Leading insurers through the crisis

Finding method in the madness

Over the past six months, the turbulent economic climate has forced companies of all sizes in the financial services sector to revisit business plans, scale back, cut costs and scrutinise the economic landscape in a way not seen before. The magnitude of the financial crisis, in partnership with the onset of recession, has created an environment where business forecasting and budgeting has become increasingly complex and difficult. In turn, short- to medium-term planning, and the ability to reliably implement strategy, has become near-on impossible to execute with any confidence. But, still, life goes on.

This supplement attempts to make sense of the quagmire of issues facing the general insurance sector today, as well as providing a chance to pause, take a breath, and read the views, insight and vision of several leading business leaders operating across the spectrum.

The central themes of pressure, power and politics reflect the key influences in what has become an economic vacuum. Over the next 12 months, the only constant will be change. There will be regulatory change, structural change and personnel changes as businesses continue to operate in duress, and key players disappear and evolve in equal measure.

The market has been striving to understand what’s on the horizon, in an effort to not only understand the opportunities but, crucially, to understand new threats, competition and to ensure survival and stability. What’s more, there are a number of external influences impacting on the general insurance market like never before. Arguments must be won to stave off unfounded comparisons and parallels to the troubled banking sector; technology is changing at break-neck speed, and the state of the global investment markets means that executing the bread-and-butter functions of the day job have once again become paramount.

Tom Broughton, editor.

Download the supplement: Leadership in Insurance