Stacey Huang

With captive insurance on the agenda at this year’s PARIMA conference, Stacey Huang reveals there is a heightened sense of interest in alternative risk financing...

How many attendees are you expecting at this year’s conference?

We are expecting about 200 attendees at our Hong Kong conference, with more than 50 percent of them flying from outside of Hong Kong. Most of our attendees are senior risk and insurance corporate managers who are in charge of managing their organisation’s risk profile.

They are from multiple industries and organisations such as Amazon, Aboitiz Group, Asia-World Expo, BASF, BMW, City Development, DHL, DLA Piper, DuPont, Estee Lauder, HSBC, Huawei, IFC, Jardine Matheson, Krisenergy, John Foord, Lenovo, MTR, Myanmar Brewery, PCCW, Peninsula, Qatar Sports Investments, Rolls-Royce, Telstra International and Veolia.

We are also expecting representatives from the insurance industry who are also supporters of the Pan-Asia Risk & Insurance Management Association (PARIMA) and are speakers at our conference. We are delighted to welcome Rob Brown, group CEO of AXA Corporate Solutions, Kent Chaplin, CEO of Lloyds’ Asia, and David Jacob, CEO of Marsh Asia, as our panellist speakers this year. It is our objective that our conference will help strengthen the bonds within our community in a collaborative and educational atmosphere.

What can delegates expect from the two-day event?

This time, we have separated our two-day event into a masterclasses day on 16 November and a main conference day on 17 November. We recognise an appetite to dive deep into specific topics and allocate more time for interaction and workshops, and the four masterclasses cater to that need.

Delegates can choose to attend two out of the four sessions where they can engage in exercises on business interruption, hosted by Swiss Re, play a game on international programme, hosted by Zurich, simulate travel risks responses, hosted by International SOS, or learn more about multinationals, hosted by AIG.

Our main conference day has an impressive line-up of speakers starting with Hong Kong’s own entrepreneur, Danny Yeung, and closing with a panel session with CEOs of the industry. In between, we have educational streams on bite-size topics such as mergers and acquisitions, C-suite engagement, project risk management, captive insurance, human capital risks and cross-border third-party risks. The set-up of the conference is to ensure risk managers who are responsible for enterprise risk management, governance, security or insurance would be able to choose sessions that best fit their responsibilities and interests. In our exhibition space, we have more than 20 partners available for discussions and networking, as well as a technology room showcasing our tech partners and their products that can better support risk managers.

In addition, PARIMA will be announcing some of the initiatives we have been working on to develop the risk profession—we are proud to be launching the results of a salary benchmarking survey on purchasing behaviour within this region. We are also excited to be announcing more details about PARIMA’s risk certification programme that will certainly be a game changer for all risk professionals.

What sessions are you most looking forward to?

There are many to look forward to but I would be interested in the educational stream on how risk managers can influence the C-suite. We often attend seminars that are more technical and tactical in nature: reputation risks, captives, natural catastrophe, supply chain, and so on. These are great in terms of updating and educating risk managers on the best practices and products available. Rarely is there one on the equally important but less technical side of influencing upwards. As the profession is still developing, most risk managers face the challenge of educating and convincing their colleagues and bosses on risk management practices. It can be a struggle to obtain the support required, especially when the risks are intangible and hard to quantify. We hope to see more of such sessions where we are enabling risk managers to take what they have learnt, and bring it back to their companies so others can also recognise the value of risk management.

The panellist session in the morning on innovation and technology and how risk managers should be thinking ahead is another exciting one. We have heard so much about the internet of things, disruption, innovation and digitalisation, and this is a panel that is bringing it all together.

I’ll be keen to hear from risk managers such as Pierre Noel, chief information security and privacy officer of Huawei, and Gill Mellor, legal and European business director of MTR Corporation, on how they are navigating risks within their organisations in such a dynamic landscape.

Captives appear on the agenda. How is the Asia Pacific evolving in terms of risk management needs?

The growing market uncertainty and rise of emerging risks is starting to pressure companies to re-look at risk management beyond a compliance and policing role. Risk managers have to evolve to be more strategic, to understand the business and external factors better. C-suites are also starting to have higher expectations from their risk managers.

Emerging risks such as cyber, terror and climate change are causing enough concern for risk managers to look for solutions or at least start paying attention. We are seeing a heightened sense of interests and more attendance on these topics from not just risk managers but also those in human resources, IT, finance, legal, procurement and general management. Clearly, risk management as a mindset is starting to permeate across departments and there is a gradual awakening of the value of risk management across the Asia Pacific and how it should be seen in a more strategic light. There is an evolvement, but it is a slow process.

On the one hand, you have companies just starting to embrace the importance of risk management, and on the other hand, you have those who are ready to have deeper conversations on the finer details of alternative risk financing and risk transfer strategies.

Regardless of where they are on their risk management journey, PARIMA exists to support them and provide development opportunities that can help accelerate them. Education remains key to raising and developing the profession and having a higher standard of risk management practices across the region.

What will PARIMA be working on in 2017 in terms of captives?

The growth of captives in some parts of the Asia Pacific points to a rising sophistication of risk owners looking for long-term vehicles that could provide them with flexible solutions and better control their insurance costs. I believe we will continue to see more of such interest in the region. This year, we have done a few captive-centric workshops with good responses and now countries such as China and Thailand are asking for more.

Our line-up of events for 2017 will certainly include captives as one of the key topics to address. It will also be on the agenda for our upcoming conferences and local workshops. PARIMA is exploring potential collaboration with local domiciles with the aims of bringing a captive-only Asia conference in H1 2017.

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