With its cornucopian mix of natural disasters, economic brinksmanship and political upheaval, the past year has provided ample grist to test the mettle of risk managers. In the United States, 2011 produced the most billion-dollar storms of any year on record.

While the earthquake-induced tsunami that leveled Japan struck without warning, other events, from floods that subsumed Thailand to events in Tahir Square, unfolded gradually. One commonality was how each laid bare the increasingly complex and interconnected nature of risk.

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