Judging of the StrategicRISK 2004 European Risk Management Awards takes place in early March Suzanne Hirst writes.

On 13 May, at a presentation dinner in London, the winners of the StrategicRISK 2004 European Risk Management Awards will be announced.

The volume of excellent entries received makes judging a difficult task but our panel of experts is well qualified to meet the challenge.

Entries in the section one categories - awards reflecting those individuals, teams and organisations that have demonstrated superlative risk management skills in the last year - will be assessed by a team of judges on 3 March.

Chairing the panel will be RALF OELSSNER, vice president of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA). Oelssner began his professional career as a commercial trainee for Lufthansa in 1963, working part-time while he gained his MA in Economics at Cologne University. He then helped the company to develop an executive reporting system and became assistant to general manager cargo and manager EDP procedures cargo.

In 1979 Oelssner was appointed director of corporate insurance, becoming managing director of Lufthansa's in-house broker 11 years later. In 2000 he joined the executive board of the captive of insurance and reinsurance companies.

Oelssner was chairman of IATA Insurance SC from 1982 to 1983 and is still chairman and president of Airline Mutual Insurance Bermuda. He is also a member of many advisory and supervisory boards of German insurance companies, president of the German risk managers association BFV, and chairman of the risk and insurance managers panel of IATA.

The other judges for this category of awards include the following.

LANI BANNACH, managing director of ScanConsult International Ltd, a specialist management consulting and investor relations firm. Bannach has more than 23 years of a significant track record in risk and insurance, gained from holding a number of senior management positions in large, global companies in the financial services industry. Her experience includes the post of managing director and head of global liability risk and group insurance management in UBS where she spearheaded key aspects of the development operational risk control as well as European Bankrisk Practice Manager with then Sedgwick, now Marsh.

Bannach also has a strong academic foundation with a Masters degree in law from Copenhagen University combined with a degree in accounting and an MBA. She chairs a number of organisations, including Danish MBA Network and holds a number of non-executive directorships. She is a Goodwill Ambassador of Copenhagen.

DAVID GAMBLE took over the role of executive director of the UK Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC) in May 1998, having gained wide business experience working at senior management levels in the UK and Japan. He has been a director of two subsidiaries of the Fairway Group and worked in Japan as president of English China Clays International and general manager of Spirax-Sarco. He has also been general manager in the UK of the south east region of Barlow Handling and director and general manager of IBR Electronics.

HANS GORREE, corporate risk & insurance manager of VolkerWessels since 1991, has been a board member of NARIM, the Netherlands risk managers association, since 2000, and has been NARIM president since 2002. He has also been a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute since 1997, a member of the Institute of Risk Managers since 2003 and a board member of FERMA since 2002. He was a member of FERMA's organisation committee for its forum in Rome last year.

RAGNAR LoFSTEDT is professor of risk management and the director of King's Centre of Risk Management, King's College, London, where he teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management. Previously he was a reader in social geography at the University of Surrey. He is also an adjunct professor at the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, and he is adjunct professor at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting professor at the Centre for Public Sector Research, Gothenbury University.

Lofstedt studied for his BA and MA degrees at University of California, Los Angeles, and Clark University respectively before completing his PhD in geography at Clark University. After a post- doctorate position at the Risk, Society and Policy Group at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, he joined the University of Surrey as a lecturer in social geography. He has conducted research in risk communication and management in such areas as renewable energy policy, transboundary environmental issues, telecommunications, bio safety and the siting of building of incinerators, nuclear waste installations and railways.

Lofstedt is the author/editor of eight books and over 30 peer reviewed articles, is the editor-in-chief for Journal of Risk Research, editor of the Earthscan publications' Risk, Society and Policy book series, and is on the editorial boards of Risk Analysis and Risk Management.

JEAN-PAUL LOUISOT is a risk and insurance consultant and professor of risk management at Universite Paris 1 - Pantheon Sorbonne. He is also chair of the Comprehensive Applied Risk Management (CARM) Institute Education Committee.

Louisot is a civil engineer (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne, 1965). He has also qualified as Master in Economics (Lyon 1968), Master in Business Administration (Kellog School of Management, 1972) and Associate in Risk Management (IIA, 1986).

For more than 25 years, Louisot has provided assistance to private and public entities, helping them manage their risks and coach their risk managers. His experience includes all sides of the 'insurance triangle' as he has worked as a broker, an underwriter and a risk-manager. Since 1993, he has devoted most of his time to teaching both post graduate students and risk management professionals, while still acting as a part-time risk manager for a selected group of clients. Louisot is a frequent speaker at professional conference such as ARIMA in Australia and PRIMA in the USA.

Currently Louisot is academic director for the CARM Institute, preparing students for the professional designations ARM (Associate Risk Management) and EFARM (European Fellow in Applied Risk Management) in French speaking countries. He also teaches ARM seminars in English at the Insurance Institute of Switzerland and at the ARIMI (Singapore). He was recently made a research fellow of Peking University.

In addition, Louisot is a professor at Paris 1 Universite (Pantheon Sorbonne) where he teaches a postgraduate major in risk management (DESS Gestion des Risques et des Crises - Cindyniques). He also teaches in several institutions at post graduate levels such as DESS or Masters. More specifically, he lectures at the DESS for Financial Institutions (Universite de Toulouse).

He introduces risk management to the Master in Finance (ESM Tours) and in some engineering schools (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne, ENSI in Bourges and at the ISTG in Grenoble).

As well as translating and adapting the ARM courses in French, Louisot has published a number of articles and studies on risk management, including contributing studies to the 'Guide le la Securite' (AFNOR - 2003). He is currently completing a book on exposure diagnostic which AFNOR will publish this year.

GuNTER SCHLICHT became an associate in Cologne law firm Boden, Oppenhoff & Schneider (now Linklaters) in 1973, following completion of his second state law examination. In 1979 he joined the legal department of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), taking on responsibility for industrial insurance from 1983. Since 1987, Schlicht has been with the German risk and insurance managers association DVS Deutscher Versicherungs-Schutzverband, Bonn, becoming a board member and managing director in 1993. He is also a member of the BaFin advisory board for insurance

THIERRY VAN SANTEN, president of FERMA and director of risk management, Groupe Danone, France, will not be able to attend the judging panel in March but hopes to make a 'virtual' contribution, submitting his comments and votes electronically. Van Santen has been corporate risk manager of Groupe Danone, the third largest European food manufacturer, since 1993.

After a legal degree, he started his career as an account executive for major multinational accounts with Factory Mutual International, now FM Global, in Paris, before moving in 1988 to VALEO, one of the largest manufacturers of components for the automobile industry. Van Santen was also chairman of the French risk managers association (AMRAE) between 1992 and 1998.

Risk managers decide

The panel of judges for the awards in the section two categories - risk service provider of the year and risk management product of the year - will be composed of risk managers from the European associations. And all risk managers have the opportunity to vote for the organisations that they consider to be European business insurer of the year and European commercial broker of the year. Voting is organised by an external research agency that will professionally analyse the results in order to ensure that they are fully representative.

As StrategicRISK goes to press, the number of entries continues to grow - demonstrating the wide range of skills and innovative approaches that the risk management profession has to offer. The award presentation on 13 May promises to be a truly exciting as well as entertaining event.