Riskonet leads Africa Forward

June 20, 2022

Riskonet South Africa’s Chris Brits shares his thoughts on Africa’s ever-increasing growth potential, an offering that now covers the entire risk spectrum, and the need for a global strategy.

Incredible growth story

Since joining the network in 2018, it’s been an eventful four years and an interesting learning curve, says Chris Brits, Riskonet partner in Africa. Historically, he explains, colleagues in the Riskonet group all came from large corporate backgrounds. Forming a small new and independent consultancy business has been interesting, to say the least, given that they don’t have the support of a large corporate infrastructure or an existing client base. “Amazingly, however, we benefitted from the support of clients that were in search of pragmatic solutions, and we’ve been relatively successful in a short space of time. If you look at the way our clients and the business has progressed over the past four years, it’s been an incredible growth story.”

Huge appetite for professional advice

Back in 2018 Chris predicted that the African continent had huge potential, four years on he feels that this potential is even greater than he originally anticipated. Riskonet’s business model in Africa is to work closely with individual clients, and to support insurers and brokers who need quality risk solutions. He goes on to state that quality risk management information has become an imperative in the eyes of risk carriers. “Historically, Africa was always seen as being behind the rest of the world and a place where things don’t happen. But as large corporates move into Africa they are bringing with them international standards, and insurers are pushing really hard for compliance with globally recognised codes and practices. This has opened up the market and companies are displaying a huge appetite for independent professional advice.”

Serving all sectors

Riskonet in Africa works across practically all sectors of the market, from service industries all the way through to logistics, retail, manufacturing, mining and agriculture. “We don’t serve one particular sector; I think it’s fair to say that all sectors in Africa benefit from the services we provide.”

“Historically, Africa was always seen as being behind the rest of the world and a place, where things don’t happen. But as large corporates move into Africa they are bringing with them international standards, and insurers are pushing really hard for compliance with globally recognised codes and practices.”
Chris Brits, Riskonet partner in Africa

Broader service offering

Having broadened its service offering in Africa tremendously over the past few years, in July 2022 Riskonet will be opening an office in Mauritius. “And while, traditionally, we were focused on the tangible assets and employee safety of our client, we now do everything from risk finance to strategic risk, asset valuations and risk software.”

Prepared for the unexpected

Climate change has become a hot topic, in more ways than one, for Chris’ team. Up until now, southern Africa hasn’t really been impacted by significant climate events; they don’t have tornados, hurricanes or earthquakes, for example. What they are seeing now, however, is that climate change is severely impacting the agriculture and property sectors. “We just suffered the worst floods in our history in the province of Natal that killed hundreds of people and destroyed both residential and commercial properties. Many of our clients are now asking us about the potential impact of climate change and how they should prepare for it, not only from an insurance perspective, but also in terms of business continuity. What’s more, back in July 2021 we had significant civil unrest, which prompted many questions about being prepared for the unexpected, which is what Riskonet does.”

Sustainable future growth

Covid has been hugely significant for African businesses, fuelling a surge in unemployment, which is now around the 50 per cent mark in South Africa, says Chris. Trying to create sustainability in the future growth of businesses, by using different technologies and various risk-mitigation measures, has been a key focal point for his team. “Risk Identification and business resilience has become increasingly relevant in Africa.”

Across five continents

Thanks to the rapid expansion of Riskonet through its joint-venture partnerships, global clients can now be more easily serviced by independent risk professionals across five continents, continues Chris. “In the recent global Riskonet summit in the Netherlands, it was possible to forge formal collaborations with additional partners in the USA, Spain, India and Spain.”

Exchanging expertise

That recent summit successfully expanded on the current service offering for Riskonet clients through the additional skill sets that the new network partners have, concludes Chris. “And while it’s not our intention in Africa to be everything to everyone, we depend on our network partners to bring specialist skills when they are needed. And we like to think that we can export some of our own expertise in return. We are both excited and determined to provide some of these new skills to our clients and are confident that they will add value.”

 

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Local offices

AMSTERDAM

Ron de Bruijn

Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31 85 043 79 40
[email protected]

ISTANBUL

Özlem Emgen

İstanbul
Türkiye
+90 533 21 12 051
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KRAKOW

Leszek Golachowski

Kraków
Poland
+48 663 336 844
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JOHANNESBURG

Chris Brits

Johannesburg
South Africa
+27 83 456 7424
[email protected]

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