had the pleasure of talking to a large group of insurance risk experts about the transformation not only of their industry, but how they also will need to personally reinvent themselves.

It seemed to them that the so-called “nexus of forces” — cloud, analytics, mobile and social — were potentially so disruptive as to seem more like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Some of these new forces of change are easier to take on board than others. Almost all the audience had android devices, and they could understand how “mobile” allows business insight to be distributed much more effectively, and in a timely manner.

“Cloud” seemed to them to be more of a threat than an opportunity, but all recognised the need for greater agility and higher performance from their platform technology. The relatively new concept of the “hybrid cloud” approach allows both scalability and flexibility, without data going off premises or out of country, and in doing so appeared to tick many of the essential boxes.

Mention “social” and one immediately jumps to thinking about external social networks, but we equally need to consider internal communication networks.

“Analytics” was viewed as critical, and of course the risk industry is founded on complex analytics, but as we pushed the discussion further, the concept of cognitive analytics started to make them think more about how their roles would invariably change within the next decade, probably sooner.

But it was the fourth “nexus” that seemed to create the most curiosity, that of “social media.”

Mention “social” and one immediately jumps to thinking about external social networks, but we equally need to consider internal communication networks.

One of the key challenges for risk managers will be to change the organizational culture, and embed risk into each and every decision. This won’t be done by all the employees having a simultaneous “hallelujah” moment, but rather by careful planning and sustained effort, and effective use of internal communication probably delivered through an internal social media platform.

So it was rather worrying that, amongst the audience of nearly 200 risk professionals, the number of who were tweeting could be counted on two hands — and I’ve seen a similar trend at other risk events.

This is much lower than I’ve seen at events for other professions. Are risk professionals so risk averse as to be excessively wary of social media? If so, of the four apocalyptical horses, will the use of social media prove to be one of the more difficult ones to ride?

At the end of the day, we have a choice.  We can be victims of any or all of these four horsemen, and be trampled by them as we rush to escape from the inevitable. Or, we can learn to ride any or all of these stallions, and in doing so become masters of our destiny, and greater masters of our profession.

I know what I prefer, and what’s the best way forward … a “little bird” told me.

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