Leading insurers address reputation and its risks

Conduct and culture, Risk management and oversight
/ Insurance and Asset Management

Insurance Governance Leadership Network, July 2015

Reputation has long been thought of as the cornerstone of any brand. Traditionally, it has been an important sales, marketing, and recruitment tool. But in the current environment, reputation has increasingly become not just an asset but also a risk to be managed. This is most true for those companies whose reputations are built on work that could endanger human health or well-being. Reputational risk, in turn, can threaten the company’s well-being and even its existence. Recent reputational challenges in the pharmaceutical, energy, financial services, and food sectors underscore this point. Although reputational challenges have arisen in the past, the viral nature of modern communication has radically changed the dynamic for large public firms.

On June 11, 2015, Insurance Governance Leadership Network (IGLN) participants met in New York to explore reputation, its risks, and the role of boards in addressing it. For a list of meeting participants, see Appendix 1. This ViewPoints provides a summary of these discussions and is guided by the following questions:  

  • Is reputation more important today than in the past?

  • Why is reputation so difficult to manage?

  • How can companies more effectively govern reputation and associated risks?