In the run-up to the October Forum of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA), StrategicRISK looks at what lies on the horizon

With the help of FERMA, the risk management message is spreading.

One of the most exciting developments for the association is the likely addition of a new member. FERMA is supporting risk managers in Turkey in developing a national association that could be launched as early as October 2005 - perhaps in time for the Forum.

Turkish companies are showing increasing interest in risk management.

Indeed, the winner of the 2005 StrategicRISK European risk management award for the best enterprise-wide risk management programme of the year was Tamer Saka, chief risk officer, Haci Omer Sabanci Holding. Sabanci Holding is the parent company of the Sabanci group, one of Turkey's leading financial and industrial conglomerates.

As part of FERMA's continuing efforts to encourage the spread of risk management, executive manager Florence Bindelle spoke in June in Istanbul to an audience of 100 Turkish insurers, brokers, regulators and risk managers about the evolution of risk management in Europe, business expectations and best practice in risk management.

This was part of a programme organised by the European Commission and was the second time that the Commission has called on expertise from FERMA in its technical assistance exchange instrument (TAIEX) programme for the expanding community. Previously, Edouard Thys acted as FERMA's representative at a similar seminar in May in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he presented FERMA's activities and outlined the risk management process in industrial and commercial firms among its members in Europe.

The aim of these seminars is to help new and potentially new EU members understand current insurance directives and the standards of risk management increasingly in demand by trading partners in the Community. FERMA's involvement reflects the widening regard for the association as a source of knowledge about risk management and a means of communication with European risk managers.

European organisations increasingly see FERMA as a valuable means of communicating with the top level of European risk management. For example, in May, Pierre Sonigo, FERMA secretary general of FERMA, took part in the first ever European forum for insurance intermediaries organised by BIPAR, the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries.

FERMA president Thierry van Santen explains: "FERMA's visibility has increased. We have developed contacts with the European Commission and other European associations. We are also in touch with other risk management associations, who are considering membership applications. This shows clearly that risk management is becoming truly international, and that FERMA is the place to be for professional risk managers."

New leaders

Marie-Gemma Dequae, president of the Belgian risk management association BELRIM from June 1994 until June 2005, will take over from Thierry van Santen as FERMA president at the October Forum. Lars Henrik Andersen, president of the Danish risk management association DARIM, will become vice-president.

Dequae says that succeeding van Santen after his four years of presidency will not be easy. "He presided over the increase in FERMA members and contacted the new European countries and Russia, and he was successful in increasing contacts with the European Commission, the CEA and other European associations.

"It remains important to further explore and build this European platform, so one of my goals is to further extend risk management and communication into other countries, together with building partnerships with the European authorities. Most of all, I will listen to what the local associations expect from FERMA."

Van Santen comments, "I think that we must be proud of FERMA and proud of what has been accomplished, thanks to the support and dedication from the number of volunteers who have dedicated time and effort to promoting risk management and FERMA."

Broker debate

Among the key events at next month's forum will be a broker panel debate.

Participants include Gregory Case, who this spring took over from the legendary Pat Ryan as CEO of Aon, as well as senior brokers from Marsh, Willis and EOS RISQ.

The debate is called Brokerage in the storm, turning a nightmare into an opportunity. It asks brokers to reflect how they can turn the upheaval resulting from Eliot Spitzer's investigations into an opportunity to redefine a business model which had probably needed revisiting for some time.


MARIE-GEMMA DEQUAE: Having earned a PhD in applied economics, Dequae taught economics and finance for some years at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. In 1985 she joined Bekaert, a worldwide market and technological leader in advanced metal transformation and advanced materials and coatings, to build the risk management and insurance department. Since 1990, she has been the corporate risk manager for Bekaert worldwide. She continues to lecture on risk management.

LARS HENRIK ANDERSEN: Andersen has been president of the Danish risk management association DARIM since 2000. DARIM now has 65 members from different Danish industrial companies, and it is looking eastwards to promote risk management in the Baltic countries. Andersen has also been keen to promote risk management in Denmark to smaller and medium sized companies. Andersen worked in the Danish insurance industry for 11 years before he became a risk manager. He was risk manager for the Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos for six years before joining the biggest Danish telecommunication provider, TDC, in June 2003. At TDC, he is responsible for a risk management department of five people and is managing director of TDC Reinsurance, the captive entity of TDC. Andersen has been a committee and board member of FERMA since 2000.