Nathan Skinner summarises what is happening in Europe’s risk management associations
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Established in 1974 and based in Brussels, the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) is the umbrella organisation for all the risk management associations in Europe. It represents around 4,000 members at a European level. FERMA is engaged in discussions on Solvency II, the insurance block exemption, financial oversight and collective redress.
This year, the UK’s Association of Insurance and Risk Managers launched several new initiatives. In April, it introduced career development as a new strategic objective and created the AIRMIC Academy. At its conference in June, it then launched a career structure model.
AIRMIC also published data about the type of directors’ and officers’ insurance purchased by risk managers, and investigated the concept of risk appetite.
Claims have been another key focus. At the end of last year AIRMIC reached an agreement to limit the use of ‘reservation of rights’ letters, a notification that the insurer may not accept liability. Seven of the biggest insurers agreed not to issue the device within
90 days of the receipt of a claim. In June AIRMIC also announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement to guarantee that big claims are settled promptly.
The French risk management association, Association pour le Management des Risques et des Assurances de l'Entreprise (AMRAE), is one of the biggest in Europe. In January, AMRAE welcomed around 1,500 delegates to its 17th annual conference in Strasbourg.
Recent moves include the creation of a risk management training arm, the AMRAE Formation. AMRAE’s president and corporate risk officer at Yves Rocher, Gérard Lancner, also announced the creation of a thinktank, the Observatoire des Risques. He called on risk managers to work together. ‘We cannot accept that some threats remain outside the domain of the risk manager,’ he said.
In 2000 the Belgian Risk Management Association (BELRIM) opened its doors to insurers, brokers, consultants and auditors. There are currently about 100 risk managers in the association. It has specific working groups organised around the topics of claims management, insurance, pension schemes and liability matters.
The UN climate change conference is scheduled to take place in Copenhagen in December, and so unsurprisingly the business implications of climate change as well as event risk management were discussed when Dansk Industris Risk Management (DARIM) gathered in June. ‘DARIM works as a network for risk managers only,’ says Charlotte Enggaard, DARIM president and director of risk for Carlsberg Breweries. Other themes included credit insurance, the implications of the financial crisis, AIG’s woes, employee benefits and pensions.
For the last two years, the annual conference of Nederlandse Associatie van Risk en Insurance Managers (NARIM) has been held in a business retreat outside the picturesque village of Ermelo.
This year there were around 200 in attendance, 75 of whom were risk managers. In an interactive session, attendees were asked to give their verdict on current risk issues and the financial crisis. Most agreed that the economic crisis would lead to better risk management.
NARIM working groups tackle liability, construction, and property insurance issues. The association also plans to launch a new group looking into Dutch captives. Its main project at the moment is a special initiative to increase efficiency in claims processing. NARIM also supports training and education, and it contributes to research at Amsterdam University.
The Associação Portuguesa de Gestão de Riscos e Seguros (APOGERIS) is a small but growing group of around 60 Portugese risk managers. Promoting risk management in Portugal was helped when, in October 2005, FERMA held its biannual forum in Lisbon, helping to raise the visibility of the profession, APOGERIS is committed to encouraging this progression.
In May, Spanish risk managers gathered in Madrid for the 20th Congress of the Asociacion Espanola de Gerencia de Riesgos y Seguros (AGERS). Daniel San Millan, vice-president of AGERS and risk manager at Madrid-based construction group
Ferrovial SA said that risk management was moving up the boardroom agenda of Spanish companies. The association also presented an analysis of enterprise risk management and how to make it work.
In April, the Bern-based Swiss Association of Insurance & Risk Managers (SIRM) elected Dieter Berger, head of insurance for energy provider Alpiq, as its new president. Berger succeeded Beat Affolter, director of risk and insurance for Schweizerische Post. The association discussed new regulations in Switzerland concerning risk reporting. In addition, SIRM opposes a proposed rule change in Switzerland that says brokers must be paid only by insurance buyers.
