Swiss Re Report Examines Emerging Risks, Some Related to COVID-19

Over a flat globe a magnifying glass with COVID19 printed on the lens is focusing on Africa

June 05, 2020

Over a flat globe a magnifying glass with COVID19 printed on the lens is focusing on Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed new and changing risks, highlighted societies' lack of preparation for such a crisis, and made clear that broad risk awareness is essential for proper risk management, according to a new SONAR report from Swiss Re.

Swiss Re noted that the recession caused by lockdown measures to control the spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated such long-term structural problems as supply chain disruptions—including drug shortages—and intergenerational tensions. Those lockdowns have also exposed the fragility of many public health systems and the need for better risk management, Swiss Re said.

The pandemic experience will continue to prompt shifts in the political landscape, regulatory environment, and market dynamics, the SONAR report said. It will also lead to a refocusing of priorities as the world moves toward planning its economic recovery.

Among the potential risks raised by the COVID-19 pandemic are related to the near-term trend of many companies' employees working remotely and the possibility that telecommuting may become standard practice as lockdowns are lifted. While remote working and teleconferencing might save companies in such areas as office and travel expenses, it might also bring as yet unforeseen risks, the report says.

In addition, while edge computing can speed data exchange, edge computing and the Internet of things can increase cyber risks, according to the SONAR report. And, as more and more devices feature connectivity, an "internet of forgotten things"—devices left connected to networks after their useful lifespans—can exacerbate the risk, the report suggests.

The Swiss Re report also notes that the pandemic has changed both how much and what consumers consume online, as well as leading to some rethinking of the data privacy versus online security debate.

With regard to supply chains, more complex and geographically dispersed supply chains make knowing a company's entire supply chain—not just its direct suppliers—essential to managing sustainability risks, according to the report.

The 2020 SONAR report examines 14 new emerging risk themes based on potential new or changing risks. Several of the risks examined in the report emerged as a result of the COIVD-19 pandemic.

June 05, 2020