Alliant Family Enterprise Risk Index

By Linda Bourn, SVP and Family Enterprise Risk Practice Leader, Alliant Private Client

Alliant Private Client launched their Family Enterprise Risk Index, based on a survey of 145 family enterprises across the United States, the majority of which represent multi-generational families. Respondents included those with a primary role as a member of the management team, executive of either an operating company or of a family office and/or a shareholder. Family members and non-family members were part of the sample.

The responses revealed that while executives within family enterprises are ever-vigilant about business-related risks, they pay significantly less attention to family-related risks, such as reputation management, personal threat assessments and emergency preparedness for natural disasters. In short, these findings highlight some very significant risks that family members and enterprises need to address.

When looking at family-level risk a relatively large number of respondents (62%) have definitive plans in place for managing domestic staff, and 48% have a plan for preparing family trustees for their roles. But, only about one-third have a plan for communicating a code of conduct; 35% for conflict management; 38% for natural disaster preparedness; 41% for travel emergency protection, and 32% for family reputation management. Most surprising, only 29% of respondents have a plan in place for personal threats to family members.

Among the family enterprises surveyed, 76% have no systematic or regularly scheduled risk review processes for the family itself, and 41% conduct them only on an ad-hoc basis. In fact, the respondents that do conduct either an annual or ad-hoc review, 63% don’t have a process for educating rising generations about the unique risks associated with being part of a prominent family.

We view these insights as an opportunity to build both awareness in the short term and resiliency for generations to come. We believe these families and enterprises should institute annual conversations about risk management including the rising generation.

In contrast to the findings related to family-level risk, the study found that family enterprises are on top of business-related risks. The majority (86%) of respondents task the highest levels of leadership with risk management, and 76% regularly communicate issues that could significantly impact the enterprise to the board, executive committee or other governing body. They also take cyber risks seriously, with 77% saying their management teams have instituted controls to identify and mitigate potential issues. In fact, 14% of them credit money-movement best practices with having prevented fraud attempts.

To help improve the risk resiliency of family enterprises, family-level risks should be reviewed holistically during annual planning conversations with all family generations.  

This is especially true, as family enterprises are faced with ever-more-diverse and complex risks, including increasing natural disasters, cybercrime, global instability and public health emergencies. The following steps can put family enterprises in a much better position to manage those risks:

  1. Introduce a conversation about risk and risk mitigation at the next family meeting, where you engage the family for their questions and comments.
  2. Assess the family’s risk footprint and profile each year.
  3. Develop an action plan in which the insurance strategy matches the family’s particular risk profile.
  4. Regularly adjust the insurance program to cover the evolving risks attached to growing assets and changing lifestyles.

With those steps and an understanding of where more family-level risk management attention is needed, enterprises will enhance their resilience for generations to come.

Linda Bourn is a Senior Vice President and Family Enterprise Risk Practice Leader at Alliant Private Client, which manages the insurance needs of affluent individuals and families. She applies a holistic approach to address risk management issues facing family-owned firms, including family offices and private family trust companies.

About Alliant Private Client

Alliant Private Client is a division of Alliant Insurance Services, a leading distributor of diversified insurance products and services. Their national strength and reputation for excellence is the product of a highly experienced team with unrivaled insurance expertise. They craft customized insurance programs for affluent individuals and families who require a sophisticated approach to personal risk management. Alliant Private Client’s elevated technical knowledge and market relationships allow them to deliver the best holistic programs for their clients. They have offices located around the country, 200+ professionals licensed in all 50 states and a 24/7 dedicated claims department. Visit us at

About Alliant Insurance Services

Alliant Insurance Services is one of the nation’s leading distributors of diversified insurance products and services. We operate through a network of specialized national platforms and local offices to offer our clients a comprehensive portfolio of solutions built on innovative thinking and personal service. The business of managing risk is getting more complex, and Alliant is meeting this complexity head-on, not with more layers of management, but with more creativity and agility. Alliant is changing the way our clients approach risk management and benefits, so they can capitalize on new opportunities to grow and protect their organizations. Visit us at