Unprecedented volatility adds new urgency and complexity to old risks, reports Aon’s 2017 Global Risk Management Survey

Aon, a founding member of The Risk Institute, released their 2017 Global Risk Management Survey today. Conducted in the fourth quarter of 2016, the bi-annual survey gathered input from 1,843 respondents at public and private companies around the world. It finds that trends in economics, demographics and geopolitics, as well as technology advancements, are transforming traditional risks and adding new urgency and complexity to old challenges.

Top discussion points of the survey include:

  • damage to reputation/brand as a top concern
  • political risk/uncertainties entering the top 10 risk list
  • Cyber Crime ranking the number one risk to North American businesses
  • disruptive technologies/innovation predicted to rise in risk
  • risk preparedness at its lowest level since 2007

Damage to reputation/brand is consistently the top-ranked risk by businesses. Companies have become vulnerable due to the amplified negative impact social media has on cases of defective products, fraudulent business practices, and corruption.

Cyber Crime is now the top concern among businesses in North America, jumping from number nine to number five on the top risk list. Cyber breaches are increasing and incident response plans have become more complex, making Cyber Crime a costly business interruption.

Political risk/uncertainties have recently re-entered the top 10 risk list at number nine. The survey finds that developed nations that were traditionally associated with political stability are becoming new sources of volatility and uncertainty. Additionally, according to Aon’s latest 2017 Risk Maps, trade protectionism is on the rise while terrorism and political violence ratings are the highest they have been since 2013.

“We are living in a challenging new reality for companies of all sizes around the world. There are many emerging influences that are creating opportunity, but at the same time, creating risks that need to be managed,” said Rory Moloney, chief executive officer for Aon Global Risk Consulting. “As the risk landscape for commerce evolves, businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional risk mitigation or risk transfer tactics. They must take a cross-functional approach to risk management and explore different ways to cope with these new complexities.”

Disruptive technologies/innovation is a concerning risk emerging for the future. It is currently ranked number twenty but is expected to jump to the top ten within a few years. New technologies such as drones, driverless cars, and advanced robotics have caused an increased awareness of impacts for businesses.

The top 10 risks are:

  1. Damage to reputation/brand
  2. Economic slowdown/slow recovery
  3. Increasing competition
  4. Regulatory/legislative changes
  5. Cyber crime/hacking/viruses/malicious codes
  6. Failure to innovate/meet customer needs
  7. Failure to attract or retain top talent
  8. Business interruption
  9. Political risk/uncertainties
  10. Third party liability (including E&O)

The full report can be accessed at www.aon.com/2017GlobalRisk.


Business Continuity Management: A Business Case Simulation

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


Each and every day, businesses face the challenge of managing in the face of disruption. That disruption may be a result of a supply chain failure, natural catastrophe, cyber event, the list of disruptions goes on and on. With the volatility that businesses face, the need to structure proper business continuity / critical incident management plans has never been more important.

According to a recent study authored by Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, 58% of participants reported that Business Interruption (including supply chain disruption) was a key risk to their businesses.  The Aon Global Risk Management Survey 2015 also lists business interruption as one of the top ten risks facing companies.

To quote Tony Hayward following the gulf oil blast that killed 11 workers and caused one of the worst environmental disasters in US history:

BP’s contingency plans were inadequate. We were making it up day to day. What was going on was some extraordinary engineering. But when it was played out in the full glare of the media as it was, of course it looked like fumbling and incompetence.”

With this in mind, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, held a business case simulation exercise for students on April 15th. The event was cosponsored by The Risk Management Association (a student-led organization) and The Risk Institute. Participating students were divided into teams and presented with a fact-based scenario.  Students were then asked to prepare action strategy against the following “4 R” components:

  • Response (Protect Life and Property, Manage the Incident)
  • Resumption (Resumption of Time Sensitive Operations)
  • Recovery (Recovery of Other Operations)
  • Restoration (Repair/Restore Facilities and Content)

Students worked diligently during the day exercise to think through options, respond to life and safety concerns, communication challenges, manage customer expectations, etc.

Judges for the event were:

  • Keely L. Croxton, Associate Professor of Logistics, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
  • A. Michael Knemeyer, Assistant Professor of Logistics, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, and;
  • Daniel Oglevee, Senior Lecturer in Finance, Academic Director of The Fisher Executive MBA Program, The Ohio State University.

Business Coach for the event was Gregory Clark, a graduate of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.  Greg is now Global Lead, Business Continuity DHL Supply Chain. Greg provided very meaningful coaching for the students as they worked through the simulation exercise.

Students were pleased to be able to participate in an exercise that provided the opportunity to exercise material presented in the classroom with a real world, hands-on scenario. The Risk Institute is pleased to have an opportunity to prepare our students for events that they will experience once in business. As has been said on numerous occasions, anyone can manage an organization when things are going well – it is when things become difficult that true leaders emerge.

The session proved thought-provoking for the students and demonstrated The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting students, industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential for competitiveness and growth.


For more information about upcoming events, our students, partners or research, visit our website: fisher.osu.edu/centers/risk.