What will risk management for captives look like in the next two decades?

What will risk management for captives look like in the next two decades? | Insurance Business America

“Not from one year to the next, but over an enduring future”

Risk Management News

Kenneth Araullo

As the captive insurance industry reflects the years marked by significant global uncertainties, the emphasis on transitioning from reactive to strategic risk management has never been more critical.

This shift is being driven by advances in data analytics and digitalization, enabling captives to address complex challenges, particularly in the face of climate change. Properly leveraging these tools is essential for captives to enhance their long-term resilience and strategic value.

Peter Carter (pictured above), WTW‘s head of climate practice and head of captive and insurance management solutions, offers insight into the evolving landscape of captive insurance and how it is positioned to address emerging global risks, including climate change.

“The past two decades have been characterized by uncertainty and volatility — conflict, terrorism, Brexit, a global financial crisis, pandemic and inflation. As the captives’ industry reflects on 20 years’ responding to this unpredictability, it’s a good moment to think about how to optimize captive risk resiliency and prepare for the next 20,” he said.

Carter noted that the captive insurance industry is witnessing a shift from short-term risk management to a strategic, long-term approach, driven by advancements in data and digitization. This transformation allows captive managers to access integrated solutions and digital platforms that consolidate data for a clearer risk quantification over extended periods.

“Leading on this will be about accessing integrated underwriting solutions and digital platforms that allow you to consolidate data to gain a single ‘source of truth’. This clarity enables you to better quantify risk and define what risk financing efficiency really looks like — not from one year to the next, but over an enduring future,” Carter said.

Trends for the captive sector

With the rise of climate change impacts, strategic risk management becomes crucial. The industry is tasked with a dual challenge: mitigating their businesses’ environmental impact while managing the physical effects of climate change on their operations.

Carter noted that traditional insurance markets may not fully cover some climate-related risks, which is where captive insurance plays a pivotal role. It allows for the accumulation of reserves and better risk packaging for potential transfer to traditional markets in the future.

“Developing comprehensive climate risk management strategies that enhance resilience has to be a priority for captive managers and their C suite clients. Designing these strategies successfully will mean using data analytics and modelling that calls on the latest scientific evidence,” he said.

Another trend identified is the leveraging of data analytics for refined risk optimization. In the digital age, captives must embrace deeper and broader digitalization to keep pace with evolving technologies like AI and machine learning.

“By leveraging advanced analytics tools today, captives can gain real-time insights into risk exposures, enabling you to identify and assess emerging risks, quantify potential impacts and develop more ever-more precisely tailored risk mitigation strategies. Both emerging risks and developing risk analytics capabilities will drive this continued risk management refinement,” Carter said.

Furthermore, Carter discussed the importance of robust data analytics and predictive modelling in supporting a proactive and strategic risk management approach. He suggests that data-driven decision frameworks will become increasingly important, especially as corporate governance continues to scrutinize executive decisions related to long-term value preservation.

“Data-driven optimization decision frameworks that allow you to explore the most efficient and effective risk optimization options for your captive program are likely to gain more prominence, particularly as corporate governance is holding executives to account for their decisions and ability to preserve long-term value,” he said.

Looking to the future, Carter anticipates that captives will play a critical role in next-generation risk governance. Over the past 20 years, the scope of captives has expanded beyond traditional risks to include modern challenges like cyber liability and supply chain disruptions.

Moving forward, Carter sees potential for captives in supporting multinational organizations to finance harmonized employee benefits programs across different regions.

This broadening of scope could also address organizational goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, by adapting group medical plans or adding benefits to accommodate diverse family structures and dependents.

“Such moves can both support effective people risk strategies and deliver against diversity, equity and inclusion organizational objectives,” Carter said.

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