In March the Associazione Nazionale dei Risk Manager e Responsabili Assicurazioni Aziendali (ANRA) elected Paolo Rubini, risk manager of Telecom Italia, as its new chairman. He succeeded Roberto Bosco, corporate risk manager at media company Mediaset, and delivered a new set of strategic objectives. ANRA seeks to promote risk managers in Italy and improve corporate risk ratings. The association also intends to spread the culture of risk and insurance management into small businesses in Italy and the public sector. The next ANRA forum will be held in Milan in November.
The Swedish Risk Management Association, which holds its meetings in Stockholm, has set up four topic-specific networking groups, focused on enterprise risk management, captive management, business continuity management and internal audit. Cyber risks are another area of interest for SWERMA.
‘We try to encourage risk managers to come up with new and innovative ways of tackling the issues that they face,’ says SWERMA’s chairman Charlotte Barnekow, also head of insurance and risk management at Ericsson. Uncertainty surrounding the role and responsibility of risk managers is their biggest challenge, she says.
The Finnish Risk Management Association (FinnRima) received official status in January 2007. It has around 250 members, about 90 of whom are risk managers. In one initiative, FinnRima chairman, and chief risk officer at TeliaSonera Corporation, Lassi Väisänen invited chief executives to present their idea of risk management to FinnRima to ensure that members know what is expected of them.
At the German risk management association Deutscher Versicherungs-Schutzverband e.V (DVS), there is currently a special focus on questions arising from the economic crisis, such as counterparty risk and credit insurance. But the association has battled with a number of other themes.
The first is the EU Block Exemption Regulation, which excludes parts of the insurance market from certain competition rules. ‘DVS was never convinced that a broad range of block exemptions is essential for the insurance industry,’ says Stefan Sigulla, president of DVS.
The association is of the opinion that coinsurance as it is practised in Germany is a very efficient and desirable way to obtain cover for large risks. ‘DVS makes all efforts to ensure that this type of coinsurance will remain available to both customers and insurers,’ Sigulla adds.
DVS is one of the strongest supporters of the creation of a public private partnership to provide coverage for large terrorism risks. ‘Recently it was agreed that the German government would prolong its limited guarantee up to €8bn for the next two years,’ Sigulla says.
Creating more transparency in the broker remuneration system is another key topic for the association.
PolRisk’s current president, Tomasz Miazek, also head of group enterprise risk management and insurance at Telekomunikacja Polska SA, hopes to boost the number of risk and insurance managers in the association to around 200. Over the next 12 months the association also plans to start a risk management education programme. Miazek, who took over the presidency from Rafal Rudnicki last year, seeks to enhance the association’s lobbying role and take part in more international risk management events.
RusRisk develops enterprise risk management in Russia in order to smooth the process by which the country integrates itself with the rest of the world economy. One of its biggest projects is popularising the international risk management standard. To that end, the association participates in a number of events and workshops, including activities in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
The president of RusRisk, Victor Vereshagin, welcomed risk management professionals from across Europe to the association’s annual conference in Moscow last May. ‘The association is also in discussions with FinnRima about holding joint seminars,’ says Nadia Nosova, vice-president of RusRisk, and director of risk management and insurance for Russian cable producer Uncomtech.
Only last year the Association of Insurance and Risk Management Experts of the Czech Republic (ASPAR CZ) had its membership to FERMA accepted. Its head, Jana Bicanova, says: ‘In 2009 we have concentrated on D&O insurance, business continuity planning, the stability of the insurance markets and environmental liability.’ At this year’s FERMA forum, ASPAR will host a workshop on building and implementing a risk culture, and another, together with RusRisk, on sustainable development.
The Norwegian Risk Management Association (NORIMA) is the new kid on the block. It is yet to become an official member of FERMA. In March, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London hosted the association’s first official gathering. The head of the group, Jan Granas, who is an underwriter with Landbruksforsikring, a Norwegian insurer, and formerly a risk manager with Siemens, says he hopes to work closely with other European associations to raise the profile of risk management in his country. He is in discussions about forming a Scandinavian-wide risk network.
The Bulgarian Risk Management Society (BRIMA), based in Sofia, was accepted into FERMA in 2006. Its members consist of risk and insurance managers, internal auditors and consultants. One of the association’s first achievements was translating the international risk management standard into Bulgarian.