Insurance companies say public health events are No. 1 risk: study

Insurance companies are concerned with risk assessment, but Aviva Canada wanted to know what business people really thought were the main risks they faced.

In a survey of 1,500 business leaders, the first time Aviva has conducted such a study, it found that 32% of respondents ranked public health events as the biggest risk they faced.

Aviva’s own research found that COVID-19 forced one in three businesses to close in the first 18 months of the pandemic, and the same percentage was affected by public health restrictions.

The rest of the top five risks businesses face according to the survey were: cyber security and cyber incidents; the health and mental well-being of employees; shortage of skilled labour; and business interruption, including supply chain disruptions.

Susan Penwarden, Aviva Canada’s chief technical underwriter, said it was difficult to highlight the most surprising element of the survey, but noted that there were a small number of companies who said that their business continuity plans hadn’t really served them well during the pandemic. and they must review and refresh them.

“We’ve also noticed companies putting more emphasis on risk awareness and risk management over the next five years,” she said.

She said there was a parallel between those who pointed to the shortage of skilled workers and the health and welfare of employees as the main risks.

“That would imply that they maybe understand that there is a connection between these two things,” Penwarden said. “Part of keeping your staff qualified is thinking about employee well-being.”

Concerns about the risks associated with climate change were not among the top five risks, but Penwarden thinks that could be related to the fact that the survey was conducted last fall when most companies were concerned about management. of the pandemic.

“I think it reflects the moment and public health events were front and center for them,” she said.

As an insurance company, Penwarden said Aviva sees the impact of climate change all the time in weather events that are becoming more frequent and severe.

“We plan to relaunch the survey on an annual basis and it will be interesting to see if climate change becomes more prominent again as we move forward,” she said. “We continue to talk about it and educate about it.”

A company statement said a key finding of the report is that Canadian businesses now perceive risk very differently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and are increasingly focused on managing. and business continuity plans, where six out of 10 Canadian businesses have declared continuity and risk planning needs updating.

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Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has written a column and business news for the Free Press since 1989. During those years he wrote through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) of the fortunes of many local businesses .

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