Speed Interview with Stewart Steel, Sedgwick CEO Europe Middle East & Africa
- What are you looking forward to most at the Forum this year?
I’m looking forward to attending FERMA in person again this year. As CEO for Sedgwick in EMEA, the Forum represents an unmissable opportunity to renew existing relationships: network with peers and potential clients and team build with my international colleagues. Key for me will be showcasing the continuing growth story that is Sedgwick in Europe.
- What’s going to be the main topic of discussion?
One of the key topics for us will undoubtedly be our recent acquisition of Leif Hansen A/S in Denmark, reflecting our commitment to invest in the Nordic region, where we now number in excess of 250 colleagues. Christian Leif Hansen – the founder of our new Danish business – is also attending the FERMA forum and will be instrumental in supporting our reputation and growth in the Nordic market.
Also high on our list will be Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a service we offer that’s becoming increasingly popular as organisations ever more look to streamline their operating models better to respond to the rapidly fluctuating geopolitical and socio-economic environment. Equally as relevant to insurers as it is to corporate entities, the outsourcing of business activities – from back-office administration to technical claims handling – to an organisation with the right culture, infrastructure, financial strength and technological expertise delivers a significant improvement to customer service and the bottom line. At the same time, by divesting themselves of non-core activities, the outsourcing entity frees up greater time and energy to focus on the things it does best.
- How do you define this year’s theme – ‘Transitioning together: risk leadership in a fast-changing world?’
From inflation to climate change and supply chain disruption, the challenges we’re facing as a society, we face globally. A problem shared is a problem halved, and the risk management community already goes to lengths to share intelligence and best practice, although there’s always more that can be done.
From Sedgwick’s perspective, we’re fortunate to be able to equip organisations with the information and resources they need to transition through uncertain risk environments. Our size and scale affords us the depth of resources and breadth of expertise to help with everything from BPO to Enterprise Risk Management, be it Business Interruption (BI), Cyber, Product Recall or Brand Reputation Management.
- What are the key products or services you’ll be looking to promote at this year’s conference?
Aside BPO, I’ll be discussing one of the most pertinent concerns held by risk managers today – the potential brand and reputational damage that can arise from a product recall or cyber-attack. The initiation of such an event is not the ideal time to start to learn about the many logistical, communications, reputational and compliance challenges that emerge in very short order. Our Brand Protection offering – which includes remediation and customer retention solutions helps mitigate those risks by aligning our service with our clients well in advance of an event. Along with EFI Global, Brand Protection is unique to Sedgwick in the marketplace.
- What are the main factors affecting today’s risk?
Along with repercussions from the pandemic, we have a cost-of-living crisis flowing from, amongst other things, supply chain disruption, the energy crisis and the heightened risk of war. Emerging from these very real challenges is the ever-greater risk of social disintegration and civil unrest. These issues are all inextricably linked. And if that’s not enough to keep one up at night, perhaps the most inescapable and compelling of all factors facing us in the future – climate change!
- What’s your view of the overall risk landscape?
It will have been said often in the past, but this time it really DOES feel like we’re in the most volatile and unprecedented of times. If ever there was a time to promote, celebrate and applaud the role of the Risk Manager… this is it!