Delegates from Narim told to sell themselves at board level

Risk and insurance managers in the Netherlands need to up their game or their roles and responsibilities could be folded into other departments, such as procurement.

This was the message from Michel Fromme, risk manager for Royal Philips Electronics and Eddie McLaughlin, of Marsh Risk Consulting, at the Narim conference in Noordwijk, Holland.

Delegates from the Dutch risk managers' association (Narim) were urged to sell themselves at a board level and extend their responsibilities into managing strategic risks, such as ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) or mergers and acquisitions. Risk managers that fail to do so and remain siloed in a insurance managing role could be overshadowed, warned Fromme and McLaughlin, who led a workshop entitled “Risk and Insurance Management: Raising the bar”.

Workshop attendees, around a third of whom were risk managers, were asked about the maturity of their risk management programmes. In the live poll most delegates said their programmes were either established (39%) or embedded (29%). Slightly fewer (27%) said their programmes could be characterised as basic compliance.

Attendees were also asked to what extent their risk management initiatives are used to support business decisions. Most said that it did consistently (41%).

Delegates also identified some of the obstacles to raising risk maturity in the Netherlands, including a lack of resources, difficulties in measuring value, the absence of compulsory standards and data, as well as a lack of management support.

Fromme said that risk managers can extend their responsibilities by developing global insurance programmes or taking the lead on resolving claims quickly. Employee benefits programmes are another good area for risk and insurance managers to take responsibility for, he said.

Fromme also gave some tips for how risk managers should look to raise their profile. They should speak the same language as the finance department, he said, to make sure their CFOs are aware of the benefits of insurance. Risk and insurance jargon, however, is not useful, he said.

Risk professionals should also initiate benchmarking activities themselves and reach out and communicate the benefits of risk management with all parts of the business. “Make sure the organisation is aware of the insurance protection that it has in place,” said Fromme.

Elsewhere at the conference, Peter den Dekker, president of Ferma (the Federation of European Risk Management Associations), received Narim's award for the Dutch risk manager of the year.