Historically, the risk function in insurers has been a risk-averse, conservative area of the organization. But in today’s digitally enabled, fast-moving marketplace, insurers that are able to balance sound risk management without stifling innovation can better position themselves to achieve a competitive advantage.

Risk management is crucial to business strategy

Figure 1. How involved is the CRO in the following aspects of your organization's decision-making process?
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The Accenture 2015 Global Risk Management Study—North American Insurance report looked at the extent to which North American insurers involved their chief risk officer (CRO) in the organization’s decision-making process.

  • 88 percent of respondents said their CRO is involved in strategic planning.
  • 86 percent of respondents said their CRO is involved in business model changes.
  • 80 percent of respondents said their CRO is involved in making decisions about digital initiatives.

These results show there’s an opportunity for CROs to position themselves as essential strategic advisors, especially as insurers explore new territory and digital opportunities. For example, the evolving nature of risk means that insurers need to consider new ways of understanding and pricing risk—and how those new risks might affect the claims function.

In addition, the risk function itself will need tools and capabilities to keep up in an increasingly fast-paced market. Advanced data and analytics capabilities, as well as people who can manage these capabilities, will be crucial to success.

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