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  • Matt Carter

Cognitive Risk a business name that is more than just two words

and why your name should stand for something

When you establish a business settling upon its name is super important to try and support what you are and what you do, simply and morably. Get it right and it goes a long way to help with positioning and distinguishing you from your competitors. The naming process can go through many iterations, ideas and concepts before landing on ‘the one’.

Unlike other decisions I have cogitated over, this name actually came quickly and we are very pleased, as to us its definition was meant to convey that we are smart thinkers, especially when it comes to insurance. By then digging deeper into the two words; Cognitive and Risk you get a bit more context, Cognitive representing ‘applying conscious intellectual activity’ and as aimed at the insurance sector Risk, representing the ‘exposure to danger’ which by its nature can often lead to a risk adverse culture, making many overly sensitive to the risks of change, and avoiding anything that could expose the minutest exposure to risk. Sadly a trait that many observe as being so deeply rooted within the insurance sector.

On a more positive note It plays to our values. We think through problems fully and in detail, are utterly curious about solutions, never afraid of seeking opinion, will ask the difficult questions and understand that risks need to be identified, mitigated or overcome, to deliver the ultimate success of one’s ambition.

What we didn’t realise though when we set the business up was that there already existed a ‘Cognitive Risk Framework’, a body of thought and structure that supports organisations through change, born largely from a subject matter I am intrigued by, behavioural economics.

Having delivered a large scale platform in my last role, I came to see how the nudges and levers used to drive adoption and engagement at the human level is absolutely a science as well as an art. Human behaviour is often where you have to start on all programmes of change, our experience both in and out of the market bears this out in spades.

So at Cognitive Risk we strive to support our clients desire to become better… better businesses, utilise better solutions, become better practitioners and ultimately better citizens. Moving analogue thinking to a digital mindset and our own framework acknowledges that to innovate you need to align many aspects, people, data, processes and technology and to design solutions in a way that frees up an organisation to innovate, create better outcomes but mindful of risks and the human risks of change. Simply put, you need to start with a long hard look at the culture within the organisation.

A cognitive risk framework therefore is human centred change, acknowledging even with technology, businesses employ people and they are its biggest asset as well as an operational vulnerability (Cyber controls being one case in point). That is why human and machine alignment is critical as we design new operating models.

Future Insurance Thinking - change is the hardest word in insurance

So the above highlights aspects we continually address with our clients as we discuss and consider the art of the possible and move the thinking away from an entirely unacceptable ethos of “if it's not broke don't fix it”. There is always a better way and we help our clients open their minds to at least consider it.

With all the challenges we have faced over the last year, there is no better time to start to adopt fresh thinking than today. There is a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-map what the future should look like given the technological capabilities that exist, the seismic impact of Covid, rise of ESG, a new, more collaborative and more remote working, an acceptance to fully rely upon digital tools and the realisation that data should drive decisions not opinions.

It is here with our own Future Insurance Thinking or F.I.T Approach we see that our own purpose and why our name remains so relevant. We exist to help our clients be different, smarter and connected, ultimately we blend creativity and knowledge, with insurance and technology experience to grow and improve our clients’ businesses. So in our name we deliver the mental aspects of understanding, learning and applying change with the challenges or risks prevalent in the industry but doing so through an understood and clearly explained approach. One that is about delivering pragmatic and workable solutions, not ethereal concepts.

We understand change is not easy and the people aspects of change need to be managed carefully through communication, engagement and messaging. We recognise the benefits of micro-innovation alongside big thinking, moving the capability needle in small increments. But without change and without continually looking to advance how all businesses operate, a much greater risk hangs over them, one of obsolescence, something we previously covered here.

But through the organisations we have met looking to support the industry change and with some of the fresh thinking we can apply, a better, smarter and more connected operation can be achieved, reducing operational friction, improving efficiencies and ultimately improved performance.

Want to learn more about what Cognitive Risk thinking could do for you, then get in touch and find out more about Future Insurance Thinking.


Matt Carter and Mark Huxley are founders of Cognitive Risk, on a mission to drive on digital adoption and transformation within the Lloyd's, London and Global (Re)Insurance Markets. They want to help organisations re-imagine problems, be creative and uncover smart solutions, by combining their perspectives of INSUR and TECH to define what success looks like for your business and how to get there.

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