Risk DNA: how robust yet fragile a system really is!


Experienced business people look at me like I am mad when I use the human body or brain to illustrate how important it is that a business be properly structured!

But I’m not mad, I’ve just taken the time to give it more thought, ask more questions, read more research and to assess the hard quantitative evidence that led me to this conclusion…and I am not alone!

If you can believe me that there is a universality about systems and that, if a single letter in a DNA sequence is missing a person may not be born at all or be destined for a life of ill-health, perhaps you will understand that, the performance of a business system too will be determined by its internal structure. Check this out:

“the prospect of using the genome as a universal diagnostic is upon us today”

I love this quote from the presenter: “the prospect of using the genome as a universal diagnostic is upon us today

Systems that have a “flawed” structure or processes (at nano or micro level) generate risk that can have enormous consequences at macro level, upon the systems with which they are connected or can limit the number/nature of networks with which it can communicate.

As businesses focus upon macro they are ignoring valuable insights.

Too much focus upon managing risk “overlooks” endogenous, often, self-generated risks, that CAN be addressed – making the system more robust. Preferring instead to assume a greater threat from exogenous risks, over which there can be only limited influence or uncertainty – for which a fragile system is ill-prepared!

More lessons from nature: Fragile systems are not resilient.

Insurance: could Zurich initiative provide virtuous spark?


Well done to Zurich for leading the way! Greater collaboration can only be good for the market and, therefore, for customers.

There has been a real lack of innovation (that benefits customers)  in the General Insurance market as competition between insurers, for market share, has seen the extreme pressure upon the integrity of individuals, products, processes and services result in increasing complaints, industry-wide, reputational damage and (inevitably) more regulation – with all the associated costs. A real vicious circle.

Perhaps the lesson from other industries has, finally, been learnt and more collaboration can re-ignite innovation for the benefit of customers and long term good of the industry…

A virtuous cycle. Now that would really create peace of mind and as much certainty as we can realistically expect in such uncertain times!

Huerlimann said the insurer was approached to make the data public and create a standard so the firm set about piloting the database and bringing it to the market.

"What this does is create peace of mind and certainty. The database is fully traceable and auditable so it can be defended in court if it comes to that," he explained.

Responding to a question whether this meant Zurich has lost a competitive edge he said: "We have had five years of competitive advantage and now we need to open it up the market as a standard. We can’t afford to have every insurance firm investing multi-millions pounds in these projects when the market needs it now."

via Ferma 2011: Zurich has opened its compliance database to the broker market – Insurance Insight.

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