Risk & Resilience in a changing world – the insurance collaboration

26 August 2010 Santam
Prof Clifford Shearing, Vanessa Otto-Mentz (Santam: Head of Strategy), Dr Deon Nel and Temba Mvusi (Santam: Executive Head of Market Development)

Prof Clifford Shearing, Vanessa Otto-Mentz (Santam: Head of Strategy), Dr Deon Nel and Temba Mvusi (Santam: Executive Head of Market Development)

Santam celebrated the launch of its partnership with UCT Centre of Criminology and the CSIR, titled “Risk & Resilience in a changing world – the insurance collaboration”. This partnership forms part of the ongoing Ecocentric Journey, which Santam’s Environmental Forum kicked off in September last year, and the idea is that the partners contribute and pool some resources as part of an ongoing learning process on the resilience of business and society in a given economic/ecological system. By doing this, Santam will have better access to broader resources and knowledge related to environmental, social and governance risk. The partnership has already commenced with its preliminary research.

Dr Deon Nel who heads up the Ecosystem Competency Area at the CSIR said that the insurance industry provides the perfect structure for research to understand the system as a whole, as well as what is driving risk and resilience in this landscape. He believes that the reasons for this are twofold:

1. Insurance in its simplest form is a mechanism by which society pools its resources to deal with uncertainty, hence improving its adaptability to extreme events.

2. Insurance is an amazing connector in a social ecological system. It is literally the lubricant of a new resilient green economy. It does so by linking resilient economic growth to the resilience of the underlying social-ecological landscapes.

Prof Clifford Shearing, Director of the UCT’s Centre of Criminology, added that business faces a challenge of rethinking our economic bottom-line and this is something that the insurance industry has to face up to urgently. This is due to the fact that insurance companies carry and manage the risks that have everything to do with the way in which humans relate to their environment. Therefore insurance clearly has a role to play in helping to realise a shift in thought paradigms towards a new triple bottom line.

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