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Innovation disrupts but also presents risk management opportunities

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VENICE, Italy — Innovation in the wider world presents both risks and opportunities for risk managers, according to speakers at the Federation of European Risk Management Association's risk management forum.

Innovation in communications, health care, data and analytics, among other examples, is changing the way business is done across the world, Dominic Casserley, CEO of London-based brokerage Willis Group Holdings P.L.C., said Tuesday during a session.

Changes in the way business is conducted mean that risk management no longer can be considered the preserve of one department and must be a companywide discipline, Mr. Casserley said.

“Risk management should be embedded in the DNA of your organization,” said Bart-Jan Roelofsz, group treasurer, group risk officer and group insurance manager of Endemol Shine Group in Amsterdam.

He said the television content and production company is a project-driven organization where risks are analyzed at the start of any project.

In all company activities, he said, he and his colleagues make risk management explicit at a company level.

Disruption to industries caused by innovation also can provide opportunities, said Todd Curry, CEO of the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics in Dublin, part of Aon P.L.C.

Companies need to seize opportunities that can be derived from this disruption, said Mr. Roelofsz.

Advancements in technology, such as self-driving vehicles and drones, bring risks, but they also bring opportunities to better manage certain risks, said Keith Williams, group vice president of intelligent systems at Paris-based innovation consultant Altran Group.

For example, he said, one client is using robotics to improve the health and safety of its factory floor staff by using robots to perform tasks that were physically difficult on staff.