2020 Marks a Year of Unprecedented Challenge and Change
2020 was an unprecedented year. When was the last time in global economic history that every single company in the world, big, medium and small, stood up and addressed a single risk at the same time in a way they never had before? The short answer: never.
From how and where we work to the ways we learn, live and interact, the COVID-19 global pandemic has had far-reaching and lasting human, societal and economic impacts. It has created significant obstacles for individuals and families, affected every business—no matter what size, geography or industry—and challenged both the health and livelihoods of communities.
New trends have emerged—perhaps most notably, the acceleration of the need for digital transformation—and existing protection gaps have been exposed with greater urgency. As a result, business models have been challenged, and we have witnessed a fundamental reordering of client priorities – and the agenda of CEOs – on a global scale. It is no longer enough to react and adapt. In a world that is more volatile and interdependent than ever before, the pandemic was immediate proof that risks once thought of as rare are becoming more common. That is why the need to better assess, understand and plan for pending risks, particularly those long-tail in nature, has never been greater.
In the face of the challenges that 2020 posed, Aon responded with a show of resilience, creating innovative new solutions designed to support our colleagues, clients and communities as together we endeavor to meet the rapidly shifting dynamics of a significantly complex world. By rejecting the idea that the world has to accept this landscape as a “new normal” – we believe there is an opportunity to chart a path toward the “New Better” and emerge stronger as a firm and a society.
The “New Better” is Aon’s call to develop new ways of working together, to view challenges as opportunities, and to help each other and our clients become more flexible, adaptive and resilient. In this, spirit, we pioneered a global series of ten Work, Travel and Convene coalitions across four continents—bringing together business and community leaders to share insights and set a benchmark for foundational best practices that will help businesses and communities respond to the unique nature of the pandemic and drive sustainable recovery.
Aon has a long history of listening and responding to the voice of our clients—focusing on doing a better job of understanding their priorities and creating solutions that drive differentiated outcomes on their behalf. The events of 2020 didn’t stop our efforts—instead, we became even more committed to making significant progress against our mission.
That commitment starts with ensuring we have a strong foundation internally to assess and manage risks within our own business. In order to help clients manage risk and overcome volatility, it’s critical that Aon demonstrates leadership by the way we manage these challenges as a firm. By implementing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) best practices to promote corporate resiliency and sustainability within our own walls, we are better prepared to help clients prioritize and improve their ESG needs and agendas as well.
Looking ahead, Aon’s proposed combination with Willis Towers Watson will be the next step in the direction of accelerating innovation and establishing a new standard of client leadership in a changing and complex world. This report represents Aon’s efforts alone, but we are excited about building upon our strong foundation to be able to deliver even greater outcomes and impacts together.
Despite the tremendous challenges of 2020, there is much we have accomplished in our efforts to build the “New Better.” As a firm, we prioritized our colleagues in order to best serve our clients and, as a result, have had an even greater impact on society. This report represents the passion and efforts of our colleagues, and clearly demonstrates that there is nothing we cannot accomplish if we endeavor to accomplish it together.