A change at the top and plans to tackle claims handling were on the agenda in Holland

Hans Gorrée has stepped down as chairman of Dutch risk management association NARIM (Nederlandse Associatie van Risk en Insurance Managers). The head of five years has been replaced by Peter den Dekker, corporate insurance risk manager, Stork. The departure officially took place at the association’s annual conference in Ermelo.

Around a hundred risk or insurance managers gathered in the small town south west of Amsterdam to mark the occasion. As well as the restructuring of the board they discussed key issues within the Dutch risk management market.

Claims management topped the agenda. The issue was discussed in workshops where the market grappled with the idea of achieving high quality and speedily resolved claims.

NARIM wants to continue the tradition of special interest groups—which Gorrée set up to benchmark things like claims handling—to discuss key issues in the domestic market; den Dekker also thinks claims handling is one of the important areas. ‘We are all to blame. Clients, insurers, we all need to improve and work better together to get a process in place,’ he said

Outsourcing to loss adjusters was a solution considered by the delegates, but bulk and repetitive claims where seen as obstacles. The insured should speed internal communication to report if the claim is for a covered or disputable event, suggested den Dekker. He said getting that clear early in the process would allow risk managers to report to the board and manage their expectations.

The new chairman aspires to implement market wide procedures to tackle these kinds of questions.

Another of the risk manager’s main responsibilities—whether or not a risk is worth taking and whether it can be transferred or accepted—was also discussed.

Keynote Melvin Redeker invited NARIM to consider the role individuals can play in influencing the decision making of a whole team.

A mountaineering expert, Redeker explained the idea in the context of his attempted ascent of Thalay Sagar, one of the toughest 7000m peaks in the Himalayas. Redeker wanted to abandon the climb in bad weather and his two partners eventually conceded.

The message strung a cord with attendees. The risk manager is part of a team which looks at the risk, said Frits van Blitterswijk, manager risk management and insurance at LyondellBasell, the Dutch chemical engineering group.

‘Very often the risk manager looks at the traditional, transferable and insurable risk. On the other hand there are the people in the treasury, in the operations, and there’s the chief executive who looks at strategic risks.'

‘[Risk managers] just need to make sure they are a part of that team,’ he said.