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Swiss Re highlights top emerging risks


The top three emerging risks with the highest potential impact for insurers and reinsurers are a crisis in emerging markets, unconventional monetary policies and internet fragmentation, according to a report published Wednesday by Swiss Re Ltd.

In the Sonar report, which draws upon a crowdsourcing tool that picks up early signals of future risks, Swiss Re highlights 21 emerging risks that insurers and reinsurers should keep on their radar.

According to the report, turmoil in emerging countries could hinder the ability of insurers and reinsurers to enter markets or increase their penetration, and also could result in higher underwriting losses, particularly if there are riots.

The report says that the results of “the great monetary experiment” — the long-term effects of negative interest rates and unconventional monetary policies — remain unknown but may lead to a broader loss of confidence in the monetary system.

“Short-term benefits are limited, as the policies are unlikely to boost economic growth,” the report said.

Internet fragmentation is another future risk, the report said.

Firewalls, software designed to filter out unwanted information, and isolated information technology structures detached from global networks mean that a disconnected internet could soon become a reality, according to the report.

“Their potential impact includes increased costs and disrupted business models for insurance companies and other businesses operating across borders,” the report said.

Other potential risks, that likely would have a medium level of impact include a crisis of trust in institutions, human-induced earthquakes, phony data and precision medicine, which takes into account factors such as genes and lifestyle in treatment, the report noted.

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