Megrow Podcast: Episode 5

“The Making Of”

Several listeners have asked me to talk about the technicalities of podcasting. This blogpost summaries my approach of preparing, recording, editing and publishing the Megrow podcast. As a general rule, I strive to combine a decent quality outcome with the use of relatively modest hard- and software. Note though: many roads lead to Rome!

This blogpost is the (almost) verbatim script of the recently released Megrow Podcast Episode 5. If you prefer listening to it, click on this link or the image just below. Otherwise enjoy the reading.


You do NOT need to spend thousands of dollars on high-tech equipment or rent a professional studio to record a podcast at decent quality. However, some good equipment is needed to produce professional podcasts. Nothing worse than high quality content that loses its impact due to poor recording and shoddy processing!

A decent quality microphone is the single most important investment to make. Almost any external microphone is better than the built-in microphones in your laptop / tablet / PC / mobile phone.

I purchased a Yeti Blue, for around USD 130, because

  • all the reviews I read, attested the Yeti a very good sound quality
  • the price, whilst not cheap, felt reasonable
  • it connects via USB to any computer
  • no additional hardware, like sound mixers, needed
  • simple plug-in and record, no need to install apps or software
  • both the microphone and the stand feel very robust
  • micro can be adjusted for solo podcasting or interview-type conversations
  • and, I do like the design and the colors
The Yeti microphone is ideal for podcasting
the YETI microphone..

The detailed technical description of the microphone and the color choice is available on the Yeti website. The Yeti is NOT a light-weight!

I also invested 20 USD into a pop-screen. When buying one, make sure it is big enough to cover the entire microphone. Make sure the lock comes with mounting clamps or screws to fix the screen on your mic or the table/stand that you put your recording gear on.

the pop blocker screen
recording studio set-up


Both iOS and W10 have built-in voice recorders. They work perfectly well for podcasting purpose.

Important: regardless of the device/app you use, make sure it can record with at least 44.1 kHz sampling rate. Most apps have a “setting” or “preference” option where you can adjust audio quality to “maximum” or whatever the terminology of your preferred OS is. 44.1 kHz records sound at excellent quality whilst keeping the audio files at a manageable size.

One thing to note: when using a good quality microphone at 44.1 kHz settings, be absolutely sure that you record in a quiet environment to avoid picking up background noise. Our brains are excellent at filtering out low level noise emanating from air conditioners or cooling fans of computers. However, a good microphone will register fan noise, which will distort your recording. Hence be wary of “silent” noise when recording.

One additional point to note, especially when your recording device runs a different OS than your post-processing device(s). You need to record your audio in a format that the “receiving” OS and software can open and process. 


Once you have recorded your ramblings, you may want to do some post-processing to enhance the messaging of your podcast.

Depending on the operating system you use, different options (at no extra cost) are available for editing your recordings. I mostly edit on a W10 machine using DaVinci Resolve 16 from Blackmagic. This editor is extremely feature rich, requires a journey along a steep learning curve and is available as a free download from the Blackmagic website. I use DaVinci because I grew reasonably familiar with it during the early days of my personal YouTube channel.

On the side: iMovie on your Mac will do the job just as nicely. 

A voice-only editor is insufficient for me, because I add images, titles, lay-over text, video snippets and music to the voice recording.


content creation

Thus far, I’ve had a smooth journey in terms of finding content. I do a lot of Enterprise Risk Management consulting work, hence ERM is a given topic. Let’s hope the creative vibes stay with me for a long time!

I could easily record an entire podcast episode without preparation. However, I prefer to script each episode at great level of detail. Putting my thoughts on paper (aka MS Word) forces some discipline into my thought process. In addition, a script eases content management and instills more focus on the actual delivery. Reading off a script also makes recording quite straight forward. 

And lastly, I release an accompanying blogpost on the Megrow website concomitantly to the podcast. The blog is a very close copy of the actual podcast script, so very little work is needed to cover two communication channels in one go.

Episodes usually last for about 10 minutes. I believe that 10 minutes provide enough time to get some detailed content across without “hand-cuffing” listeners for too long.

quality control

Once I have an almost final version of the script, I choose the “read-aloud” function in MS Word for proofing. Listening to the computer voice whilst following the text is such an efficient way of spotting mistakes and errors. Additionally, I also record the time needed for MS word to read the entire text – just to make sure I stay within the ten minutes target duration.

I’m obviously not a native English-speaker, so spell- and grammar check is a given.

the studio

Once I’m OK with the script, I set up the recording hardware. Mostly, I just put the laptop on top of a cardboard box, place the microphone next to it and fit the pop-blocker in front of the Yeti. It might not look very professional, but this set-up is fast and practical. For best sound quality, the Yeti needs to stand vertical and you need to talk into the microphone from the front. 

