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Reviewing Risk Management preparations and lessons learned from the World Cup










  By Michael E. Stoker

  Insurance Gateway® a division of

  Stoker Risk and ICT (Pty) Ltd



Hats off to the Institute of Risk Management of South Africa (IRMSA) for arranging two very stimulating events on the risk management issues surrounding the World Cup. Although the event has come and gone, the knowledge and insights shared during these seminars will stand any Risk Manager or Intermediary in good stead, in the event that any of their clients should be involved in the staging of, or participation in a future global event. This is not unthinkable, now that South Africa is firmly on the radar, as a “venue” destination.  


Anyway, the first IRMSA event, a pre-event Risk Laboratory, provided some very timely last minute risk management considerations for the Cup and you can read more about that event here.


With any event of this size and scale there are a number of risks, threats and opportunities which should be taken into account for proper risk planning and the second IRMSA seminar had the following key focus areas top of mind:


  • How did South Africa and businesses prepare for the World Cup?
  • Were risks and threats adequately identified and opportunities maximised?
  • In hindsight, are there any lessons that we can learn from this experience to better prepare for major international and local events in the future?

Sue Kenney, Enterprise-wide Risk Manager for the Nedbank Group led this session and provided some insight into the process from the bank’s perspective.


Early in the day, in January 2009, Nedbank formed a 2010 Task Team which was responsible for preparing Nedbank for the event, taking into account not only the risk elements, but the opportunities which the event held for Nedbank.


On the risk side the Task Team had to analyse all exposures and pro-actively prepare so as to ensure a minimum of disruption to the business arising from the event. Major resource and capacity planning; and vendor and supplier management initiatives were undertaken to ensure business continuity over the period. Network capacity was examined as was the need for consumer education to combat the anticipated increase in phishing and card skimming.


Other risks reviewed included telecommunications and power supply, reputation management (prevention of any breached of FIFA’s marketing and advertising regulations), security, road closures and on the HR side, pandemic planning and management of leave over the period, considering that schools were closed during the event.


The upside of risk provided the bank with many opportunities in connection with the event. Nedbank hosted a public countdown celebration and staff were drawn into the event with “Football Fridays” providing a boost for staff morale. Soccer is seen as transformative and provides social responsibility opportunities which are being realised via their Group's Sports Trust, the goal of which is to build active communities through sport.


Business opportunities included a range of FOREX services such as the American Express Travel card, pre-paid bank cards and FIFA™ branded cards and products. Pro-active preparation was done for the anticipated increase in volume of FOREX requirements and branches were opened for extended hours.


So after the final whistle blew, was all the risk management planning worth it? The answer to this question is an emphatic YES, from Sue Kenney. The focus which the Task Team brought to bear with regard to specific risk management considerations surrounding the World Cup, will reap benefits well beyond the event and this is likely to be the case for all enterprises who subjected their risk management plans to robust scrutiny, in preparation for the event.

Source: Insurance Gateway®
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