Firms in APAC readier for pandemic than others elsewhere

Image by Martin Sanchez

More than half (52%) of companies the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region had a pandemic plan in place before the crisis compared to 31% globally, a global survey by Aon shows.

Conducted in the last quarter of 2020 and covering 500 respondents from firms of various sizes in 41 countries across the globe, the survey found that reprioritising risk and exploring new risk management strategies are now the top concern for businesses.

Companies in APAC were also better supported by state-run track-and-trace technology and had built more robust pandemic programmes in response to similar threats in the past, such as SARS and the swine flu. 

A significant number of organisations from all regions reported being impacted by COVID-19 but felt that they had remained resilient, according to 57% of businesses in APAC, followed by Latin America and North America, each at 51%.

APAC respondents showed a higher percentage of accelerated innovation (12%), especially on supply chain issues, due to the forced improvements made while managing the COVID-19 crisis.

The region also reported significantly higher numbers of businesses thriving during the pandemic at 11%, compared to 6% in other regions. 

Further, only 5% of APAC organisations said the impact of the pandemic was severe, which could be linked to their risk maturity and resilience and ability to pursue opportunities created by the pandemic.

APAC organisations reported being in the “reshape” phase — instead of “react and respond” or “recovery” — in higher numbers than the benchmark — 36% in APAC compared with 29% overall.

Despite these differences, more than half of companies surveyed globally reported that they expect COVID-19 will continue to impact their business a year from now.  

Rory Moloney, Aon CEO of Global Risk Consulting, said the top priorities for companies seeking to reshape their business are the new and accelerated use of technology, redeploying resources, workforce planning and rethinking the future of work.

”Part of that journey will require companies to rethink access to capital alongside risk, in addition to ongoing collaboration between the public and private sector,” said Alastair Nicoll, Aon’s APAC regional director of Global Risk Consulting.