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Chubb chairman tells Rims deficit is top US risk

Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Chubb Ltd (File photograph)

Chubb Ltd chairman and CEO Evan G. Greenberg discussed the emergence of artificial intelligence, how environmental risks continue to influence decision-making among risk and insurance professionals, and how US-China relations drive the global economy.

He was speaking last week at a wide-ranging fireside chat at Riskworld, the Rims conference, in San Diego, with Aon president Eric Andersen in which he said the top medium-term risk facing the country was what he expected to be a $2 trillion deficit this year.

As reported by Risk Management Magazine, the publication of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Mr Greenberg, said that countries are adopting protectionist views and methods that are driving inflation while hindering economic progress.

He said that the US was one of the countries putting stress on the supply chain by putting up tariffs and blocking some products.

He said that the total US debt was already at $34 trillion and continuing deficits, driven by congressional spending, will eventually exceed military spending as the largest budget item.

He told the publication: “This is unsustainable since other countries are increasingly unlikely to buy that debt.”

He said: “We’re monetising our own debt, so we rely on ourselves to do that. That crowds out money for innovation. That crowds out an ability to grow. This is a topic hiding in plain sight.”

Mr Greenberg said he has had several meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping in recent months, noting that the increased bilateral tensions are a product of each country’s internal risks.

He said there was Western insecurity about China’s size and scale and its governing methods. But he is not optimistic about China’s economy, because of the tight state control.

He said: “Their private sector is fast but there is a lack of support for the private sector in China. It’s discouraged. They are not confident, so they are not innovating. They are not spending as they ought to be and that impacts all their workers, who ultimately are the consumers.”

Mr Greenberg and Mr Andersen discussed climate change, noting the urgency in California, a state that grapples with extreme heat, wildfires and floods.

They underscored the pivotal role of climate change in shaping insurance markets. They emphasised the imperative integration of environmental, social and governance considerations into decision-making processes. Further, Mr Greenberg said that actions are ultimately what drive insurance rates.

He said the cost of climate change is leading to much more volatility, adding: “I think certain jurisdictions are not adopting policies that are sustainable. This is not a short-term thing that will go away.”

Mr Greenberg is chair of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a director of the US-China Business Council and serves on the board of trustees of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the board of trustees of the Asia Society, the board of directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and the advisory board of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing.

• Correction: This article has been changed to list Mr Greenberg as chair (not vice-chair) of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

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Published May 11, 2024 at 1:28 pm (Updated May 12, 2024 at 4:26 pm)

Chubb chairman tells Rims deficit is top US risk

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