In the context of our business operations we enter into a broad range of risks, which we manage in order to be able to act on the associated opportunities. The parameters and decisions of the Executive Board with respect to the company's risk appetite, which are based on the calculations of risk-bearing capacity, are fundamental to the acceptance of risks. In this context crucial importance attaches to our system of risk management, in which roles are unambiguously assigned and tasks and reporting channels clearly defined and documented in guidelines. This makes possible a common understanding Group-wide of the holistic monitoring and steering of all material risks in order to ensure that they remain calculable for the reinsurance portfolio and hence also that exceptional major losses do not have an unduly adverse impact on Group net income.
Social and environmental risks are always considered in this context as well. At the present time our most significant risks are the default and spread risks within the (capital) market risks, the reserving and catastrophe risks within the underwriting risks of property and casualty reinsurance and the risk of changes in mortality within the underwriting risks of life and health reinsurance. In this respect, mortality risks have varying implications for our life and health reinsurance business. While annuity Portfolios are, as a general principle, adversely impacted by improvements in mortality, the effects for death benefit portfolios are inversely positive. In the area of other risks we pay particular attention to emerging risks. The hallmark of such risks is that their content cannot as yet be reliably assessed. It is vital to detect and evaluate these risks at an early stage. A separate working group of specialists spanning divisions and lines of business is therefore deployed Group-wide and its linkage to risk management is ensured. The members of this working group on "Emerging Risks and Scientific Affairs" analyse, for example, risks associated with possible climate change. Global warming would, for instance, affect not only natural perils, but also human health, the world economy, the agricultural sector and much more besides. Further examples of emerging risks include technology risks, shortage of resources and supply chain risks. On these and other topics the working group formulates internal position papers and makes recommendations regarding their handling in reinsurance practice. Within the working group the trend radar continuously tracks long-term and mega-trends and explores whether the latest trends, such as the sharing economy, may also give rise to emerging risks. In addition, we cultivate a dialogue with other globally operating risk managers. This dialogue encompasses, among others, universities, other reinsurers , customers, political actors and industry associations such as the Geneva Association, the OASIS Initiative and the German Insurance Association (GDV) . At an industry gathering of the Geneva Association in 2015, for example, our Chief Executive Officer led an expert discussion on the challenges posed by pandemics. We also play a regular part in a Geneva Association working group on "Extreme Events and Climate Risks". In the context of the Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Forum we contribute to the development and sharing of best practices in risk management. Discussion papers on topical risk issues also assist us in the risk assessment process and play a part in fostering public discourse. In our Sustainability Strategy 2015 – 2017 we set ourselves the goal of further expanding the dialogue on emerging risks.
On the life side we maintain expert networks covering various fields such as financial solutions and medical underwriting. Groups are formed within them for specific current issues, among whose members information is shared worldwide. The networks are composed of employees from our subsidiaries, branches and the Hannover location. Meetings are held regularly in the form of conference calls or on a face-to-face basis.
Our clients similarly benefit from our risk expertise. Through our subsidiary