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RIMS Conference preview

Innovative educational sessions, unique networking opportunities and the latest risk management products and solutions

By Michael J. Moody, MBA, ARM

The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibition is slated to run from Sunday, April 15th through Wednesday, April 18th. This event, which typically attracts more than 10,000 attendees from across all sections of the risk management community, will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this year. While the "City of Brotherly Love" has played host to the RIMS annual conference before, this year, RIMS is celebrating "50 Years of Making Connections."

The tag line for this year's conference is "No Boundaries." This reinforces the fact that most organizations have risks that know no boundaries. In order to successfully manage this vast array of risks, participants at this year's conference will experience "no boundaries" on the information and resources provided. RIMS points out that information shared at the conference should help attendees find ways to "innovatively minimize risks."

Networking opportunities abound

Seeing old friends and making new ones is one of the most beneficial aspects of any RIMS conference. The planned networking activities start pre-conference. Among old favorites are the Spencer Education Foundation events including the Spencer golf outing and the "Spencer Cup" hockey tournament.

Sunday is the RIMS Community Service Day. Despite the fact that this activity is still relatively new, it has many volunteers. This year the volunteer group will be working with "Cradles to Crayons" whose mission is stated as providing disadvantaged children (birth to 12 years in age) with some of the important basics including clothing, school supplies, toys, etc. Volunteers will assist in inspecting books, packing clothing, stuffing backpacks and helping fill orders. Further assistance for "Cradles to Crayons" will continue during the conference, as RIMS will be collecting clothing and school supplies throughout the week. Donations can be made at collection points in various high-traffic locations within the Convention Center.

Sunday's final networking event is the Opening Night Reception. This year's theme is "50 Years of Making Connections." The reception will be held at the Please Touch Museum and will allow conference attendees to explore "a world of whimsy and wonderment," where they can enjoy festive foods, a variety of entertainment and networking with peers.

Throughout the conference, the Exhibit Hall will offer attendees ample opportunity to meet and visit with some of the more than 400 exhibitors that are scheduled to attend the event. Many of these service providers will be introducing new products and/or services to meet the changing role of corporate risk management. For many participants, being able to network with many of the risk and insurance industries' leading experts, whether in the exhibit hall, at sessions or somewhere along the way, is by far one of the most valuable aspects of the event.

Educational sessions

With more than 120 educational sessions offered throughout the conference, attendees—regardless of experience level—are certain to find sessions geared to their needs. The educational opportunities begin with several pre-conference workshops. These sessions include "Contractual Risk Transfer," which provides an in-depth review of the various commercial contracts and insurance policies that can be successfully used to transfer risk. A second pre-conference workshop, "Integrating Enterprise Risk Management and Strategic Planning," will touch on aligning ERM with an organization's strategic goals and objectives. This session is designed to help risk managers take their risk management programs to the next level.

Monday is the first full day of educational sessions. As in the past, RIMS has numbered the sessions so that participants can easily determine the experience level that the session was designed for. RIMS is known for its ability to amass an exceptional group of speakers. Most of the sessions are led by practicing risk managers who are assisted by topic specific experts. Several sessions where attendance should be considered are:

• Business Interruption Rising (INS204)—Recently, there has been a rash of catastrophic losses around the world. While handling the immediate problems always proves challenging, once the dust settles, one of the most difficult tasks remains: determining the business interruption and contingent business interruption losses. New information, as well as a case study based on recent losses, will be presented during this session.

• Are Employment Class Actions Dead After Walmart & AT&T? (EMP201)—The downturn in the economy has resulted in many employment-related claims. However, in light of two recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the landscape for these kinds of claims has changed. This session will provide up-to-the-minute research about the impact of both of these claims and the Supreme Court decisions.

• 10 Easy Steps to Implement ERM (ERM101)—Through the creative use of case studies, the panel will explore the steps to successfully implement an ERM program at any organization. Presenters at this session include a practicing chief risk officer and a university instructor, as well as RIMS' resident ERM guru. This session is designed to provide an overview of how best to move forward with ERM in your company.

In addition, RIMS always keeps some time slots open so that they can adjust their programming for hot topic sessions that may emerge just prior to the conference.

Other conference highlights

RIMS is known for its excellent keynote speakers, and this year will be no different. The conference's General Session on Monday will feature famed Major League Baseball General Manager Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics. Beane is the subject of a bestselling book: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The book was also the subject of a major motion picture—"Moneyball." Beane is credited as one of the most progressive and talented baseball executives in the game today. His observations and insights are certain to be a favorite at this year's conference.

New York Times best-selling author Walter Isaacson will present the keynote address at the conference's Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday. Most recently, he has written the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. Isaacson, who has been president and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine, will provide stories about Jobs, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin (subjects of some of his other books) and their contributions to the world.

A new event at this year's conference will be Tuesday night's networking pub crawl—held in the Exhibit Hall. Attendees will be able to sample some of the finest microbrews while exploring innovative risk management solutions in a casual atmosphere.

RIMS will also be trying a new event on Wednesday evening. The "Battle of the Bands" provides an opportunity to listen to great music and then vote for the best band. With all the great music that has come out of Philadelphia, this should be an entertaining evening.


The RIMS annual conference maintains a special role in the risk management community. It provides a forum for new ideas and viewpoints as risk managers work to move their company's risk programs to the next level. RIMS' commitment to this important area is evidenced by the extensive resources the organization has dedicated to enterprise risk management. ERM is rapidly changing the risk landscape, and for those who wish to participate in this movement, the RIMS conference makes an excellent starting point, as well as a great event at which to keep up to date with all of the risk management advancements. For brokers and agents, RIMS can offer a wealth of resources. The annual conference is an excellent method of fast tracking your ERM knowledge.


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