The Making Of: a simple, highly mobile and flexible recording studio set-up
the recording studio

I record each episode in chapters. Recording in slices makes the process much easier. When I stumble over my own words, I can simply discard the current chapter and re-record it. In addition, bite-sized audio slices also speed up my editing workflow.


My editing process is relatively straight-forward:

  • set the editor – DaVinci Resolve in my case – to 1920×1080 Full HD resolution. This is currently the best choice when considering file size and quality
  • match quality setting of the audio track in your editing software to the high-quality settings used for voice recording
  • add opening screen, the intro and the outro from my templates stock. The intro and outro form the boundaries of the podcast in the editing software’s story line
  • mark chapters in the podcast with distinct titles for easy navigation
  • add images, URLs and video snippets when needed
  • pre-view the episode a few times for final quality control
  • export the project at full HD and upload to YouTube

going live

Recorded and edited, how will the world find your podcast and listen to it?

The state-of-the-art publishing process encompasses publication on one of the well-known Podcast feeders, such as Apple Podcasts or “Podcast Addict” for Android (to name just two). I was initially considering going down that route as well, but after a bit of thinking and tinkering, I decided to simply publish the Megrow podcast on YouTube. 

YouTube has a very distinctive set of advantages

  • it is a very well-known, easily accessible and omnipresent platform
  • tagging and onwards distribution/linking to other Social Media channels is easy
  • I’m familiar with the platform
  • listeners can subscribe to my channel and post comments
  • show notes can be added easily
  • device and platform independent, only needs a browser

My current method of reaching out to my audience is a five-pronged approach:

  • post on YouTube
  • announce the Episode on my Megrow Twitter account
  • put the link on Megrow’s LinkedIn page
  • post link on “my” LinkedIn page
  • publish the (almost) verbatim podcast on Megrow website as a blogpost.


I hope my thoughts will be helpful to some of you who are current or aspiring podcasters! Thank you very much for reading this blogpost. Other blogposts are here. You can contact me via the buttons at the bottom of the page.


Megrow Podcast Episode 4

the intro

Thank for reading the (almost) verbatim script of the recently released Megrow Podcast Episode 4. If you prefer listening to it, click on this link or the image just below. Otherwise enjoy the reading.

there should be a Megrow logo here…. probably a bug in the Gutenberg plug-in…

This episode, the forth one I’m releasing in 2019, is a little different from my previous ramblings. My favorite topic, ERM, is taking a breather for now. Instead, I will share some of the experiences I made setting up and running Megrow. Hopefully, my thoughts are helpful to others who are in a similar situation prior to a start-up journey or any other career move.

the why and the how

Often, I get asked “how and why did you choose to leave the corporate world and embark on this journey”? Before setting up Megrow, I went through a high-level, structured thought process designed to help me in answering the “what’s next” question. I wholeheartedly recommend this approach to anybody who is looking to make any career move. 

This thought-process is about answering three related, yet different questions pertaining to your skills, your preferences and perceived opportunities. If there is overlap between answers, I consider the manifestation of this overlap as an attractive career move. 

the three circles

  1. First, think about what you are really good at. This can be any combination of hard and soft skills.
  2. Second, reflect on your professional passion, in colloquial terms “what gets you out of bed in the morning”.
  3. Third, you need to be very clear whether the intersection of your skills and passion has a “market” now and is likely to have a “market” in the future. I use the term “market” in the very widest sense of the word in this context. This can be anything from entrepreneurship to arts to charity work.

The intersection of the three circles – or more specifically the answers to the questions is a very good starting point to plan.

the three circles model

I came up with this three-realms-idea, when I helped a charity to guide young students along their journey. It is somewhat linked (but NOT a copy) to the well-known Japanese method of “Ikigai”. Ikigai is more complex and philosophical than my simple three circles method. 

Whilst I find this approach very intuitive and extremely helpful, it is crucial to be open-minded for new ideas and opportunities that lay outside of the three realms. Sometimes a good opportunity comes along, hence it is important to stay alert and curious all the while. After all, outcomes matter not processes.

In my case, I am very passionate about Enterprise Risk Management, because it is a greatly undervalued strategic tool; secondly there is a current and future market for it and most humbly, I also think I acquired hard and soft skills necessary to support customers along their ERM-journey.

