Emerging risks for the sport industry

12 Jul 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Sport Industry Group catches up with James Hands, head of accident & health and sport & entertainment at Miller Insurance Services LLP to discuss emerging risks for the sport industry…


Firstly, where does sport and entertainment sit within the wider Miller Insurance offering?

Miller is nearly 120 years old but what sets Miller apart is that we do not profess to be ‘all things to all people’. Miller’s success has been based on identifying areas where it can have a real competitive edge over peer groups. By identifying these areas and the individuals needed to succeed, this has enabled Miller to be a leader in the sectors we focus on. It is a far more targeted business proposition than just taking a completely broad and non-specialised approach.

Miller has been involved in sport for many years, and in 2015 I was brought in to develop that initiative. I joined with a few of the team that I worked with at Aon to further expand and capitalise on the foundation that we already had.

Our business is about knowing your sector inside out and being aware of continued changes in the risk environment. To excel in this area, you need to live and breathe the industry sector. Not only reacting to situations that might come along and we might be faced with, but also to pro-actively identify emerging and developing risks, then working with clients to mitigate them.

We also have former sports professionals within the team, who have been there and done that, so, when they are advising individuals who are starting out or developing their careers, they understand the insurance product very clearly and can empathise with the individual.

What are the emerging risks that the sport industry should be aware of at the moment?

The obvious one to start with is cyber. Every industry in the world is experiencing an ever growing and ever more concerning exposure to cyber risks, cyber terrorism and cyber-attacks. With this growing appetite and audience, everyone should be putting a greater focus on understanding the risk of a cyber-attack. The personal data that clients and corporations hold can be seen as very attractive data if it got into the wrong hands and now under the new GDPR regulations, huge fines can be imposed on those who lose data. Working with organisations to understand what potential scenarios could arise helps to shape the risk profile and subsequent protection.

Beyond this, we have seen the development of terrorist activity and “lone wolf". We also have a specialist team (SCR) within Miller who are the leaders in crisis management. It’s about preparing for the worst possible situation.

How does the scale of the sport and entertainment team and its business compare with the other areas?

The sport and entertainment business sits within our Accident and Health unit and represents about a tenth of the company, so a very sizable part of Miller. Without a doubt it has been the fastest growing area of the business over the past couple of years. With the new team and broad skill base, our sport and entertainment position has accelerated dramatically.

The FIFA World Cup is a good example of the shop window effect, as discussed recently by Jim Rainford, the limelight can have a big impact on a career?

It is a good shop window for players, as history has shown, and if a club has a player that makes the most of that opportunity then they stand to gain a lot from it. Of course, when it comes to individual players, we have built up a large portfolio of clients and we encourage them to consider the opposite end of the spectrum. When an individual player has their career ended by injury or illness, it has to be handled extremely sensitively and in a timely manner. It is obviously a very difficult time in their career and will have a huge impact on the rest of their lives.

Miller once again supported Participation Event of the Year at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2018? How do you think that sector of the industry is growing?

Seeing the numbers and growth involved in mass participation events over the last few years has been really interesting. It [participation events] is such a fascinating area of sport to be involved in and the BT Sport Industry Awards are a great platform for promoting our brand and services in a room full of the greats from the sporting world. From that point of view, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to have our brand associated with something we are actively involved with on the events side, as well as taking the opportunity to share a great evening with some of our key clients.

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