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RIMS eyes the future through an ERM lens

Webinars will supplement convention offerings

By Michael J. Moody, MBA, ARM

This year’s Risk and Insurance Management Society’s (RIMS) Annual Conference marked a significant change from its predecessors. When RIMS President Joseph Restoule, CIP, CRM, called the conference to order, it was all his show. Unlike prior years, when the incoming president was introduced at the April annual meeting, Restoule took over as president on January 1, 2009. He noted that this is better since he was able to “take ownership of the conference.” Restoule thinks that in the long run, this should help incoming presidents to better utilize the conference to advance their agendas.

Restoule comes to the position of president after significant involvement in RIMS over the past 18 years. He is currently the leader of risk manage­ment at NOVA Chemicals Corp. in Alberta, Canada. He has been on the RIMS board since 2001 and, among other things, was previously the vice president and secretary. Prior to that, he was the chair of RIMS Canada Council, as well as serving on the International, Member and Chapter Services Committees as well as the Strategic Planning Task Force.

Increasing emphasis on ERM

Without question, much of the risk management community is moving towards the holistic approach of risk management known as enterprise risk management (ERM)—and RIMS is no different. In fact, over the last few years, RIMS and its members have been on the fast track to ERM adoption. Restoule points out that, “We are now full throttle on this.” He is quick to add that RIMS has committed to being a thought leader regarding ERM, as well as to help their members move forward with the concept. The past several years have witnessed a turning point regarding ERM. Restoule says that one of the major turning points for RIMS was the introduction of its publication titled ERM for Dummies.

“RIMS received so many compliments on this publication. This gave us confidence to move ahead with the Risk Management Maturity Model, which has proven to be a great member resource.”

Restoule points out that the majority of RIMS members are very accepting of ERM. Without question, he says, “more and more members are embracing it.” And he says there are several reasons for this interest. First and foremost, “It is getting a lot of attention at the ‘C-suites’ and at the Board level.” As a result, it is also getting the risk manager’s attention as well. Further, he points out, “The rating agencies are now pressing for details about ERM programs.” Frequently, he points out, they want to know, “How you are testing your program,” and, “What are the results of the testing?” “[Today,] as senior management is getting ready for their rating meetings, they need to know the specific details of their company’s ERM program.”

Additionally, Restoule points out, RIMS has made a major commitment to ERM education. This year’s conference, for example, featured 16 specific sessions with its own separate ERM educational track. In addition, RIMS is also putting on a number of two-day ERM training sessions throughout the country. And Restoule says that they will be putting on several ERM webinars, which have been well received by the membership. “These new guys are so tech savvy,” says Restoule. “They love these online learning opportunities.” And with the current budget constraints many organizations are experiencing, he notes, “the online programs can really help.”

Other agenda Items

RIMS has a number of other agenda items in the works for 2009. Over the past three years, quality has been a major topic for RIMS, and Restoule indicates that 2009 will also have a quality component. In fact, while the three prior years have had a specific quality focus (insurance company, broker or risk manager) he says, “This year will focus on all three of these components.” He points out that it is important for us to “close the loop on this matter.” And providing information on how it all fits together will be the theme of the “RIMS Quality Forum” this year.

Another major initiative for RIMS in 2009 is developing and implemen­ting an international strategy. Restoule says work on this program began in 2008 because many RIMS members work for companies that are now operating in a global environment. International business is no longer the exclusive domain of the Fortune 500 companies. Many RIMS members have sizable international exposures and, as a result, Restoule points out, “Our members need to understand risk management practices and procedures in other countries and parts of the world.” RIMS is currently involved in “information gathering”—surveying its members to determine if “there are specific areas where we can help our membership.”

Restoule also says that RIMS will also be continuing its student involvement programs. He says that it is vitally important to make certain that new people are coming into our industry. “We are concerned about working with the next generation of risk managers.” One of the programs that was started last year is the “professional growth model,” and he says RIMS will continue to emphasize this important matter.

Additionally, because attendance at this year’s conference was down—about 26% according to RIMS—Restoule says they made a special arrangement for those who could not attend the event. “We have to take care of those members who were unable to attend because of the economy.” He notes that RIMS used its Web site to keep members up to speed. “We used blogs, online additions of the RIMS’ Show Daily to stay in contact with our members,” and he said, “We even used Twitter to stay in contact with the membership.” The Society will also soon have audio and video of all sessions available to members online.



“As senior management is getting ready for their rating meetings, they need to know the specific details of their company’s ERM program.”

—Joseph Restoule, CIP, CRM














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