I’ll share a few examples from my Megrow journey where the three circles overlap well; and other cases where there was not even a touch point, let alone an overlap.

the perception

Often, people ask or challenge me about the benefits of entrepreneurial freedom. More casually put, “life must be wonderful without a boss”. This is the single, biggest misconception about a micro enterprise. I do agree that processes are lean and mean, and Megrow is nimble and efficient. I do have entrepreneurial freedom to manage my time and yes, nobody can “commandeer” me around. However, the pressure and expectation are of a totally different nature when running your own company. As a micro-entrepreneur I am acting in splendid isolation or in “intellectual loneliness”.

I realized this risk of being an eremite very early on and started building a network of like-minded professionals who are in similar situations. I’m grateful to Acacia Ltd in Hong Kong, AKR Zell Consulting and Covolve Pte Ltd in Singapore, Qalybrate in Malaysia and Dr. Bessant in Manila for being such great sparring and business partners over the years! We really do help each other as peers, idea reviewers, we share practicalities, sometimes act as mutual IT-helpdesks and much, much more.

“you are doing your current best and you keep improving”.

my self-mantra

the emotions

The most gratifying experience is direct, positive feedback from a client. Believe me, it doesn’t get better than this.

Clients have told me that my work or what I’ve delivered together with Megrow’s partners has made tangible impact to their bottom line, has solved some of their communication challenges, has opened new sources of revenues or drove their strategic thinking. This feedback is so valuable, especially since I use “outcomes matter” as a tagline very often. In other words, there were moments of grandiose joy and reasons to celebrate lavishly!

Having said that, there have been difficult and challenging periods.

For instance, at one moment in the not too distant past, my name card stock was gravitating towards zero. Despite ongoing and numerous sales efforts, not a single, new mandate was in-sight. At that stage, I was pondering for a very brief moment, whether I really need to print another stack of name cards or just let it all hit “zero”. Of course, I did print a new box of name cards, but still…

the challenges

How do I deal with these challenges? I’d like to share a few points that certainly have helped me over the years.

  • first, never never never stop the marketing and the networking.
  • second, spread the marketing wider than the target client base; often, an indirect recommendation or source of information is most valuable.
  • third, it is OK to chill occasionally, but keeping a good professional routine combined with a balanced lifestyle is such a great baseline! Mens sana in corpore sano – the old Romans knew that already.
  • fourth, occasionally re-do the skills – preference – market thinking process. Especially in times of great innovation, a certain skill can lose its edge rapidly. Or another skill becomes a rare commodity overnight. Think of film cameras or radiologists. I emphasize on the “occasionally”, because if you feel the need to reevaluate your three circles several times a day, something isn’t right with at least one of them.
  • And last, but not least: reflect on your value proposition: is it really unique what and how you are delivering? You might have the greatest product or service on a stand-alone basis, but if somebody offers your service or product as (a free) part of another package, then the market simply isn’t there and, in all likelihood, will not return.

d.y.i. or ?

If you start out and remain a micro enterprise, you have to decide and regularly reevaluate what you will do your-self and what is best outsourced. I probably could do most “internal” tasks, such as accounting, statutory reporting, data management, compliance and logistics myself. However, how efficient is this “solo” approach? And secondly, will I achieve the best outcome if I really do – or try to learn how to do – all these things myself?

I’ll pick three examples to share my experience, the thought process behind my decision and the outcomes.

the logo

passion: yes; skills: NO; market: yes --> outsource

Almost every time I give a name card to somebody, I note from their facial expression and subsequent comments how much they like the Megrow logo. I think it is a stroke of genius. Did I design the logo? I wish I could create an item of such beauty – but no chance. The three-circle model that I described a few minutes back, led me very quickly to the conclusion that designing a logo is NOT something I should try to do myself or aspire to learn.

The detailed self-assessment reads as follows: 

  • I really love creating visual things; hence circle No. 1 gets a tick mark
  • Secondly, there definitely is a market for well-designed logos. In other words, two boxes are ticked already.
  • However, do I have the skills to design a logo or could I acquire them within a meaningful time frame: the straightforward answer is “NO”. I realized the latter a long time ago, so I didn’t even bother thinking about designing a logo myself.

Luckily, my partner JC is very good with colors, shapes and designs, so all credit to her for designing this beauty of a logo. If you are interested in the history and “making of” the logo, head over to the “about” page.

In conclusion, the logo-design is a clear case, where a do-it-yourself approach would not have resulted in anything meaningful.


passion: yes; skills: yes; market: yes --> DYI

The Megrow website initially served a compliance purpose. I wanted potential clients to get background information about Megrow and myself. Furthermore, all stakeholders who visit the site should get the impression, that a real business, run by a professional, drives the content. 

When I launched the website a few years ago, I wanted to have more and better content than just “what we do” and “about us”. Driven by this urge, back in 2015 I overdid it with the content. Hence, the web-page became bloated with duplicated and triplicated content. Over time, I have reduced the number of pages and most new content flows into the “blog” section, keeping the other pages stable. The “width” and “breadth” of the site feels very appropriate now.

