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AMRAE: Risk managers have key role to play


NANTES, France—French corporate teams working on major mergers and acquisitions and divestitures often fail to include a risk manager in their decision-making process, and this omission can lead to deal-breaking problems and errors, according to speakers at this year's gathering of the Association pour le Management des Risques et des Assurances de l'Entreprise.

"Many factors could cause a deal to fail in today's environment. Deals are more complex and the risk of loss and litigation is higher than ever," said Humbert d'Autichamp, managing director of Marsh private equity and M&A practice, during a Thursday workshop at the AMRAE conference.

Mr. D'Autichamp said a common scenario is that the risk manager gets a phone call the night before the deal's completion is announced, asking for an assessment of the target company's insurance coverage. "The risk manager's expertise has to be consulted much earlier in the operation, on this and several other potentially deal-breaking factors," he said.

Frédéric Duponchel, president of Accuracy—part of U.S. broking group Aon Corp.—said preparation for major deals in France has become much more professional and sophisticated in France in the last three years, adding that three out four deals fails. "Risk managers have an important role to play in these deals," he said.

The workshop panel discussed barriers that risk managers face to inclusion in the deal-making process, as well as specialized insurance products aimed at protecting potential transactions from collapse.