How to Navigate Tough Times Ahead

By Simba Makwembere – Managing Director – Europe, Asia & Africa

The world we live in is becoming more volatile. As we begin 2023 with renewed focus and enthusiasm, the many risks and challenges we faced in the last three to five years continue to affect us, moreso, with increasing intensity. As business leaders, we are confronted with increased interconnectedness of risks, issues of global warming, increased natural and mandate catastrophe losses, economic uncertainty, skills flight, load shedding as well as heightened cyber threats. These fundamental risks and challenges are detrimental for business resilience and success; however, they also create good opportunities for businesses and business leaders who are better prepared to navigate the volatility.

In this article, I seek to share some nuggets that businesses and business leaders need to embrace to enable them to face the current risks, challenges and volatility with confidence; as well as build business resilience and success.

Anticipate the risks and challenges;

It is essential that business leaders anticipate and appraise themselves of the fundamental risks and challenges that surround them, and work towards building resilience in the business architecture while simultaneously finding growth opportunities. Businesses that take a defensive approach by building resilience only, without embracing an offensive growth approach, will ultimately lose market position and relevance.

Business leaders need to understand the interconnectedness of the risks and formulate a plan that decouples those risks, moreover, turn the risks and challenges into opportunities that embetter the organisation.

At Maksure Risk Solutions, we have invested in understanding the risks and challenges that businesses face such as global economic unpredictability, heightened cyber threats brought about by Covid19, and to some extent, the Russia/ Ukraine war. We have shifted the manner in which our organisation operates by embracing a hybrid model while expanding on our national and global branch network. We have further understood that in volatile times, businesses need a strong senior and middle management talent pool and thus we have invested in developing our own NQF level 8 programme co-created with Henley Business School South Africa, a leading global business school.

Adjust and manage the source of volatility

Once the source of volatility has been identified, successful business leaders ought to manage it thus slowing down and reducing the impact and longevity of the volatility. As with all global markets, Africa is faced with challenging issues of global warming as well as increased natural and mandate catastrophe losses. Forward thinking business leaders have started to implement strategies of managing the source of global warming. We have seen a growing number of leaders signing The Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance, a declaration of commitment by African insurance industry leaders to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which includes issues of climate change.

Maksure Risk Solutions is currently working with its clients in remodelling and reimagining the natural catastrophe exposure that they face. Our conversations are aimed at actively ensuring that our clients understand the underlying shift in their portfolios and are better positioned to mitigate  volatility in underwriting results.

Balance short- and long-term plans

As business leaders, we are faced with immediate pressing issues that require our focus and tactics to manoeuvre, such as reduced liquidity, high inflation rate, slow economic growth and so on. These issues need to be attended to; however, good leaders do not entirely focus on these issues at the expense of long-term plans that build future sustainable businesses. Leaders who are prepared for volatility are looking ahead and spending more time on longer-term plans and ensuring that business objectives are met.


It is important that leaders look at building diversified portfolios and businesses especially in volatile times. Diversification of a portfolio may take the form of adding new lines of business where risks do not communicate, for example building life- and short-term insurance portfolios. This allows for stabilising composite underwriting result. Diversification may also take the form of writing business from various geographies as well as various market segments.

In conclusion, there will be real business challenges in 2023, however, leaders who are prepared, and who work with alert insurance and reinsurance brokers like Maksure Risk Solutions will have a greater chance of success by making strategic decisions as well as finding endless opportunities to turn their risks and challenges into opportunities.

For more information on our insurance and reinsurance offering, contact us on Tel +27 11 805 0086 or email

About Maksure Risk Solutions

Maksure Risk Solutions is an Afro-Global independent specialist insurance and reinsurance broker with business footprint in Africa, Asia, East & Western Europe, South America and the Caribbean. We provide innovative and tailor-made risk solutions in Insurance and Reinsurance as well as Risk Financing and Actuarial Consulting geared towards capital management and strengthening our client’s balance sheet. Maksure is also one of the major players in Captive Management (Establishment & Management) in South Africa, Mauritius, Bermuda and various other jurisdictions. We have access into the Lloyds of London with a deep understanding of African markets. Our global nature ensures that our clients access quality capacity as well as some of the world’s latest thinking and solutions.