The list of required features for the website was and remains straightforward: a light design that scales well on different devices, operating systems and browsers; standard fonts and colors; easy to manage, security taken care of; provides for “pages” and a platform for regular “blogging” and the basic social media buttons must be there. Lastly, the platform needs to be coding-free and WYSIWIG-style editing.

After a bit of trying and tinkering, I settled with the official WordPress theme in 2017 and its subsequent updates. I switched over to the controversial Gutenberg editor halfway through 2019, because I find it intuitive and easy to use. Very soon, I might consider migrating the layout to the official 2020 WordPress theme.

more on www

A few years into being webmaster and content creator, I feel comfortable making the following recommendations:

  • as long as your web-presence consists of a few static pages plus a blog, there really, really is NO need to invest in expensive web-design, plug-ins and other customisation.
  • get a proprietary URL for your company.
  • leave no stone “un”turned in finding a good class host; speed, reliability, security and service is of paramount importance no matter how big or small the business is. I chose Axac Pte in Singapore, because they flawlessly host my personal website for 15 years. Their service is excellent, I never had a security issue, back-ups are available, and support is as fast as I need it.

As a side note: if you are a WordPress user, there are meet-ups of the local WordPress community in most bigger cities, highly recommended events to network and learn. I got many an inspiration from such meetups.

must do better

passion: yes; skills: ?; market: yes --> outsource

The final example is a great learning out of an old-school marketing approach. Together with a partner company of Megrow, I spent a lot of time, using modernist templates, to compile a content-rich, hard-copy brochure outlining the “things we do”. We invested significant time and other resources on it, had our fun and our discontent, got it printed on high quality paper and distributed quite a few. Initially, we were quite elated with the outcome. Clients “took” the leaflets and stashed them away.

megrow brochure
the front page of the flyer

More recently, however, each time I pick up a copy in my office and look at it, my enthusiasm to take it to a client meeting gravitates closer to zero. To a point where I don’t use the brochures anymore. There should be much more “ooommmpf” in the leaflet. The more I think about it, the more obvious it gets: we should have outsourced the design and lay-outing. Hence, if I ever decide that Megrow needs a hard-copy brochure again, I will spend money on the design. A lesson learnt!

the journey continues

What are the plans for Megrow heading into year five and further? I’m closing this blog by going back to the “three circles” approach that I described earlier in the podcast.

ERM will remain a core offering of Megrow, because all three circles get a “tick” mark.

Secondly, I have rediscovered my passion for teaching and coaching; Asia remains knowledge hungry (allow me the generalization for now) and I have honed my teaching and coaching skills. Hopefully, knowledge and experience sharing will become a slightly stronger leg to stand on going forward.

And lastly, my track record as an executive, particularly in generating growth and positive results, is another valuable asset to Megrow’s clients in the form of strategy advice or an interim mandate as a C-level executive.

Hopefully, you got some helpful information for your own journey out of this blog-post.

You can contact me via social media, LinkedIn and Email. The respective buttons are at the bottom of the page. Thank you for reading.


Happy Birthday Megrow!

Heading Into Year 5

Megrow Consulting has turned four. A big “THANK YOU” to all clients, business partners, advisers, service providers and supporters for another fruitful year! Time really flies. Sometimes it is hard to believe that Megrow now is in its fifth year of operation.

I am also quite humbled by the high click-rates my “Happy Birthday Megrow” post got on LinkedIn. Close to 2000 views after approximately 1 week!

Looking Back

I’m grateful to some of Megrow’s past and current customers who allow me to display their logos on our site. Head over to the client section of the site to get an impression of our past and current customers. Most notably, the list keeps getting longer every year.

The work my partners and myself have done over the past year has slightly shifted in nature compared to the previous period. ERM did remain a key activity and service. Teaching activities and a significant interim mandate as the Chief Executive of a Lloyd’s of London entity in Singapore complement the 2018/2019 palmares.

High Level Analytics of Megrow's current and past portfolio. Happy Birthday Megrow!
Happy Birthday Megrow! Diversification has improved

ERM remains an important pillar of Megrow’s deliveries. However, the past year has seen a wider diversification of mandates, notably teaching and interim management services grew significantly.

Reto Brosi, founder of Megrow Pte Ltd

The analytics above are the result of a straightforward approach, i.e. I simply counted the number of contracts per category. More accurately, I should have used “hours spent” or “outcomes”. However, for the purpose of a high level view on how the portfolio is developing, this simplified approach is good enough.

