“Even if a bad event is short-lived, the equity markets react quickly, so there may be sharp equity dips. There may be some economic impact even over the short term,” Kossovsky said, “because sharp dips are dog whistles for activists, litigators and corporate raiders.”
That’s not to say, however, that a tarnished brand name doesn’t also impact the bottom line.
Wells Fargo’s scandal involved a violation of ethics, sparked an SEC investigation and forced the resignation of its CEO, John Stumpf. It’s safe to say stakeholders were severely disappointed.
“Activists make a lot of noise that can be channeled through various media, but for the most part in the business world, stakeholders are interested in the goods and services a company offers, not in their political or social views. As long as you can meet stakeholder expectations, you avoid long-term reputational damage.”
“Failures that produce real and lasting damage to reputation include failures of ethics, innovation, safety, security, quality and sustainability,” said Nir Kossovksy, CEO of Steel City Re.May 2, 2017
Risk & Insurance
“These social media-fueled public relations crises …serve as warning signs of growing reputational risk for corporations.”
Reputation risk management: mitigating both disappointment and noxious media.
Reputations are valuable strategic intangible assets. Threats to these assets⏤ enterprise reputation risks, often mislabeled “brand risks” ⏤ need to be managed, and management needs to be overseen through reputation risk governance lest reputational damage or reputational harm result in long-tailed go-forward losses in economic value and/or political power. Because these intangible risks arise from the interplay of stakeholder expectation, experiences, and media amplification, parametric insurances for intangible asset risks, for reputational value, for reputational harm, and for reputation assurance help mitigate risk by telling a simple, convincing and completely credible story of quality reputation governance to stakeholders. This story telling effect is the expressive power of insurance complementing insurance’s better known instrumental power of indemnification.
Reputation value is a strategic power companies use to sell more, faster, and at premium prices; and to obtain labor, vendor services, as well as capital on preferred terms.
Steel City Re mitigates the hazards of ESG (reputation) risk that threaten reputation value. We use parametric reputation insurances, ESG insurances, and risk management advisory services to make our clients reputationally resilient.
Risk management, risk financing in insurance captives, and risk transfer through reputation insurances comprise the constituent elements of a comprehensive Steel City Re reputation risk governance and management solution.
Click on the highlighted text for a broader view of reputation risk case studies and reputation premium; or to explore additional articles by Steel City Re here, mentions of Steel City Re here, and comments on newsworthy topics by Steel City Re here.
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Context and Background
Risk managers are now central to the process for managing risks to reputation and that’s a process marketers and communications professionals need to be a part of. The oversight of reputation risk management is mission-critical.
Courts have increasingly been ruling that reputation is a mission critical function and oversight of its management is a responsibility of the board of directors. Courts are also ruling that marketing statements companies make – if they related to issues that affect their reputation, like ESG – may be considered material by investors. Litigation along these lines has yielded large settlements or verdicts for plaintiffs.
And now, the SEC has proposed new rules requiring disclosures by public companies related to their ESG activities; those statements could become a communications and reputational minefield.
As a result, reputation risk management is evolving into an intelligence gathering operation spanning the entire enterprise, roping in the enterprise risk manager, compliance counsel, and increasingly, reporting up to the Chief Legal Officer. There is a growing recognition that reputation is not a product merely of marketing and media coverage, but of the degree to which stakeholders’ expectations are aligned with actual performance. The reputation risk management process requires a thorough and ongoing analysis of stakeholder expectations, the risks of disappointment, and a plan for either managing those expectations or assessing and insuring against the cost of failure.
One Last Question
Are ESG insurance or reputation insurance part of your strategy?