Aon’s Christian: Mustn’t “get too far ahead of ourselves” with Resilience UK initiative

Speaking of the recently announced Resilience UK initiative, Aon’s global chairman of Reinsurance Solutions Dominic Christian warned its ambitions to bolster cross-industry and government collaboration against systemic risks must be met with caution and patience.

Christian, who leads the climate taskforce on the recently unveiled initiative, said the project “is a good idea” but that its execution must follow careful consideration.

Resilience UK is aiming to deliver a collaborative effort between all industries to address systemic risks such as climate, cyber and terrorism.

As a project aiming to connect capabilities from all industries, Christian explained, the challenge is how to do that amid an abundance of resources.

“In dealing with climate we think we’ve got about 5,000 people every day thinking about climate risk. So how do you use those capabilities? That’s what Resilience UK is about,” he added.

The Insurer first reported on Resilience UK as part of its coverage of the Business of Resilience Conference held in London in March, when the initiative was announced.

While Christian has been tasked with leading the climate change agenda for the initiative, Julian Enoizi will lead efforts on cyber and terrorism and Philip Hoare will lead the infrastructure taskforce.

The three taskforce groups will be working closely to come up with solutions to systemic risks.

At the same time, they will also be looking to answer the difficult questions around how the initiative will come together.

“We need to think through how we fund it. Is it public only? Is it private only? Is it public and private?” Christian asked. “So there’s a lot of work to be done, but actually the idea is a good idea. It’s then whether we can put it into practice.”

To answer these questions, considering other initiatives that offer a template for collaboration between the UK government and the (re)insurance industry could be a starting point.

Speaking of terrorism mutal Pool Re – an example of a successful collaboration between the (re)insurance industry and the UK government – Christian said there could be certainly some aspects of the Pool Re “formula” that could be used elsewhere.

“Resilience UK has a couple of sections to what it’s going to be,” he said, adding that he was “not sure” Resilience UK will be a “form of Pool Re”, but that it will certainly aim to provide advice.

Climate emergency

Christian has also been making substantial contributions to the climate debate through his position as a chairman at industry-led initiative ClimateWise, having helped grow its members and bolster its research programme.

On 1 April ClimateWise announced Christian is to leave this position, to be replaced by RenaissanceRe’s president and CEO Kevin O’Donnell.

In addition, Zurich Insurance Group’s head of sustainability risk, John Scott, has been named deputy chairman.

“O’Donnell and Scott will be a brilliant team. They’re two of the most enlightened thinkers in the industry,” Christian noted.

“They’re very active in terms of their understanding of all matters sustainable and green, so I have every confidence in their future and their advancing ClimateWise.”

He also noted the interest in joining ClimateWise is now “extreme”, given how urgent the climate debate has become in the industry.

This sense of urgency is also shared in the Lloyd’s market, where the Corporation has been “excellent in its efforts” on climate in recent years, Christian said.

Christian is also a deputy chairman of Lloyd’s. When asked about the Corporation’s efforts and initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, Christian praised the numerous initiatives that Lloyd’s has been leading.

One example of such efforts is the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which is led by Lloyd’s CEO John Neal, linking the insurance industry with other industries and widening the climate debate.

The Insurer TV also asked Christian if the conflict between Ukraine and Russia would result in any change in behaviour with regards to ESG standards in the industry, given that there is a sizeable reliance on Russian energy.

Christian noted that some “green features” could arise and “accelerate the green revolution” as countries look to lessen their dependence on other countries for the production of their own energy.