Еженедельник «Commercial Risk Europe» о Форуме РусРиска

06.06.2012

Macroeconomics and limited transfer options key concerns—RusRisk
By Anne-Christin Gröger, Moscow


Viktor Vereshchagin, President of the Russian risk manager association RusRisk

Macroeconomic risks such as inflation, a decreasing gross domestic product and falling oil prices are key problems facing Russian risk managers in 2012, experts at RusRisk’s annual X. international meeting told delegates this week.

“Large Russian companies are vulnerable to these influences and therefore have to be prepared,” Viktor Vereshchagin, President of the Russian risk manager association, said in an interview with Commercial Risk Europe at the event in Moscow.

The export of Russian gas to the European Union has decreased in the first quarter of 2012 by 11.5% in comparison with the first quarter of 2011. Gas exports to the countries of the former Soviet Union decreased by a staggering 33%, according to Igor Nikolaev, partner at Moscow-based consultancy firm FBK. “There will be also the risk of inflation due to our country joining the World Trade Organisation,” he added.

In line with their western European colleagues, Russian risk managers will also have to deal with changes in demographics. “There are more pensioners and less working people, which means that companies have difficulties finding qualified staff,” Mr Vereshchagin said. Ten year ago it became fashionable for young professionals to become lawyers or managers at big companies, he said. “Now we feel a lack of qualified engineers and other skilled engineering workers.”

Some of the large Russian companies have already reacted to the skills shortage and invested a lot of money to keep talented young employees in their business, a measure that is showing some success. Companies finding flats for young staff, for example, is a very attractive perk as many large Russian cities have an enormous housing shortage, he added.

Others companies are trying to attract young professionals by offering them the chance of working abroad for higher salaries.  “But as you have to invest a large amount of money so this is only an option for large Russian companies,” Mr Vereshchagin said. 

He does not expect the Russian insurance industry to help risk managers with new challenges like demographic change, cyber risks or supply chain risks. “Russian insurance companies do not have enough potential to cope with the large risks enterprises have to deal with,” he said.

Petr Sudoplatov of broker Willis has observed another set of problems that risk managers in Russia have with their insurers. “We can hardly organise the insurance cover the companies ask us to get,” he said. “Currently insurers are reluctant to provide cover and in addition are trying to drive the prices up, which is hardly understandable in the case of a customer who did not have any losses in the previous year.” Mr Sudoplatov asked for more transparent insurance policies as it is often difficult to identify which risks are insured and which are not.

One of the largest risks for Russian enterprises is corruption. “There are laws but it is always difficult when they are not observed,” RusRisk President Vereshchagin told CRE.

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