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For this recap of the 2021 The Institutes’ “Future of Risk” industry event, we provide some high-level takeaways from the “Effective Risk Management in a Disruptive World” panel in a five-minute read.

In a panel discussion, led by Andres Franzetti, Co-Founder & CEO, Risk Cooperative, participants discussed updating traditional risk management frameworks to better navigate the complex and evolving risk landscape.


  • Earne Bentley, President - Risk Solutions, Origami Risk
  • Robin Reoder, Sr. VP Risk Management, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.
  • Matthew Kahn, EVP & Commercial Division Director, RCM&D


What were your key risk concerns in 2019? How has this changed amidst COVID?

The panel experts identified the following areas of focus that were top of mind in 2019:

  • Cybersecurity & Privacy
  • Infrastructure & Client Data Protection
  • Regulatory Obligations
  • Property & Casualty
  • Emerging Risks
  • Climate Change & Natural Disasters
  • Smaller-scale Communicable Diseases

As is the case with many companies, Robin’s organization conducted tabletop exercises to measure response to a potential event such as the pandemic. There is comfort in knowing how to respond, but when processes are put to the test — this becomes the real moment of recognizing how sound an organizations’ risk management and business continuity programs truly are. 

Reflecting on her organizations’ current focus, Robin shared that “we definitely see things more globally. Whether your company is global or not, you’ll see that the globe reaches you.” As an outstanding feat, Robin noted that at the beginning of the pandemic “95% of the company [Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.] was up and running remotely within two weeks.” This was due in part to exercises conducted in early February 2020 prior to the pandemic. These included upgrading VPN access and ordering a stock of laptops and other essential working equipment. 

Matthew introduced another layer to this, noting that although many were prepared to work from home, most did not anticipate sharing a home office space with partners and children. Earne closed out panelist comments adding that Origami Risk is a SaaS technology provider and, as such, the organization had to rise to the challenge of meeting both the demands of the Origami employees facing this new environment and the increasing demands of clients striving to avoid missteps in their risk programs — regardless of their level of preparedness. 

Matthew ended by saying that the “next challenge is predicting what the next big ‘black swan’ or risk event will be.” This supports how many in the industry are feeling, asking themselves, “how can we be better future tellers across company silos through the support and storytelling of reliable data?”

Read Next: How to predict the next pandemic-level event



Has the evaluation or risk prioritization process changed?

Earne jumped in enthusiastically identifying that trends are rapidly pointing from insurable risk towards addressing operational resilience. He continued by saying that clients are thinking about how to see and manage insurable and non-insurable risks across the enterprise. In agreement, Robin pointed out that organizations understand the impact and planning of business continuity, but now they are recognizing operational resilience, asking of their organization: “Can you withstand the duration of this type of event?”

Read Next: How to achieve operational resilience in a time of extremes



How have these types of initiatives impacted organizations and clients?

As 2020 introduced the world to some of the most unexpected events and topics, this upheaval across areas such as the political landscape, human rights, and medical emergency spurred organizations to take responsibility and respond in a way they had little compelling reason to prior. 

During this segment of the conversation, panelists highlighted some key organizational changes to support diversity, equity, and inclusion that have been implemented:

  • CEO and company positioning alignment with politics, including taking a stance through published statements and positioning to address injustice
  • Formation of formal Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committees
  • Diversity in fundamental hiring and interviewing practices
  • Tailored trainings and meaningful office visits by leadership and DE&I Committee members to reinforce the importance of these initiatives
  • Greater participation in industry diversity initiatives
  • Re-examination and challenging of potential unconscious bias in the industry (e.g. in underwriting)


Is this a stance that needs to be incorporated into a company’s risk management programs or into the quantification of the risk?

As both individuals and company voices strengthened in 2020, thanks in part to social media and a strong undercurrent of “cancel culture,” a need to reexamine brand alignment as a risk also emerged. Panelists agreed companies have been historically risk averse and kept a lower profile when it came to taking a hard stance on a current topic or issue. 

“Taking a more holistic view of what risk is and understanding ‘How am I going to control that risk?’ ...It’s not just seeing it as a risk, but also as an opportunity. I think it’s an opportunity [for organizations] to do a little self-examination and to stand for something.”  - Earne Bentley, President – Risk Solutions, Origami Risk


Are large events [example: Suez Canal] being factored into risk mitigation strategies?

As the conversation was coming to a close, the panel reaffirmed how far the industry and practitioners have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Matthew stated, “Our eyes are opening to how much we don't know.” Robin quickly agreed, adding, “We need to look for what we don’t normally look for.” Ultimately, the speakers recognized the growing evolution of government involvement if an incident is of the magnitude such as Suez Canal, global pandemic, or ransomware attacks. 

Read Next: Suez Canal & the 'Ever Given' — What it says about global operational resilience



How do we start identifying where these potential issues or pitfalls lie? How do we present this to leadership or clients, so they can begin to enact mitigation strategies? How do we look at the insurance market and the broader risk management framework and start revamping this to address some of these issues or underwriting?

Given the introduction of new or updated regulations, panelists urged that risks can no longer be viewed in silos. Although developing a big picture view may seem like a large undertaking if your organization is not currently managing risk holistically, Earne reminded attendees that tackling this comes down to prioritization. He stated, “it’s figuring out what's most impactful, what’s most connected, and really being sure in understanding how we are connecting various risks across [the organization].” Robin urged listeners, “If you are not doing so already, then you have got to take that cross-functional approach and use all the resources you have at your disposal. There are resources out there, you just have to tap into them.”

There’s no question that 2020 dealt an interesting hand to every organization in operation at the time. A sense of resiliency can be seen in the responses of both individuals and organizations as a whole. Industry professionals will continue to work smarter and more efficiently by leveraging experience, resources, and technologies that will ultimately benefit them by making it possible to view risk management more holistically. As the panelists noted in closing, the future leaders in the industry are bright, resilient, and right now living through just one of the many ebbs-and-flows they will find themselves experiencing throughout their careers in risk management.

To learn more about how Origami Risk can help your organization achieve operational resilience, start a conversation with us.