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Attitudes to risk are changing

The business world is on ‘the cusp of a major revolution’ in its understanding of disaster risk reduction as insurance industry demands force a shift from traditional accounting-based management to risk-based management, according to Rowan Douglas, CEO Global Analytics at Willis Group and vice-chairman of UNISDR's Private Sector Advisory Group.

Speaking in Geneva at the second joint meeting of the UNISDR Private Sector Advisory Group with diplomats from the UNISDR Support Group, he said this new form of financial management will soon begin to have an influence on company behaviours as assets are valued with closer reference to their exposure to risks.

He said that the UNISDR Private Sector Advisory Group is still in its infancy and "the challenge ahead is to integrate the awareness of risk into the economic system in order to make countries and populations resilient."

Mr. Douglas said that the last ten years of remarkable shocks had been like an overture to a 21st century symphony as the world looks ahead to ‘a perfect storm of environmental challenges, population growth and an increasing number of disasters.’

He observed that today we have a great scientific understanding of natural catastrophes through the kind of risk modeling developed for UNISDR's Global Assessment Report but the challenge remains to ‘go from intellectual awareness to action in both the public and private sectors.’

•Date: 28th February 2012 • World •Type: Article • Topic: Enterprise risk management

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