Is that a snowflake on your stetson?

February 2021

Crazy weather and a crazy year – time for risk managers to be agile and creative!

Welcome to thryve’s February newsletter. This month, we ponder the changing state of our world and what it means for risk. We also cover some practical ways companies can understand things better through data. In this newsletter, you’ll find:

  • Time to step up! IRMSA launches the 2021 Risk Report
  • A look back at SA’s 2020 risks
  • Three analytics myths brokers still believe
  • Anyone can reduce churn through analytics
  • Our pick of the best blogs from our partners and around the web


Learn more in the blogs linked below, enjoy our Managing Director’s monthly column, and thank you for reading thryve’s newsletter.

Letter from our MD

The past several months have produced some startling signs of a shifting climate. Specifically, the United States experiences two hyperbolic weather events that show how fragile our infrastructure can be.

In California, a massive heatwave sparked the biggest wildfires in that state’s history. Demand for air conditioning also caused wide-scale grid blackouts. More recently, arctic conditions battered large parts of North America, at one point blanketing parts of Texas with so much snow that the power grids there also shut down for several days. Oil prices are the highest they’ve been in a year, mainly because Texas’ oil refineries cannot operate.

Are these signs of global warming? I prefer to avoid that question because it leads to emotional reactions. Soon we’d be arguing over what global warming is, if it exists and if we’re responsible. Instead, we should focus our attention on an emerging fact: these extreme weather events are likely not anomalies, they are becoming less predictable, and it doesn’t take a lot for them to disrupt our world.

COVID has shown how fragile our modern civilisation is. And it’s a message we’ve received before. Remember that 2010 volcanic eruption that grounded flights around the northern hemisphere? One volcano and one virus can stop our worlds from spinning. So can the weather.

This situation should be high on the agenda for both risk practitioners and insurance operators. Such events will likely only become more common, leading to more significant disruptions. We can thank the pandemic for one thing: the heightened appreciation for existential risk and “sense and respond” risk management arrive at a perfect time because risk managers will have to think outside of the box. So will insurers, both to help mitigate the risks as well as to solidify their own positions. For example, it might not be wise to keep investing in carbon-heavy industries.

Let’s not squander the opportunities and lessons put before us again. The going will get tougher – hills of snow in Texas should tell us things are changing. Perhaps there isn’t something wrong. Maybe it’s a fluke.

But risk management isn’t about hoping the future is secure. It’s about making tomorrow resilient. And tomorrow’s world will need creative and agile risk managers who can adapt to the changing realities of the world.

Sean Pyott

MD, thryve


Time to step up! IRMSA launches the 2021 Risk Report

IRMSA’s new report takes a very scenario-based view of the country’s threats, rating various situations articulated by different experts. It also breaks down South Africa’s top risks and contains essays from some of the country’s most significant risk and strategic thinkers, including national hero Mcebisi Jonas, Africa Bank CEO Basani Maluleke, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers, and Suresh Kana, Chairman of the King Committee. Their views drive a central theme: it’s time to step up, using risk management to chart a course for the country’s future

A look back at SA’s 2020 risks

2020 was a rough year and brought to light several new risks alongside some familiar ones. As we await IRMSA’s new South Africa risk report, our MD revisits last year’s report and ponders how the picture has changed (and hasn’t).

Three analytics myths brokers still believe

Brokers have much to gain from using modern analytics. The service is affordable, can scale to suit any size operation, and will improve the speed and accuracy of decisions. But many still think analytics is not for them. It’s too complicated, they already have a system to sort customer data, or they have enough insurance data. All three are big misconceptions about analytics, and we tackle them in this article.

Anyone can reduce churn through analytics

Sticking to our analytics theme, our second article demonstrates how you can reduce churn through modern analytics and cloud platforms. Is a customer about to jump ship? It’s surprisingly easy to predict such moves, and test the likelihood that a mitigating action will convince them to hang around. With tools such as Einstein Vision and Discovery, you can tackle both customer and revenue churn.

thryve’s monthly roundup of interesting blogs

Every month, we select some standout blogs from our partners and other places on the web. This month, the WEF has released its latest Global Risk Report, Tableau introduces a free playbook to establish data culture in a company, Riskonnect advises on hiring a Chief Risk Officer, and the IRMSA 2021 report has launched.

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