Everyone should have a “Plan B”

As the tragedy that is the mis-management of the Greek economy and the burgeoning EU “protectorate” continues (in spite of the supposed recent “agreement” and disbursements of cash in what amounts to a bureaucratic version of “3-card monte”), one comes across behaviour that makes one wonder whether one is observing a socio-economic collapse, or a somewhat surreal Greek soap opera.

Much publicity surrounded the revelation that Greece’s former Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, was working, at the request of the Greek Prime Minister, on a so-called “Plan B” to address, inter alia, how Greece’s payments and taxation systems could continue to work in the event that the country’s banking industry shut down and Greece was ejected from, or no longer had access to either the Euro, or the ECB’s Eurosystem. Accusations of schemes to “hack” the computers of the independent revenue service and copy both code and taxpayer information have been levelled. As Mr. Varoufakis explained, the aim of one part of the project was to build a system for enabling the offset of debits and credits between the state and a taxpayer; as the government suffers from under-collection of taxes and consequently owes billions of Euros to domestic creditors, which exacerbates illiquidity. This seems to us to be a rational project from a public policy viewpoint, even if the supposed methodology was somewhat unorthodox.

However, in all the temporary furore and political posturing, it seems to us that a couple of points have been over-looked:

  • Firstly, it would have been rather odd if there had been no preparation for a “Plan B”; and
  • Secondly, that the existing level of oversight of the Greek government by the dreaded Troika (IMF, ECB and EC) is remarkable- and clearly considered highly offensive by many within the Greek government and bureaucracy, leading, not surprisingly, to attempts to find ways to circumvent controls.

In essence, whether one agrees with the approach taken or not, democratically-elected ministers were considering scenarios that were clearly foreseeable and within their areas of competence; and taking steps to deal with issues that would have to be addressed should the “Grexit” scenario occur. To be taken to task for this seems more than hypocritical; it seems naïve.

At Awbury, we take very seriously the need to identify and understand all the possible scenarios faced by our business model and portfolio of risks, as well as the factors that determine success or failure; and to plan accordingly. Therefore, to us, having a “Plan B” is not an idle term, but fundamental to our approach to managing and building our business; and to protecting our clients and partners, proactively, not retro-actively. Frankly, in the rapidly changing (re)insurance markets, assuming that one’s “Plan A” is the optimal and only approach feasible is likely to be a recipe for obsolescence, if not extinction.

Not an outcome that we have any intention of enabling or accepting. What’s your “Plan B”?

 

– The Awbury Team

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