FERMA president Dirk Wegener looks back on 20 years in risk, as StrategicRISK gets ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary

StrategicRISK was an inspired choice for a new magazine for risk managers back in 2000. There was no shortage of publications about insurance and reinsurance then, and they covered risk management to a degree. But the coverage was strongly insurance oriented, just as the work of the great majority of risk managers had been, but that was changing.

StrategicRISK recognised that a revolution in corporate governance had gained momentum in 1990s. It was putting a greater emphasis on the management of enterprise risks, not just the ones that could be transferred to the insurance market and the prevention of losses.

Within months of the launch of StrategicRISK, risk management was thrown into the spotlight. Insurance cover for terrorism almost disappeared in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. While everyone was dealing with the shock of those events, businesses were exposed to risks of a size that they had never considered. Risk managers had to find ways of supporting their companies, and in several countries, they helped in the creation of public-private terrorism insurance schemes.

Then, the following year, some spectacular corporate bankruptcies had governments and securities regulators cracking down on high-risk corporate behaviour, most notably through the launch of the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Since then, we have seen an ever closer interest in the way organisations approach risk. Today in Europe, that extends to non-financial risks that could damage the sustainability of enterprises and their contribution to the community.

The Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) has reflected this evolution of risk management. Launched in 1974, the European Association of Industrial Assureds had six national members. It was organised to speak for buyers of industrial insurance with the European Commission. We became FERMA in 1995, and today we have 22 members from 21 European countries.

The theme of the first FERMA risk management forum, held in Berlin in 1999, was corporate governance, and in 2001, FERMA issued a green paper on corporate social responsibility. By 2010, FERMA was commenting on the risk management proposals in the European 8th Company Law Directive.

Today, we continue to represent our members’ views on insurance subjects, like Solvency II and captive regulation, in Europe. We also speak on wider issues including cyber risks, public-private partnerships for systemic risks, artificial intelligence and risk management, and sustainability. We have created European professional certification for risk managers, Rimap.

FERMA is part of the continuing development of risk management, which is so evident in the pages of StrategicRISK. In our current environment of uncertainty, as the pandemic continues and digitalisation accelerates, we value the work of publications like StrategicRISK in extending our knowledge and sharing the views of risk experts.

StrategicRISK also increases awareness of the views of the risk management community. For 20 years, StrategicRISK has supported the growth of professional risk management in Europe and around the world. We wish it even more success in the future.