Addressing risk in uncertain times

Sally Swann, JLT Specialty

Cyber security, product recalls, management liability, currency fluctuations, credit political and security are just some of the issues facing business decision makers in these uncertain times and that’s where a specialist risk and insurance consultant comes into their own.

JLT are leading specialist risk and insurance consultants operating in 40 territories across the globe, with over 10,000 employees. This month, we had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Sally Swann, who founded the Nottingham Office in 2012, and was then assigned as Head of Midlands in 2015.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about JLT Specialty?

JLT stands for Jardine Lloyd Thompson. The JLT Group is one of the largest providers of risk and insurance advice and services worldwide. The UK Retail division is part of JLT Specialty Limited, and we work with large corporate organisations advising on risk and insurance. The UK Retail division has regional offices in Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham – and further south in London and Reading. We also have a public sector team, a restructuring and recovery team, and a housing team.

We are insurance and risk consultants, who take a holistic and long-term approach to understanding the needs and requirements of large corporate customers.

What are the company’s key areas of specialisation?

JLT can offer risk advice on just about anything, but our greatest advantage is the degree to which we specialise in particular fields. Our Midlands offices have specialists in engineering and manufacturing, construction, food and agri, as well as mergers and acquisitions. Because we have such specialist teams who understand the particular sector – the risks, the operations, the complexities and the issues, we are therefore much better placed to offer expert, bespoke risk and insurance solutions to businesses in these sectors.

How does JLT Specialty handle the risk and insurance of a customer?

Before we offer any advice, we like to understand the client business, how the company operates, its philosophy, objectives and basically “what makes it tick”. We can then assist with risk management and insurance, fully understanding and appreciating what the business requires.

We talk to various people within the organisation engaged in Finance, Operations, Strategy, HR, Logistics etc. to make sure we have a complete picture of what a company’s risks are – and importantly – how they flow throughout the organisation.

It is only when we fully understand the risk that we will then discuss how we can assist. We can work on the business insurance portfolio, conduct project work or risk management audits. We also look at what measures can be undertaken to reduce or mitigate risk. We take a holistic point of view with regard to risk and the costs of risk. For instance, instead of taking out particular insurance policies, we will consider and analyse with the client alternative forms of risk transfer and self-insurance.

We consider the only way to successfully manage large and complex risks is to have an in-depth understanding of what the risks are and how they operate, hence why we employ specialists in each field.

A number of East Midlands businesses have recently announced strategies to grow through Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). What advice would you offer these businesses?

JLT Specialty has a team which specialises in Mergers and Acquisitions. Our advice would be to make sure all the important checks in relation to risk and insurance have been completed. When a company is looking to acquire another, a financial and legal due diligence will be undertaken, but many people do not consider insurance due diligence. This is important, because it will look at the risks of the company you are buying, and how it will fit in with your own. We investigate historic and existing claims against the company, to ensure the company being bought is as you believe it to be, and doesn’t come with any unfortunate surprises.

There are also insurance options available to protect both the buyer and seller in a merger or acquisition. We can advise on these specialist covers.

How has the onset of cyber-crime affected the insurance and risk industry?

Cyber is a very key risk at the moment, and it affects companies large and small. Recent attacks such as the one on the NHS have opened a lot of eyes in regards to Cyber Risk and Security. Here at JLT Specialty, we work in partnership with cyber security companies and insurance companies, to assist with Cyber Risk. This allows us to take the same approach as we do with our other services, and look at ways not only to insure against cyber-crime, but to protect a company against it in the first place.

What many do not realise is that cyber insurance and crime insurance are different. Crime insurance is cover for fraud and monies stolen via hacking etc. Cyber insurance covers data and the protection of data from loss or misuse or damage and the consequential losses therefrom.

How can JLT help businesses protect their employees against overseas risks?

We have a Global Services Team not only based in the London but also the Midlands. JLT Specialty also has offices in 40 other countries. We can therefore assist with global programs working in partnership with our offices in other territories. Whether a company needs advice, is setting up a premises overseas, or is sending employees abroad, we can provide advice and arrange global insurance programmes as requested.

Overall, JLT’s aim is to work in close partnership with all our clients, being considered an integral part of their risk management strategy. This way we fully understand the risks and can ensure the right insurance protection is in place.