The Podcast

I have launched the Megrow Podcast early 2019 and thus far published three episodes. A podcast or more precisely a VLOG on YouTube is a good complement to the other marketing and branding activities that I undertake. You can access the latest episode via the embedded link below.

Episode 3 of the Megrow Podcast, October 2019

The podcast is slowly getting traction, I’m happy with that. Episode 4 is scripted and ready for recording. Furthermore, ideas for a few more releases are ready. Stay tuned! However, all my “shout-outs” for interviews and guest contributors haven’t born fruit yet. Maybe I need to advertise the podcast a bit more emphasizing the high “click” rate the podcasts gets on LinkedIn.

if you would like to appear on the Megrow podcast, contact me via the links at the bottom of the page!

If you like the contents, please subscribe to the channel to stay current with the latest episode.

Looking Forward

Business School teaching and common sense indicate that Megrow is at a stage of either “scale up” or “pack up”. Needless to say, the “scale up” challenge is what keeps me awake at night. From a more transactional perspective, both risk management and teaching are future-proof activities. Naturally, the contents and modes of delivery will evolve. Hence, I need and will “stay modern” in these aspects.

The more challenging consideration, however is the question “how to scale up a micro-enterprise”? Some early successes are emerging, but I’m not yet “at peace” with a more strategic and scalable approach. I’m sure the Happy Birthday Megrow! blog post in a years time will have interesting news to share.
In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on this blog and on Megrow’s YouTube channel.


Megrow Podcast: Episode 3

Episode 3 of the Megrow Podcast is live ! It focuses on the tangible benefits that good ERM brings to a company. If you like to listen to the video podcast, click the embedded link below. However, if you like to read the (almost) verbatim script, just scroll down and enjoy.

The Script of Episode 3

Megrow Podcast Episode 3 picks-up the topic trail where episode two ended. Back in episode 2, I scratched on the importance of making ERM a tangible benefit to any business. In this episode I will elaborate substantially more on this topic and most importantly share some examples to illustrate my point.

the evolution of the benefit slides

I start with a slide that is a core part of Megrow’s marketing materials since almost day 1 of the company. When I show this slide to colleagues and clients, the reactions are always very positive.

all stakeholders benefit from good enterprise risk management

Everybody seems to see the message of “benefits to business” right away. Naturally, some people tell me that the looks of the slide is borderline childish and inappropriate for business. However, the many spontaneous, “eyes wide-open” positive reactions I got and keep getting from different audiences convince me that it is a good slide. Hence, it keeps its important spot in many of my presentations.

Having said that, as I keep acquiring and completing more mandates, I felt the need to give the slide a good second look and decided to overhaul it: more focus and a slightly more polished look. So, here is the new version of the slide:

Good ERM improves results!

The diverse, colorful head image is the best representation of the variety of stakeholders that benefit from good ERM. For the updated version, I reduced the number of “benefits boxes”. Furthermore, I significantly enlarged the “improved results”. The “improved results” text box now sits right below the image – simply to give it the importance it deserves!

On to the real topic now: I will focus on a few, very tangible benefits of good Enterprise Risk Management.

ERM and Credit Rating

I start with the lever that Enterprise Risk Management has on credit rating.

Credit rating is the combination of balance sheet strength analysis and a number of adjustment factors; ERM being a crucial adjustment factor to derive a final credit rating. I refer to AM Bests’ credit rating approach, because I’m most familiar with their method. Having said that, all credit rating agencies use similar ways to go about it.

AM Best increase their assessment by one “notch” for a leading ERM-approach and, most importantly, lower their rating by up to 4 “notches” for an nonexistent ERM-approach. 

”Minus four notches” – that is very very significant. In other words, it pays off greatly to be at the “good practice level” for ERM. At the other end of the scale it is devastating to have a sub-standard ERM-output.

Higher credit rating means access to additional business, hence higher profits. Furthermore, a higher credit rating also lowers financing cost for a company. In reverse, a lowered credit rating closes some doors to business and makes access to some forms of capital more expensive. Hence, good ERM translates 1:1 to improved profit.

ERM Eases Communication

I’m very grateful to the CEO of a customer who “lifted” me onto the second “benefit” I highlight in this paragraph.

During a past mandate, the senior management team of the customer and I spent a lot of time compiling a good “risk appetite statement”. We managed to find a very sensible balance between some quantitative and a few, selective qualitative statements. In other words, we managed to define a tangible, yet flexible enough risk-appetite description. This enables the company to evaluate the up- and downside risks of some major strategic endeavors against its own perception of risk. I was very happy with that outcome.

