The interconnectivity of global risks and compliance are perhaps the primary business challenges for the Nordic region

Louise Dennerstahl

The world is now so complex and connected that an event in one part of the world can have a significant impact on companies operating thousands of miles away.

For example, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the floods in Thailand and also Australia all had a significant effect on companies in the Nordic region, despite being half way around the world. And the reason for this increased impact is all down to the nature of modern business supply chains.

We are finding that companies and risk managers are increasingly looking for ways to protect against the damage that can be caused by major global events and also how they can keep up with the rapid changes affecting global business operations.

The depth of international expertise we can provide is one of the reasons why so many of our customers come to Zurich for assistance.

While an economic crisis has gripped most of Europe for several years, the countries that comprise the Nordics remain in relatively good shape.

Finland is the only one of the Nordic countries to be a member of the eurozone. But such is the overall strength of the region that even there the effect has been limited.  

Sweden and Denmark have, traditionally, been the Nordic countries with customers most focused on international markets. Now we are seeing a shift from customers having subsidiaries in Europe into more emerging markets, mainly the Middle East and Asia. There is not such a focus on Latin America, however.

The development of these regions presents some interesting business opportunities for the insurance industry as well, as the risk exposure is increasing in line with economic growth. If you look at mid-market firms in particular, risk managers are used to dealing with domestic brokers and this is where they need insurers with truly global experience to deal with these risks. As part of our strategy on this, Zurich is committing to train brokers to make the most of our Multinational Insurance Application.

Zurich has the benefit of being an organisation that has been dealing with business internationally for more than 100 years and serves customers in more than 170 countries.  Helping companies protect against international exposures has always been part of our core business operation.