A Conversation with Andrew Minnitt, CEO Singapore, Aon – Part IV

In Conversation with Andrew Minnitt, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore, Aon

In the fourth part of this interview series, Aon’s Andrew Minnittshares his insights on questions posed by risk managers in attendance at PARIMA Manila 2019 Conference that the C-Suite Panel did not get an opportunity to address on the day.

Do you think the risk management practitioners are ready for disruptive technologies now?

Yes, I do. I think that risk managers, by nature of the role that they perform, are always trying to stay abreast of developments with disruptive technologies. At the very least, they want to know what their own organisations are doing in the context of risk to business and seeing what opportunities might present themselves within a type of technology. So, risk managers are definitely ready for it – if anything, they probably know more about disruptive technology than anybody else within the organisation.
The key differentiator is in whether the individual risk manager is embracing disruptive technology, and whether the organisation is ready for it. However, any organisation that isn’t ready to embrace disruption and disruptive technology is unlikely to be around in the future.

Which is more valuable in risk management – big data or thick data?

Aon’s 2019 Global Risk Management Survey tells us that only 24 percent of respondents quantified their top 10 risks; only 20 percent utilise risk modelling; and only 21 percent use scenario analysis – which shows that not enough companies are fully leveraging data and analytics when developing their risk management strategies.

A new risk manager must first analyse, identify, and understand the risks that bThe key to using data is to first understand your objective. If you just look into the sea of numbers and data, and are not focused on the end game, it won’t be able to give you anything. Once you know what you’re looking for, both big data and thick data are equally valuable. We often talk about big data being a mile wide and an inch deep, while thick data is an inch wide and a mile deep. Once your objectives are set out, big data can help you identify where you want to focus your attention; and thick data can help you drill deeper into the details.

How do you balance the push for digitisation and recognising that technology cannot be 100 percent reliable?

The assumption is that we’re talking about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and machine learning. In this world of digitisation, we must acknowledge that technology is not 100 percent reliable – it’s a fact. AI can only be as accurate as the data that humans feed into it. We still need instinct, experience, and the human touch. Technology will certainly add value and bring efficiency to what we do, but it may never replace what we do – particularly in our role as risk managers.

Would you consider a business unit head becoming a Chief Risk Officer, or vice versa?

There are definite advantages to both. If I was able to take a risk manager out of risk management into a role as a business unit head, I would not have to convince them to think about risk management because it’s already part of their DNA. Conversely, if I take a business unit head into the risk management function, I get the opportunity to bring them up to speed with the latest around risk management initiatives, drives, and developments. It’s a win-win situation. Imagine this scenario where all business unit heads have been in risk management in the past – we would have a business because everyone would be thinking about risk, both the advantages as well as challenges it presents.


Andrew Minnitt is the CEO of Aon Singapore Pte. Ltd since 1st January 2019, having previously been the CEO of Aon Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers Philippines Inc. since November 2014. As the CEO he is responsible for all solution lines under the Aon brand. He also holds management responsibility for Aon in Vietnam.

Andrew has garnered 30 years within the insurance industry. His experience includes holding senior management positions in South Africa, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and now in Singapore.