The icing on the cake: what the CEO shared with me after the company’s next board meeting. According to the CEO, the revised risk appetite statement made the communication with the board so much more tangible, faster, efficient and easier. The bottom line: a significantly more efficient board of directors meeting!

ERM and Cyber

The risk landscape is continuously evolving; most risks are more interconnected and more challenging to mitigate than ever before. The entire realm of Cyber risk is a prime example. Exposures are interlinked, severity and frequency sometimes difficult to estimate and a plethora of mitigation efforts are deployed. ERM with its company-wide, consistent approach to identify and mitigate risk, is the best tool to “up” the defense for a company. It also is best suited to help a company finding additional business opportunities in the Cyber realm.

Thank you for reading through the transcript of the Megrow Podcast Episode 3. More episodes are in the making already. Megrow is here to make your ERM-journey fast and efficient. Contact details are at the bottom of the page.

ERM risk managment

CyberRisk: To Insure or To Ensure ?

CyberRisk: To Insure or To Ensure
security increasingly takes center stage in the golden age of the internet

Dr. Dennis Bessant, Specialist Advisor to Megrow, wrote this article in June 2019.

the golden age of the internet

Robert K Merton, an American sociologist, popularised the “the law of unintended consequences” in the 20th century; it says that actions always have effects that are unanticipated or not intended. What has a visionary social scientist got to do with the technical challenges of CyberRisk that besiege enterprises of the 21st century? 
Well, the golden dawn of the internet, the exponential surge of technological change and their benefits have also led to unintended attack by CyberRisks. The days of a simple malfunction of computer hardware or data damage which need a quick IT fix are gone. A new vocabulary emerges: malware, LockerGoga ransomware, state sponsored cyberattacks, NotPetya and so on! 

to insure – is NOT good enough

When significant new risks emerge there is rush to seek insurance solutions to transfer the exposure. But Insurance alone is not Enough! Let’s look closer at what is actually happening in global markets today. 

The impact of technology through cyber has overtaken conventional insurance all risk (or accidental) contract language. The burden of proof lies with Insurers when such CyberRisk claims occur. Based on recently widely reported controversial landmark disputes, these claims are being denied using the conventional war Exclusion in an attempt to understand the nature of their manifestation. There is a lack of contract certainty for cyber claims as insurers attempt to define the right language for these novel and until recently unexpected events. 

Markets are struggling to find a sound foothold for the language to use in insurance contracts. Reinsurers and their retrocessionaires are also having to come to terms with potential aggregation issues and varying contract language. All this creates an air of uncertainty for enterprises facing such complex risks. Of course there is a desire by the insurance markets to respond given the vast potential premium pool globally. But the first port of call for any enterprise….governmental or corporate….is to do the basics themselves with specialist help rather than seek quick fix risk transfer solutions only to find they are exposing their organisations to tens of millions of dollars in potentially unsettled claims.

In Insurance we trust?

Interestingly, research done by the Mactavish group, published here, reveals that a around of third of respondents do NOT think that insurance is the desired solution to their Cyber exposures! Why is that so? Read on…

it is in the contract

Fortunately, attempts to improve the governance of contracts is underway. For example, Mactavish, a well respected adviser in this field in the relatively sophisticated UK market, has suggested the insurance industry eliminate eight ‘flaws’. These ‘flaws’ are prominent in off-the-shelf cyber policies and hence, insurers use them often to deny claims. Insurance is for the unforeseeable. These days, computer and equipment systems, controls, hardware and software are essential components of virtually any enterprise. Critically, the systems intricately link with their human endeavour. Furthermore, their protection is a cost of doing business to Ensure they stay in business. A known and foreseeable necessity is therefore their oversight, governance and control by each enterprise depending on the level of exposure foreseen. 

We need to look the original question of “CyberRisk: To Insure or To Ensure” also from the ensure perspective.

to ensure is better

So what can enterprises do to Ensure CyberRisk is mitigated or reduced without sole dependency to Insure. Find out Tips from the largest global commercial property insurer (FM Global, see below) on where to start and what to do. Think outside the box.

the human factor

Crucially, seventy to eighty percent of cyber deficiencies are human factor related. In other words, the person behind the machine is the weakest link! Awareness and training are vital to reduce risk. Stress testing to ensure business/service continuity and protect customer data is critical. Controls of security, data management, infrastructure oversight and protection will reap huge dividends to Ensure enterprise resilience whilst the insurance industry attempts to wrestle with the complexities of what to Insure in this complex field. The challenge will continue to grow exponentially as local, national, regional and global accumulations and aggregations stack up exacerbated by yet more AI, automation and smart machines! Ensure your enterprise is built to last.

