Zurich Insurance group chief risk officer Peter Giger has said the focus on coping with the coronavirus pandemic could blind companies and governments to other systemic threats.
Speaking with journalists at the launch of the World Economic Forum’s COVID-19 Risks Outlook report, Mr Giger said, “The risk is that everybody focuses on mitigation and prevention of this very risk
(COVID-19 pandemic) and starts to ignore all other risks which will be still out there.”

Mr Giger said that the risk environment “hasn’t dramatically changed” as a result of the pandemic. He said rather, the world had “just experienced the realisation of a risk that we didn’t have on our radar and did not manage properly.”

According to a report in S & P Global Market Intelligence, Mr Giger said the one risk that could be overlooked in the scramble to tackle the coronavirus pandemic was climate change. He said just because it doesn’t make the headlines right now, doesn’t mean the risk has gone and the issue has gone, there are “a whole host of other exposures” that need to be managed alongside the virus.

Mr Giger said while the coronavirus crisis has diverted attention from other pressing risks, some measures taken to stem the virus’s spread were reaping benefits.

He said, “Despite the negative impacts on economies, the lockdown measures have had positive effects on the environment. People are seeing clean skies and experiencing quieter roads and are likely to emerge from the pandemic more conscious of air quality and the environment. Also, a reduction in travelling and consumption, as well as calls from some world leaders for a ‘green recovery’ could also help the environment.”

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