A Conversation with Andrew Minnitt, CEO Singapore, Aon

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

In the second 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.

Is an insurance background necessary for a successful transition to a career in risk management?

No, I don’t believe a background in insurance is important to being a successful risk manager. Aon’s data shows that only around 25 percent of all risks are actually insurable, with a further 25 percent being only partially insurable – which means at least half of all risks that businesses face do not have insurance solutions. Insurance only makes up a small part of mitigating, reducing, and removing risk from a business, and a good risk manager needs to understand the full concept of risk and the steps needed to address them.

Furthermore, insurance brokers are well-equipped to perform this function – and risk managers can rely on them to be the bridge to the insurance knowledge required.

What are the challenges facing a new risk manager who is transitioning from an insurance manager role?

As an insurance manager, you are often driven by product – such as policies to cover assets, cyber liability, motor insurance, etc. As a risk manager, one of the biggest challenges will be moving away from thinking of risk from an insurance-centric perspective and understanding that the world of risk is much bigger than the world of insurance products.

A new risk manager must first analyse, identify, and understand the risks that business faces – then come up with holistic solutions to mitigate and address those risks, whether they are insurable or uninsurable. One of the best ways to do this is to expand your network by engaging with people who think differently and reaching out to people in the organisation who are not doing anything insurance-related. For example, if you’re in an engineering company, reach out to the engineers, the factory managers, the people responsible for product lines. Not only will this give you access to perspectives different from your own, it will also help you gain a greater understanding of your business – and ultimately, do a better job of mitigating and addressing its risks.

What support must risk managers get from the C-suite in order to effectively perform their jobs?

An organisation’s risk managementculture is only ever going to be successful if it has the absolute and unwavering support of the CEO through to the board and risk committees. This doesn’t only refer to financial support, but vocal support; and the C-suite walking the talk and adding risk management as an agenda item to everything they do – from people risk to physical risk, intellectual property, economic, and financial risks. A risk manager cannot perform his or her role effectively without complete C-suite support, every day.

Does the ‘carrot’ approach or ‘stick’ approach work better towards improving risk culture?

I would say the answer is both. As a risk manager, you must always take opportunities to raise awareness of risk within the organisation; and if done in the right way, it will also raise interest and make people grow genuinely interested to know and understand the risks the organisation is facing and do something about it. As the same time, you can also incentivise actions as well as set KPIs – and give rewards for improvements.

However, for risks where mitigation is critical, you’ll have to ensure that specific steps are taken across the organisation to manage this risk.

The important thing is to first implement a process that enables you to understand each of the risks the organisation is facing (or could face), so that you can effectively identify the risks on which you can take a ‘carrot’ approach and the ones where you need a ‘stick’ approach.

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE

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.