European Corporates face fast moving, complex, and interrelated risks

Associations, Conferences, Seminars, Forums, Insurance and Reinsurance — By on October 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM
Julia Graham

Julia Graham

Thursday 23 October 2014 – During this week’s gathering of European risk managers in Brussels, FERMA President Julia Graham explained what’s new in the work of risk and risk management for European corporates. (source: Lloyd’s of London)

The FERMA Risk Management Seminar 2014 marks the Association’s 40th anniversary year. What has changed in that time?
Fast moving, complex, intangible and interrelated is our new risk world. Where the risk manager was often left to receive and communicate decisions made by other senior managers in the past, today they are more often charged with obtaining the commitment, enthusiasm and buy-in of the people who run the organisation and who are the risk owners. Risk management is now considered as an added value, on all levels, to help the organisation reach its objectives.

What do you see as the big challenge for the future?
In many processes risk management is an integrated part of doing business. The challenge will be to keep the mission of integrating and embedding risk management as part of ‘the way we do things here’.

Why the event theme of living and working in a riskier world?
This theme highlights the way that the risk landscape is changing. We live and work in a fast-moving, complex and interconnected world and the type of risks today that can typically kill an organisation are more to do with behaviour and governance of organisations and macro issues, such as social, political, health, environmental and wealth disparity. These are all hard to grasp and influence.

What do you see as the big issues for risk managers?
At the conference I will be talking about professionalism, innovation and diversity. If risk managers are to support top management in this riskier world, then they will have to raise their professional game. They will also need more innovative tools, techniques and solutions to help them to do so.

Why is diversity important?
FERMA’s just released European risk managers benchmarking survey indicates some organisations are wasteful in the way they fail to develop and deploy a diverse workforce. What other asset would organisations not use to its full potential?

What are the big risk trends identified by the newly released Risk Management Benchmarking Survey 2014?
The top risks are less tangible and typically harder to control using conventional means including risk financing and insurance. There may be a need for organisations to put greater emphasis on responding to some of these risks rather than spending time and angst in trying to control them.

How does insurance help with the top risks identified in the survey?
Managing insurable risk and managing claims are becoming more complex, and the insurance sector continues to play a vital role in developing and offering innovative solutions to help organisations manage risk.

Are there opportunities for Lloyd’s to better serve the needs of European companies?
There is a growing gap between the demand by risk managers for innovative risk management and insurance solutions and the ability of insurance companies, brokers and risk management services suppliers to fulfil this need. This is an opportunity for Lloyd’s to build on its fabulous history, record of achievement and reputation for stability with innovation in supporting the risk manager.

What can be done to get risk effectively communicated to and from the board?
Effective communication and engagement with the board about risk remains a goal of every risk manager. This is why FERMA has taken the decision to produce the first European Risk and Insurance Report, an innovative approach to publishing the survey findings in a way that is concise, clear and ideal for boardroom briefings.

Is FERMA looking to help risk managers raise their profile within their organisations?
It is clear that risk management needs to raise the profile of professionalism – and to be recognised as a profession – not part of an ‘industry’ or ‘discipline’. This is a global issue, which is why we invited other risk and insurance associations from outside of Europe or with a stakeholder interest in the risk management profession to attend and meet with FERMA at the Seminar.

How are FERMA’s plans to create a risk manager certification framework developing?
Professional certification for risk managers remains one of the top strategic actions for FERMA. We have a steering group and road map, and with our associations, our objective is to introduce the FERMA Professional Certification Programme in 2015.

Are insurers helping risk managers grow professionally?
Risk Management education is one of FERMA’s main concerns and this is why FERMA supports the successful Lloyd’s Young Professionals Programme designed for risk managers with 3 – 5 years’ experience. It is also why FERMA has a focus on gender diversity, which is one of my personal objectives for my term in office and a subject that will be considered at the Seminar in a number of the event sessions.

Julia Graham is President of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations and Director of Risk Management and Insurance at DLA Piper. The FERMA Seminar 2014: Living and Working in a Riskier World was held in Brussels 20-21st October.

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