Top Risk Trends to Watch in 2024

Top Risk Trends to Watch in 2024
Q4 2023 Global Insurance Market Insights

02 of 02

This insight is part 02 of 02 in this Collection.

February 8, 2024 17 mins

Top Risk Trends to Watch in 2024

Trends to Watch in 2024 Banner

To be successful, business leaders must keep pace with the key trends that will impact the risk and insurance landscape in 2024.

Key Takeaways
  1. Cyber risk will remain one of the biggest risks on corporate agendas, with threats intensifying in several key areas.
  2. Companies will need to focus on their talent strategies to build a workforce that has the skills to respond to new challenges and opportunities.
  3. Changing risk profiles and risk tolerance will require new applications of traditional insurance and the continued innovation of products and facilities.

Cyber attackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities and adapt their methods

Cyber threats continue to be the number one risk on business leaders’ minds, and there have been many lessons learned over the years related to which controls to prioritize and implement to mitigate a cyber-attack, e.g., a robust patch management process, endpoint detection and response, and Multifactor Authentication. Many cyber-attacks observed in recent years; however, have sidestepped cyber controls as attackers leveraged basic and sophisticated attack methods to take control over systems and information, causing many business disruptions and brand damage.

Looking ahead, we see five important trends developing:

  • Insider risk may increase

    Companies may experience increased insider risk as employers enforce return-to-office requirements and as economic challenges and layoffs in the Information Technology security industry continue to impact staff. Ransomware threat actors have and will continue to recruit company staff and pay for their credentials for remote access to facilitate an attack.

  • Accountability requirements will drive investments

    Cyber accountability, including regulation and representation of security controls/response, may require an increased investment in cyber security. Companies will need to demonstrate cyber security progress.

  • New technologies will demand new risk management measures

    As companies adapt and explore AI and other emerging technologies, new challenges will emerge related to cyber security, data privacy and governance. Investment in and commitment to risk management around new technologies will be critical to manage risk effectively.

  • Litigation – especially related to data privacy – will increase

    In addition to the cyber events themselves, resulting litigation, specifically relating to data protection and privacy, will continue to increase. In 2023, Aon observed an increase in class action and other civil and criminal lawsuits resulting from cyber events. It is critical for companies to educate themselves – initially and continuously – on how cyber security and cyber incidents can create increased risk and how that risk can evolve over time. For example, for the first time ever, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against a corporation and a named individual for fraud and internal control failures.

    Given recent increases in the frequency and severity of ransomware events, Cyber insurance appetite, underwriting, and pricing is expected to moderate from the buyer-friendly market conditions experienced in 2023. Companies should continue to invest in cyber resilient risk mitigation strategies which include risk transfer, cyber defense in-depth, and incident prevention and preparation activities.

Core inflation will remain subject to volatility

Uncertainty in the interest rate and inflationary environment is expected to continue into 2024, impacting governments, industries, and society at large, as well as stakeholders in the insurance chain such as insurance buyers, insurers, service providers and regulators and bringing with it challenges, opportunities and obligations. We expect that:

  • Inflation will be susceptible to volatility

    Inflation, at the time of writing, is moderating in many parts of the world but remains high and is always subject to volatility and changes in governmental economic policy. Amongst other impacts, shifts in inflation and interest rates will affect insurer appetite and pricing. Such changes may be implemented hastily by insurers, leaving risk managers, and their brokers, with very little time to respond in the face of compressed renewal periods. Sums insured and policy limits will need to respond to changes in economic environment. It is at the time of a claim that any underinsurance will be most relevant, but it is at the time of placement when the issue must be addressed.

  • Social inflation will expand its reach

    Social inflation is a phenomenon that will likely impact more geographies and will accelerate in severity. By definition, this means that related loss costs will continue to increase, pressuring Excess Casualty and Liability lines of coverage most significantly.

  • Organizations will have more options and innovative solutions

    With higher interest rates comes higher investment returns, and with more available data comes greater certainty. With these dynamics at play, traditional insurers will face additional competition from new providers of risk capital and from innovative solutions such as parametric programs. While not relevant to all classes of risk, or to all sectors, such sources and solutions allow risk managers to build new and more resilient long-term strategies. The captive insurance market, including protected cells, will continue to play an important role.