CyberRisk: To Insure or To Ensure

In conclusion, ensurance – in the form of good Cyber hygiene – is a critical component in managing the ever-evolving CyberRisk landscape. In addition, the insurance industry faces significant challenges and opportunities to position itself as a key risk mitigant in the “CyberRisk: To Insure or To Ensure” realm.


  • Commercial Risk Europe: Merck Pharma in dispute with insurers over the 2017 NotPetya attack
  • Financial Times: Mondelez sues Zurich in $100mill test for cyber hack insurance; 1,700 servers and 24,000 laptops ‘permanently dysfunctional’
  • The Times UK: Companies at risk as Hiscox rules out DLA Piper’s cyberattack claim
  • Mactavish: Cyber Risk & Insurance Report, November 2018
  • FM Global Insights & Impacts (2018): Cyber Risk: The Answers to Five Big Questions; 5 Questions Every Risk Manager Should Ask; Threats to Physical Security Industrial Controls.”
  • images are used under creative commons license

the author

Dr. Dennis Bessant is Specialist Adviser to Megrow. Find out more about him and read some of his recent publications.


The Superhuman CRO

I wrote about the “ideal” CRO Superhuman almost a year ago in a blogpost. Interestingly, this topic remains an evergreen. During almost all conversations about ERM sooner or later the question about the CRO’s ideal skill set come up.

the decathlete

In my earlier blog, I used the “decathlete” analogy quite frequently. Whilst this analogy is tangible, it probably isn’t the best explanation in a business context. Hence, I came up with a different, more business-relevant description. A good CRO has a “thorough understanding of the entire value chain” of the respective industry.

What does that mean? Taking the insurance industry as an example, a CRO must understand how risk management and capital provision interlude along the value chain. If we imagine the value chain as a line, then insured and capital provider sit at either end. In business reality, the risk and the capital pass through many hands and undergo multiple transformations. Each component of the value chain has its idiosyncrasies, uncertainties, upside and downside risk embedded in it. Hence, the understanding of the interlude and which ‘change’ triggers which reaction is the key.

In other words, the CRO’s ensures that the organisation

  • understands both external and internal drivers that influence the value chain
  • recognises, quantifies and mitigates downside risks and opportunities associated with these drivers in a consistent manner
who then?

(1) Any professional who has developed a thorough understanding of the entire value chain is a good candidate. Naturally, qualified actuaries and CIIs (or equivalents) with leadership experience are very well suited.

(2) a strong trait of constructive curiosity, excellent communication and influencing skills in all dimension of an organisations current set-up.

(3) a mind-set and corresponding actions to position good ERM as a strategic tool that supports all stakeholders.

Over the past years, I’ve had the opportunity to support clients who asked themselves the “superhuman” question. Together we found a matching answer every time!

you can reach me at

Company Valuation Enterprise Risk Management ERM Parafernalia skills

The Megrow Podcast is LIVE!!!

Episodes Released

I’m very pleased to announce the release of Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the Megrow Podcast.

The Podcast is hosted on Megrow’s YouTube channel. I aptly named it the “Asia Risk and Opportunity Podcast” or “AROC” for short.

Episode one is a general, introductory episode explaining the why / what / how:

Episode 1 of the AROC Podcast – hosted by Megrow

Episode two dives right into the core matter of Enterprise Risk Management: what are the benefits to business?. I use CyberRisk as an example to demonstrate the tangible outcomes of good Enterprise Risk Management. “Tangible” in this context clearly refers to dollars and cents.

Episode 2 of the AROC podcast hosted by Megrow

I’ve been thinking for quite some time about which channels are best suited to share my thoughts about ERM. Obviously, this blog is my first choice, followed by LinkedIn and then Twitter. These three avenues all have their benefits and particularities. But I always felt something was missing. After quite some pondering, I decided to try a Podcast to complement my current channels.

looking for contributors

This podcast is fully open to anybody who is looking for a channel to share ideas and views about risks and opportunities. However, I have two border conditions: first, the message must be of practical value and secondly, a distinctive focus on matters in and across Asia is sought. Ironically, I broke my second rule with Episode 2 already, so next time I need to do better.

the future

I’m planning to release a few episodes over the course of 2019. However, neither do I want to stress nor limit myself by an overly specific target. If I find sufficient speakers, I might release an episode every 2 weeks, otherwise there will be just a handful in 2019.

The beauty of this podcast lies in its flexibility with regards to length and looks. It can be a 60 seconds video or a 30 minutes conversation – and anything in between.

Hence, if you are passionate about a risk-relevant topic with a distinctive Asia-relevant touch to it: please please stand-up and get in touch with me. Recording and editing isn’t a big anymore. Let us have a chat soon!

