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Thusang Mahlangu - Realising His Dreams

Thusang Mahlangu achieved his vision of becoming CEO at 40 when he was appointed Africa CEO for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in 2017. Born and bred in Pimville Zone 7, Soweto, he joined the corporate insurer in 2013 as Head of Market Management to develop sales and distribution across Africa. He subsequently became Head of Property in 2014.

Mahlangu attributes his achievement to hard work, commitment and perseverance. "I had a vision to become CEO at 40 and worked hard to ensure I realise it. I hope that my accomplishment will inspire young
people from Soweto and South Africa to realise their dreams."

"I am very grateful to AGCS for giving me this opportunity and to my mentors for their guidance and insight. It is an enormous task, but I have a strong team, which was built by my predecessor Delphine Traoré Maïdou. I am very confident that together, we will achieve our vision of becoming a leading corporate insurer on the continent," he said.

Mahlangu has over 20 years of experience in insurance and risk management. He acquired insurance qualifications through the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA). After this, he obtained a management
qualification from University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. His most recent qualification is an MBA from Milpark Business School.

With regards to leadership and governance, he has served as pension fund trustee for a large insurance company and as a member of City of Johannesburg's Group Risk Management Committee.

In his formative years, Mahlangu attended Hlalefang Lower Primary and Nkholi Higher Primary in Pimville.
From a less privileged background, he was awarded a scholarship to St. Alban's College where he matriculated in 1994. While at the school, he played first team rugby, which took part in the school's first international tour to the United Kingdom. This experience inspired him to establish Wits University's Masakhane interfaculty rugby team.

He lives by the following mottos: 'What is done today is ready for tomorrow' and 'Be the best you can be, and always strive to be number one'. Mahlangu lives in Glenvista with his wife Mmathabo and their two children.


The Allianz Risk Barometer 2018 report reveals that cyber incidents remain a top threat with 38% of responses for a third year in a row for South African businesses.

Business interruption (BI) second at 34%, and changes in legislation and regulation is in third place at 29%. These are the key findings of the seventh Allianz Risk Barometer, which is published annually by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). The 2018 report is based on the insight of a record 1911 risk experts from 80 countries.

The report unveils two new South African business threats that have emerged as part of the top ten list, which are climate change/increasing volatility of weather and loss of reputation or brand value, both at 16% at number eight. These new threats are not surprising, especially given the extreme weather patterns that have resulted in frequent droughts and floods affecting the country.

Market developments as a threat has slightly declined to fourth place at 23% from number three in 2017,
regardless of prevailing political uncertainly and a difficult business environment. Fire, explosion and new technologies in sixth place are both at 19% proving this is still a concern as South Africa was plagued with incidents of large fires at Durban Harbour, Braampark and Knysna. Macroeconomic developments (13% of responses) slid a staggering jump of seven places to number ten on the list.

Multiple threats such as data breaches, network liability, hacker attacks or cyber BI, ensure it is the top business risk in South Africa, ten other surveyed countries and the Americas' region and number two in Europe and Asia Pacific. It also ranks as the most underestimated risk and the major long-term peril. Cyber incidents through events such as WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks brought significant financial losses to many businesses. South African businesses were not left unscathed.

In October last year, more than 30 million South Africans' personal information was exposed online in what is considered the country's biggest data breach. The potential for so-called "cyber hurricane" events to occur, where hackers disrupt larger numbers of companies by targeting common infrastructure dependencies, will continue to grow in 2018.

"South Africa is reported to have the third highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, losing billions of Rands a year to cyber-attacks and experiencing more cyber-attacks than its African counterparts. Although,
cyber awareness has significantly increased, particularly among small and medium sized businesses, it is more challenging for these enterprises to tackle this issue compared to larger corporations," says Nobuhle Nkosi Cyber Insurance Expert at AGCS Africa.

Allianz Risk Barometer results show that awareness of the cyber threat is soaring among small- and medium-sized businesses, with a significant jump from number six to number two for small companies and from number three to number one for medium-sized companies. With regard to sector exposure, cyber incidents rank top in the entertainment and media, financial services, technology and telecommunications industries.

Cyber risk and business interruption have been neckand-neck in South Africa for the past three years, increasingly demonstrating a strong interlink between the two. "Businesses in South Africa are deeply concerned about the impact of business interruption, which could result from traditional exposures, such as fire, natural disasters and supply chain disruption, to new triggers stemming from digitalisation and interconnectedness that typically come without physical damage, but with high financial loss.

Breakdown of core IT systems, terrorism or political violence events, product quality incidents or an unexpected regulatory change can bring businesses to a temporary or prolonged standstill with a devastating effect on revenues," says AGCS Africa CEO Thusang Mahlangu.

BI can have a tremendous effect on a company's revenues. Yet its impact is one of the hardest risks to measure. It is also the most important risk for the sixth year in a row globally, ranking top in 13 countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa and Middle East regions. "No business is too small to be impacted," explains Mahlangu, "A severe interruption can even have a terminal impact, particularly for smaller companies. But as many businesses transition from being rich in physical assets to deriving more value from intangibles and services, increasingly, BI is being triggered by non-traditional risk exposures, which don't cause physical damage but result in lost income - so-called nondamage business interruption (NDBI)."

Natural catastrophes moved from number seven to number four and returned to the top three business risks globally. "The impact of natural catastrophes goes far beyond the physical damage to structures in the affected areas. As industries become leaner and more connected, natural catastrophes can disrupt a large variety of sectors that might not seem directly affected at first glance around the world," says Ali Shahkarami, Head of Catastrophe Risk Research, AGCS.

Climate change/increasing weather volatility is a new entrant in the Risk Barometer top ten in 2018, locally and globally, and the loss potential for businesses is further exacerbated by rapid urbanisation in coastal areas.

Meanwhile, the risk impact of new technologies is one of the big movers in the Allianz Risk Barometer, up to number six from number ten. It also ranks as the second top risk for the long-term future after cyber incidents, with which it is closely interlinked. Vulnerability of automated or even autonomous or self-learning
machines to failure or malicious cyber acts, such as extortion or espionage, will increase in future and could have a significant impact if critical infrastructure, such as IT networks or power supply, is involved.

"Although there may be fewer smaller losses due to automation and monitoring minimising the human error factor, this may be replaced by the potential for large-scale losses, once an incident happens," explains Michael Bruch, Head of Emerging Trends, AGCS. "Businesses also have to prepare for new risks and liabilities as responsibilities shift from human to machine, and therefore to the manufacturer or software supplier. Assignment and coverage of liability will become much more challenging in future."

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