I daily work with risks, risk management, risk transfer, risk mitigation and so on. I plan and conduct risk surveys, place insurance and reinsurance, trying to understand actuarial calculations and – in general reduce costs due to damages for my company. Most days I think I am doing a good job, and sometimes I am even proud of what I am doing.

Anders Esbjörnsson

Anders Esbjörnsson


But then come days like the other week; I get an SMS from our crisis management team with the text: ‘Incident in region South West. Bodily injury. Contact xx for more information.’ When I reach the health and safety manager, I learn that a man has been severely injured. Later I am informed that he has died due to the injuries he suffered at our worksite.

My colleague! A man went to work that morning, and did not get home! On such days I am not proud of the job that I have done. How hard can it be to make sure that people do not get hurt at work? All our efforts in minimising risks seem hopeless if we cannot guarantee the most basic thing – to take care of each other!

It might be inappropriate to express the sense of a hopeless situation, and of course that feeling in time fades away and is replaced with an ambition, effort and promise to handle risks even better and make sure that risk management is lifted higher in my company´s agenda. Unfortunately accidents, claims, criminal acts, etc. will continue, and that fuels our ambition in risk management.

No matter what risks we are talking about, I am convinced that how they turn out and what consequences they bring, it is all about our attitudes and behavior. We cannot all walk around being worried about everything that can go wrong, but an open and professional attitude to risks and risk management – in every aspect – is the basis in modern and successful societies, I think.

Within FERMA, we gather the knowledge and experience from more than 4300 European risk managers, and through newsletters, seminars and the bi-annual risk forum we try to share the essentials of this knowledge and experience. What has struck me during last year´s meetings is that successful risk management is built on simple logic: use, document and apply common sense. We all know what is the right thing to do, but if we feel unsecure, the guidelines should be there for reference.

With such common sense and guidance, we minimise the risks substantially, we improve profitability and we feel better. And for the remaining risks there is (almost) always an underwriter to accept insurance. We can also use the massive bank of knowledge there is within the insurance industry: knowledge about traditional risks, as well as new risks such as cyber risks or advanced risks related to professional indemnity, among other things.

Working with risk management is a privilege and responsibility. Honestly, how hard can it be?