World Insurance Report

Managing energy risks in a volatile environment

The financial crisis has served to elevate enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) to the level of the imperative. According to Dan Glaser, chairman and chief executive of insurance group, Marsh Inc, the financial crisis has pushed companies into an era of strategic capital management which has to be embedded in the culture and practices of the entire organisation, at all levels. Here, in an edited extract from his keynote address to the 44th Annual Marine Insurance Seminar in Houston, Mr. Glaser issued a call to the insurance industry for ingenuity, discipline and vigour to meet the emerging needs of clients in the energy sector. Energy companies, he argued, have to navigate increasingly complex challenges, including fallout from the global economic crisis, energy price volatility, and natural catastrophe risks. The insurance industry has all sorts of tools and data to mitigate operational risks and natural hazards. While this is valuable, there may be insufficient focus on what is becoming more daunting for energy companies: dealing with uncertainty surrounding political, regulatory, and economic trends — and planning for the unexpected

Today, worldwide demand for oil may be down from the all-time high of 2008. Yet, once the global economy gets back on track, oil consumption will likely resume its upward trend.

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