November 1, 2012
At the recent Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Canada Conference in Saskatoon, the third annual gathering of risk managers I have been too now, I was struck by how much the content has begun to shift since the first one I attended in Edmonton only two years ago. Edmonton was where I first heard the term strategic risk management (SRM), but the program that year hewed closely to traditional operational and insurance topics such as effective claims management, working with TPAs, and sessions that explained specialized insurance products.
This year’s program, however, while still addressing many of these important core subjects, was notable for the inclusion of sessions on areas such as SRM and its role in the long-term success of the organization, forging working relationships with internal audit and the board of directors, understanding risk appetite and other topics that fall far outside of discussions about the purchase of insurance products. One of the most notable presenters this year was Hans Læssøe, senior director of strategic risk management with the Lego Group. In a session I attended where the engaging Dane was speaking, I don’t think he used the word insurance once.
These educational themes underline the changing role of the risk manager within the organization. More and more, there is pressure on them to participate in strategic planning and goal setting to demonstrate value beyond managing daily operations and controlling unwanted costs.
The evolution of the discipline of risk management has important implications for brokers as well. There will always be a need for insurance products and a trusted advisor to provide them. But how that trust is built is bound to change.
A comment I have occasionally heard from brokers is that they are often disappointed that their role as a corporate service provider is not accorded the same level of respect or importance as a lawyer or an accountant or other credentialed consultant. The wise among these Rodney Dangerfields will recognize the opportunity to get more respect among clients by figuring out how to meet the needs of risk managers and finance executives who find their roles expanding in unpredictable directions.
Brokers are uniquely positioned to bring tailored consulting products and services to the table—such as planning tools and workshop facilitation—that many corporate officers have no idea where to find. In short, brokers will have to look outside the insurance transaction to get more respect as risk “professionals.”
Copyright 2012 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the September 2012 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.