Willis Risk Manager Conference Examines Brazil, China Energy Sector

June 4, 2008

Willis recently hosted a conference of senior risk managers from the US oil and gas industry at its inaugural Global Risk Challenge seminar in Houston. They concentrated on finding out more about some of the major challenges involved in managing risks located in other parts of the world.

“Delegates were invited to participate in interactive presentations given by Willis experts on 21st century D&O issues, global environmental liability management and managing risks in Brazil and China,” the bulletin explained.

“With regard to Brazil, just over half of the risk managers surveyed at the seminar prioritized the regulatory burden stemming from the requirement to insure Brazilian assets locally as their biggest challenge,” said Willis
Willis Energy’s Chairman Phillip Ellis commented: “The rapid development of Brazil, China and other high-growth economies is increasing the demand for oil beyond historic experience. To keep up with this demand, the oil sector investments are inevitably going towards riskier and riskier opportunities. Our aim at the seminar was to describe in-depth case studies for Brazil and China, and in D&O and pollution control to help our Houston-based clients as they manage their risks globally.”

The delegates focused on four specific areas of concern:
— 21st century D&O issues – Willis New York’s Ann Longmore and Claude Gallello identified the growing D&O exposures now arising from international operations, and outlined the various options open to oil and gas companies when considering the formation of a global D&O insurance program. According to the survey, the two biggest challenges facing risk managers with regards to their global D&O liability exposure were litigation from multiple jurisdictions/enforcement agencies around the world and the co-ordination of local and global programs. Other exposures included international legal constraints on cover, the adequacy of local policy limits and the requirement to use only locally admitted insurers as well as the growing importance of local premium tax payments.

— Global environmental liability management – Willis Houston’s Beverly McCoy identified contamination exposures arising from former operations around the world as a major challenge for oil and gas companies, as well as the issues of securing effective and credible insurance solutions that address the issue of climate change, the effects of environmental damage on reputation and perception, compliance with changing standards and legal requirements and increased environmental enforcement in local jurisdictions.

— Managing risks located in China: In a wide-ranging presentation, Willis New York’s Howard Tsang advised delegates on the insurance landscape in China, compulsory insurances and the Asian energy market. He also spoke on tightening environmental requirements and increasing labor protection and D&O regulations in China. 74 percent of the risk managers surveyed said that finding the right resources/connections to help them maneuver in China was the most significant risk challenge for their organization. Mr. Tsang’s solution to successfully overcoming such obstacles was possessing in-depth local knowledge and proven local connections.

–Managing risks located in Brazil: Willis Energy’s Edward Fyfe offered his own insight into the progress being made to de-regulate the Brazilian insurance market, and discussed several key issues for US oil and gas companies seeking to expand into this vital and growing market. As well as the regulatory burden stemming from the requirement to insure Brazilian assets locally, these included the potential gaps in cover due to difference in conditions between Brazilian and international insurance policies and the effective use of captive insurance companies in Brazilian insurance programs.
Shell USA’s Dan Carter commented: “The seminar successfully outlined the complexities associated with insuring Chinese risks, as well as articulating the numerous challenges associated with putting a global D&O program together.” Marathon Oil’s Pam Mihovil added: “The quality of the presentations was superb. I think some of my peers missed a trick by not being there.”

Source: Willis Group Holdings – www.willis.com

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