Prediction: Big Data to become common in tort litigation

By Patricia O'Connell on May 14, 2014

Advisen: What do you see as the greatest risks today companies face today?

Mike Wiebe: The greatest risk companies face is cyber risk. Many companies will have an individual risk profile where other risks are greater, but broadly speaking across all industries this is the most common and significant risk.

No matter what companies do to mitigate the risk it will always be a continuing struggle to stay ahead of the curve in terms of managing the human factors and the technology risk. This is because contravening such systems is the nature for a few of the human species.

Since its early days, in the late ‘90s, when I first worked on this risk, technology risk mitigation experts have been philosophical about the vulnerabilities. They generally believe it could be a catastrophic risk to business as well as our economies and society.

Advisen: What are the emerging risk issues?

Mike Wiebe: Of the several emerging issues Big Data is not yet getting the attention it deserves.  This will change and Big Data will become common in business tort litigation. The risk-management issue will evolve to the status of Enterprise Risk Management both as a risk-mitigation tool and increasing risk to business.

Advisen: Is the insurance industry doing enough to adequately address these risks?

Mike Wiebe: The industry will respond to risk financing demand as it always has but it will lag demand as it always has until market adjustments occur. Customers will force industry recognition of the fact that the magnitude and scope of risk financing are growing exponentially and are more interconnected and global than ever.

Advisen: What keeps you awake at night?

Mike Wiebe: That not enough people smarter than me are losing sleep about all this.

Advisen: In your opinion, what is the single most important risk development in the past 12 months?

Mike Wiebe: An important recent risk-management development is that the governor of New York began requiring environmental monitoring and public internet live access to the data for the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project (one of the country’s largest civil engineering projects). This first of its kind requirement will create many millions of points of data — Big Data — recording the performance of the contractors. This will set a precedent for all future construction projects and begin to spill over into other industries.

Mike Wiebe, president of advisory firm Wiebe Associates, has been in the risk management business for 40 years. He started as a fire protection engineer and has had a variety of experiences including risk manager and broker.  His risk management experience included a stint as risk manager at IBM. He is a licensed broker and is a risk management author. For the last 10 years, he has had his own risk management consulting firm.

Patricia O’Connell writes for the Advisen Risk Network. She has more than 15 years of experience writing about a variety of business subjects, including strategy, the C-Suite, and management. She is the former news editor at, where she oversaw coverage for the daily web site.