Demand for parametric covers will increase as confidence grows

The parametric concept (triggering a payout based on an independent third-party index) is not new; these covers have been structured and placed since the 1990s in the weather trading and catastrophe bond markets. While these instruments used to be reserved for large (re)insurers and sophisticated energy traders, we are now finding new and innovative ways to apply them in the corporate and public entity space. The market learned over time that utilizing a pre-agreed, third-party trigger allows for a combination of quick payout (within days or weeks of the event), broad use of the claims funds (any financial loss associated with the event) and flexible, tailor-made structure designed to solve a specific problem. This potent combination helps organizations address a wide variety of risks that had previously gone unaddressed.

We see four important trends developing in 2024:

  • Demand for parametric solutions will increase

    Demand for parametric covers from corporates and public entities will continue to increase to provide quick liquidity after a disruptive event, to address gaps in traditional insurance cover (deductibles, sub-limits, exclusions, etc.) and to cover non-traditional risks (non-damage business interruption, contingent exposures, and many more).

  • Confidence in parametric solutions will grow

    Parametric solutions have now been tested in claims events around the world and are behaving as expected, which will lead to a much higher comfort level in going down the parametric road.

  • The market will see an influx of capital

    Capacity will continue to flow into the space, both from established players increasing their capabilities and new players arriving on the scene. This will include both traditional capital sources (insurance and reinsurance companies) as well as non-traditional (e.g., insurance-linked securities funds). The result of this capital influx will be not only more competition on programs but also smarter and more effective structures for clients.

  • The industry will innovate new solutions

    Innovation across the sector will increase, both within established perils (such as natural catastrophe and weather) and in new perils (e.g., cyber, marine cargo, and a wide variety of other indices).

    Now that there is a general understanding of parametric solutions as viable – and often vital – tools in the risk management toolbox, the 2024 discussions with clients will explore at a deeper and more granular level how parametric solutions best fits with other tools to create a more optimal risk management strategy.

Quote icon

Changing risk profiles and risk tolerance requires new applications of traditional insurance and continued innovation of products and facilities.

A tightening labor market will drive a recalibration of people strategies and a focus on reskilling and upskilling

Aging workforces and technological shifts have contributed to the labor market tightening while technological advancements have necessitated a workforce capable of navigating digital landscapes which has challenged conventional skill sets. The once-local talent pool is now a global arena, intensifying the need for companies to offer competitive incentives, flexible arrangements, and attractive benefits.

Against this backdrop, we expect two important trends to develop in 2024:

  • The worker-driven employment market will pressure businesses to recalibrate their people strategies

    The employment market has shifted to become decisively worker driven, and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Employers will need to continue to adapt their growth agendas to attract and retain talent, recognizing the need for competitive perks and accommodating work environments. With persistently low unemployment rates, skilled workers will hold the upper hand, enjoying a plethora of job opportunities. This transition marks a departure from traditional employer-centric dynamics, empowering workers to negotiate better compensation, benefits, and work arrangements. As the pendulum continues to swing towards a worker-driven market, businesses must recalibrate their strategies to align with the evolving expectations and preferences of the modern workforce.

  • A focus on reskilling and upskilling will be needed

    Technological shifts have further tightened many parts of the labor market, while threatening to fundamentally transform other roles. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital advancements have rendered routine tasks susceptible to automation. Consequently, roles focused on repetitive tasks will continue to be subject to displacement. At the same time, emerging technologies will continue to create a demand for new skill sets, driving a further surge in opportunities for workers with skills in AI, analytics, data engineering, software development, and related areas.

    Given the overall tightness in the labor market, simply hiring for needed skills is often not an option. Companies will respond to this dynamic with an increased focus on reskilling and upskilling. Reskilling is helping workers acquire the skills they need to transition to a new role. Upskilling is training workers to keep up with changes in their current role. By proactively addressing the skills gap, organizations will enhance their workforce’s versatility and resilience in the face of technological shifts, ensuring they remain competitive in a rapidly changing landscape.

