My summer vacation came to a close last week on a note of nostalgia, partly owing to the reminiscences flowing at the family reunion I attended, partly because the Russians rolled their tanks into a neighboring country, claiming the purest of motives. Not that I was around for Russia's exploits in Hungary in 1956 or old enough to appreciate its echo in Prague in August '68. However, but I'd seen the imagery often enough to recognize a parallel during the Tianamen Square protests in 1989.Many observers of world politics have suggested that Russia was returning to its imperialist nature after the fall of the Soviet Union; with the invasion of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, one quipped of Russian Prime Minister Putin that, "a tsar is born."
Those familiar with the Caucasus are never surprised to here of strife there. (For an illuminating novel on the area see John le Carré's "Our Game," set primarily in Ossetia.) Those not already familiar, could consult the risk atlases produced by insurance industry sources, such as Aon and Swiss Re. Aon's 2008 Political & Economic Risk map, available online in PDF form, associates Georgia with eight of nine possible political and economic risks, including war and political interference. Netherlands-based ZEUS World provides dynamic presentation and analysis of global risk information. While not an insurance source, per se, one of its key partners is Swiss Re.
Risk atlases and other resources such as these can be useful to companies in all industries seeking to expand their geographical footprint and, in my opinion, every lay person should examine such maps if for no other reason than to appreciate how good they've got it, at least if they live in the West or in the few countries outside the West that enjoy comparable stability and security.
These resources can also be valuable to insurers as the industry globalizes further, or simply as P&C companies consider selling lines of business covering executives who travel to places like Colombia or Pakistan.
Putin's Georgia gambit, like so many unfortunate acts, serves as a reminder that where there's risk, there's opportunity. In words that may have been spoken for the first time in Lloyd's Coffee House, it's an ill wind that does nobody any good.
Nevertheless, one solemnly wishes that such episodes were a thing exclusively of the past. Better that we profit from the lessons of the past in our strangely nostalgic recollections, and better that the Russians favor camping over campaigning for their summer recreation.Risk atlases can be useful to companies in all industries seeking to expand their geographical footprint. These resources can also be valuable to insurers as the industry globalizes further, or simply as P&C companies consider selling lines of business covering executives who travel to places like Colombia or Pakistan.
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio