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Article | Willis Research Network Newsletter

Top risks and megatrends – geopolitics and populism

Risk & Analytics|Credit, Political Risk and Terrorism
COVID 19 Coronavirus|Geopolitical Risk

By Lucy Stanbrough and Neal Croft | July 2, 2020

We collaborated with Airmic on its annual member survey, this report explores the impacts of geopolitics and populism on risk in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is primarily a problem of human health, it has carried inevitable consequences for geopolitics as well as domestic politics. After all, geopolitics is about how businesses sit within the economy, policy and geography, and the impact that events like pandemics have on this relationship.

If organisations can pre-empt the changes in the way businesses and the economy will operate in the ensuing six to 12 months, they can move from reacting into strategic planning. This will help to gain competitive advantage in the new normal and improve resilience. This is essential because all the other risks don’t go away – cyber-attacks, floods, earthquakes, terrorism incidents could all still occur. It isn’t all negatives – the COVID-19 experience may bring opportunities such as the opportunity to evaluate different and more cost-effective ways of working, build a more resilient society, larger home markets and establish more reliable supply chains.

Whatever the size of your organisation, geopolitical circumstances demand a high degree of engagement and understanding. Risk professionals need to be able to identify and understand geopolitical risks, their drivers and the connections between them, so they can mitigate the risks and seize new opportunities.

Different functions within businesses also need to look at these connected risks collectively and manage them using an integrated approach. They need credible and up-to-date information and relevant risk insight and analytics to see the potential impacts to their business. Risk leaders need to speak to their CEOs and boards about geopolitical risk.

With this in mind, Willis Towers Watson collaborated with Airmic on this study on risks and megatrends. We hope you will find this report useful.

To read more, download the full Airmic annual survey report.


Head of Emerging Risks Research

Lucy Stanbrough MSc, BSc, is a Research Manager at the Willis Towers Watson Research Network. Prior to joining the Research Network, she worked for the Innovation team at Lloyd’s on a range of thought leadership projects and market communities, including: cyber scenarios; virtual reality; NewSpace; city resilience; synthetic biology; climate related risks and disaster risk finance.

Before joining the insurance industry Lucy spent over 10 years as a natural hazards and GIS consultant, alongside working at the UCL Hazard Centre. Lucy has contributed to a number of books on the use of technology and online systems pre, during, and post-disaster. She maintains an interest in the integration of scientific knowledge to business applications, and connecting knowledge to people, and people to knowledge.

Global Client Relationship Director
Willis Towers Watson

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