    Moving from a “role-based” to a “skills-based” conception of work has also increased companies’ organizational agility and ability to respond to technological change. Instead of thinking about workers as people with specific roles, a “skills-based” conception of workers and jobs focuses on the skills required to perform specific roles. As skill requirements change, workers can either be upskilled to keep up with the change, or reskilled to move to a role that is a better fit. Workforce planning will be used to identify emerging skills gaps so that learning and development resources can be mobilized, and talent acquisition efforts can be appropriately targeted.

    While hard skills are critical and often the focus of responding to technological change, soft skills should not be overlooked. Too often, a lack of soft skills is what holds workers back from making a real impact in their organization. Effective communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are crucial components for a workforce navigating the dynamic landscape of the future. A holistic focus on both hard and soft skills ensures that companies not only keep pace with technological change, but also cultivate a versatile, resilient workforce.

Energy transition efforts will accelerate amidst global population growth, requiring major investment

The present-day energy transition has had many profound and widespread impacts, including on trading relationships, local economies, the jobs landscape, and political outcomes, to name a few. With 2023 being the hottest year on record and as the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius approaches, geopolitical and societal pressure to tackle climate change is mounting. While the global population and demand for natural resources continues to grow, energy transition efforts have accelerated, as have actions to manage related risks. Some of the important trends to watch in 2024 and beyond include:

  • Access to capital will be required to enable the massive investment in infrastructure, technology, and processes

    The energy transition will continue to require a massive investment in infrastructure, new technologies and process enhancements as demand for cleaner energy sources increases. Most estimates range from $100 trillion to $300 trillion which equates to an annual investment of 2-8% of global GDP between now and 2050. Companies will need access to capital and favorable government policy and regulations. Subsidies and tax advantages will serve as key enablers. For example, the US Inflation Reduction Act – the largest climate investment ever – has earmarked $370 billion in funding for clean energy projects, pollution controls, tax breaks on electric vehicles, and solar and battery manufacturing. Companies will compete for capital for continued investment in transition projects, technologies and assets.

  • Supply chains will continue to be challenged by weather and geopolitical events

    Recent hostilities in the Red Sea, coupled with severe drought in Panama, highlight how serious and interconnected these risks are to global supply routes. Demand for critical and rare minerals such as lithium and cobalt as well as copper and aluminum will grow as reliance on new technologies such as renewable electricity, batteries, electronics and EVs increases. Access to materials and the infrastructure to support the transport and distribution of materials and products will also challenge new supply chain sources.

  • The regulatory environment will play a significant role in attracting investment

    Globally, 2024 is an important election year and governments may be judged on how they support the transition in energy. Government policy remains critical to attracting investment and maintaining continued interest in the sustainable development of new energy supply. Political stability and legislative support are necessary to continue incentivizing and accelerating investment in energy transition. Private and public collaboration will continue to drive innovation.

  • Insurers will be faced with competing demands and the need to innovate

    Insurers have modified their appetite and underwriting practices in accordance with their corporate responsibility strategies. Many will continue to face competing priorities and demands, including balancing shareholder pressures with trying to understand and underwrite emerging risks and technologies such as offshore wind, solar, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. Renewable energy assets are exposed to natural catastrophe perils and will need access to insurance capacity to enable and protect the capital committed to new investments. Changing risk profiles and risk tolerance requires new applications of traditional insurance and continued innovation of products and facilities.

General Disclaimer

This document is not intended to address any specific situation or to provide legal, regulatory, financial, or other advice. While care has been taken in the production of this document, Aon does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the document or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way by any person who may rely on it. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. This document has been compiled using information available to us up to its date of publication and is subject to any qualifications made in the document.

Terms of Use

The contents herein may not be reproduced, reused, reprinted or redistributed without the expressed written consent of Aon, unless otherwise authorized by Aon. To use information contained herein, please write to our team.

More Like This

View All
Subscribe CTA Banner