As the 2020 risk landscape continues to shift and the COVID-19 pandemic remains active heading into hurricane season, Guy Carpenter is collaborating with governments and other public-sector entities to address these and other national risks. Guy Carpenter-assisted public-private partnerships have already been brought to market to help alleviate the financial burden placed on nations and we look forward to continuing to work alongside governments and markets to help de-risk public sector balance sheets.
A risk unit at the heart of government can generate a coherent view of different risks, types of impact, time horizons, responsibilities, and response planning. With a strong remit, operating model and relationships across the public sector and beyond, it can blend rigor, consensus and agility in the pursuit of national resilience.
Marsh & McLennan Advantage’s Building National Resilience report explores how a centrally positioned national risk unit can engage stakeholders across government, set expectations for risk assessment and mitigation, help resolve uncertainty in public policy and galvanize expert resources in times of crisis.
In their narrowest incarnation, national risk units focus on civil contingencies, especially natural disasters. In this model, security matters are wholly reserved for counterintelligence agencies, law enforcement bodies, and defense forces; economic risks are retained by the Ministry of Finance (or equivalent), central banks, and regulatory bodies; strategic sectoral challenges are the responsibility of individual line departments. This approach has advantages for managing the flow of sensitive information and an operational logic that aligns risk oversight responsibilities with departmental mandate. At the same time, taking this siloed approach to the extreme often leads to narrow thinking and stovepipe solutions.
In many advanced economies, governments have recognized that national risk units with a broader mandate stimulate richer analyses of causality, interconnectedness, and consequence, and this gives rise to a more thorough appreciation of mitigation options. This is valid even when the primary focus of the national risk unit remains citizen welfare and the general functioning of social and economic infrastructure. Preparedness for malicious human acts remains in scope, even if the specifics of upstream, threat-based intelligence remain confidential. Moreover, units in some countries actively reflect on issues beyond national borders – for example:
• The safety of citizens abroad in the face of life-threatening situations (as in Sweden)
• The vulnerability of dependent infrastructure in partner countries (Switzerland)
• The possible consequences for national security of crises in neighboring or distant fragile states (the United Kingdom)
• The resilience of international regulatory and legal frameworks (the Netherlands)
Guy Carpenter actively works alongside Marsh & McLennan Advantage and other Marsh & McLennan businesses Marsh and Oliver Wyman to build a comprehensive, global understanding of public sector risks and how they can be addressed across different geographies.