The top 10 risks facing business today may be largely elusive to corporate leaders, according to Joe Plumeri, Willis Group Holdings Limited. At a Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles this week, the global insurance broker’s chairman and CEO called on businesses to step up and acknowledge and respond to the risks facing business.

Plumeri told the audience that companies have yet to make the changes necessary to adapt to a more dangerous and unpredictable world, reports Bioterrorism Week’s coverage of the event.

In prepared remarks at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, Plumeri said, "The risks confronting business today are new, complex and increasing. The old answers just won't cut it. Before our government bailed out Citibank, AIG and General Motors, most of us thought those things could never happen—but they did. The world has changed dramatically in the past decade. It's a dangerous place, full of new and complex risks. But are we doing anything differently today? I don't think so."

Plumeri highlighted what he believes to be 10 new risks that have emerged at the end of the first decade of the 21st century that, he says, barely received consideration 10 years ago. Those risks are global climate change, terrorism, pandemic disease, the cost and availability of credit, globalization, cyber security, piracy on the high seas, supply chain integrity, increased regulatory and compliance dangers and greater threats to corporate reputation.

To recognize and mitigate risk, corporations need to make a solid commitment to transparency, he said. 

"Whether it's severe weather or pandemics or cyber security, the simple truth is that the risks of the 21st century are big, and real, and must be faced openly and transparently," Plumeri said, urging business leaders to embrace enterprise risk management. "As business leaders, we must look at all the risks we face and address them head on. And we have to be honest and open about what we see and what we're doing about it. That is the only way to make our customers and the public believe in us again."

From his podium in Los Angeles, Plumeri pointed to the state of California as an example of an entity that faces a severe threat from the effects of global climate change. Plumeri used this platform as an opportunity to promote the work of the Willis Research Network, which studies and assesses emerging risks. The network is a public-private partnership between Willis and many of the top scientific research institutions in the world.




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