Enterprise Risk Management ERM Opportunity

ERM – More on the Benefits

constant dripping wears away the stone

I’m constantly praising the tangible business benefits of good ERM. A number of blogposts here and on other social media are testimony to this. Until a few month ago, I felt like the proverbial “lonely prophet”. A lot of ERM-related publications had a distinctive retro- / crisis-touch to it and nobody appeared to pay much attention to the strategic aspects of it.


Then things changed. First, COSO issued a compendium of “real business cases” in 2018, which was great. However, I was rather disappointed that this compendium required extra subscription, instead of providing it together with the release of the revised framework.

And now, academia is following suit. The NC State Poole College of Management released a study titled “The Value Proposition for ERM: From Intangible to Tangible”. When I spotted to article, I was elated to see the increased focus on the tangible benefits of ERM! Finally, I’m no longer the sole preacher in the desert.

the study

The document is available here. They provide an executive summary, which really is a summary. Secondly, it is well written and concise. And most importantly, they cite a number of tangible, real life cases.

Two points stand out from that work:

  1. the link between ERM and strategy. ERM is a forward-looking tool.
  2. the identification of emerging risks and converting them into opportunities (vs only looking at the downside).

btw: the NC state university website is valuable resource for ERM matters in general. Suggest you head over and spend some time there.

Enterprise Risk Management ERM Other

COSO ERM Framework – One Year After the Update

The COSO ERM framework update

COSO released a significant update of its well-known ERM-framework in late 2017. An executive summary is accessible on their website.  The ERM community, especially the “COSO-istas” most eagerly awaited the update. Additionally, the wider stakeholder community was excited to see how the new framework will benefit businesses.  I’m a fan of COSO because their approach is forward looking and tries to integrate strategy and performance with Enterprise Risk Management.

So far so good.

who is the target?

Once I started reading the executive summary, a few questions came to my mind. First, who is the target audience? Second, how many ERM-sceptics can this update convince? And lastly, where are the increased, practical benefits of this version versus its predecessors? I’ve shared some of my supportive and critical views about the new framework in a few blogposts.

gnōthi seauton

Lo and behold, pwc, one of the key contributors to the revision, published a blog reflecting on the “so what” question one year after the update. I really like the open and candid views in that blogpost. Hurdles, miss-conceptions, prejudices, resistance to change… not surprisingly, it’s all there. My advice: “NEVER EVER GIVE UP”.  Having said that, it is no surprise to me that “take up” of the new framework probably isn’t where the authors envisaged it.

and now?

Talking to practitioners and clients across Asia, I noticed that the new framework needs significantly more marketing. It appears not to be known (almost) at all. Out of the many people I spoke to, only ONE (yes 1) appears to have read the new framework.

I have a few suggestions

  1. The effort to summarise the entire approach into a picture is a great endeavour. However, this double-triple helix (*) needs to be simplified and made more tangible. Only then, business leaders will buy into it. In plain simple English: the current depiction is too complicated.

    COSO ERM framework update
    the COSO ERM double triple helix
  2. Nothing beats tangible, $$$-denominated examples. Concepts and frameworks are great, but ultimately businesses will only buy into it, once they see tangible top and bottom line benefits. Preferably, these benefits are palpable within the coming quarter or two.  Dear reader: I “hear” you screaming that ERM is a long-term strategic undertaking,,,, but after all,,,,, sales and results drive a business.
  3. I’m also cognisant that a special compendium with “real life” cases has been released. However, why do we need to buy and read even another document to convince us that the first document (the framework) is a good thing? Somehow counter-intuitive..

Whenever I speak or write about ERM, I make a point to emphasise the tangible benefits of good ERM for the business. The benefits come in various shapes and forms:

  1. better understanding of new risks can be transformed into new business
  2. better ERM contributes to positive credit rating evaluation, which will lower capital costs and open doors to new business as well
  3. properly managed Cyber exposures protect the downside and can lead to new business opportunities, too
  4. good ERM will lower compliance costKeen to know more? Contact Megrow via the “buttons” at the bottom of the site and stay tuned for new blogs on

    (*) the picture is used with permission from COSO as stated on their website.

risk managment

Will the next crisis be the same as the last?

Dennis Bessant, Specialist Advisor to Megrow, has written a very insightful and thought-provoking article. It is  a commentary on the attitudinal  state of the industry and offers controversial thoughts for change.

Asia Insurance Review just published the article in its SIRC 2018 supplement.

You can access the article on Asia Insurance Review’s website or download it from our website: Dr. Bessant in AIR Resilience and Loss Prevention.

Dr. Dennis Bessant

Dennis is Specialist Advisor to Megrow. You can read much more about him and hist more recent publications here.