How to handle the latest risk management topics Featured

7:01pm EDT February 29, 2012
How to handle the latest risk management topics

At the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annual Conference and Exposition, risk professionals including CEOs, CFOs and risk managers come together with brokers, insurers, thought leaders and industry experts to learn about new products and services, share ideas and gather information about the evolution of risk and risk management.

“Our goal is to create an environment for clients of all sizes to learn about our breadth of expertise and unmatched ability to support their businesses,” says Kathleen Delaney, a senior vice president with Aon Risk Solutions. “Often, CEOs are not aware of the different liabilities they carry as an officer for the company and the emerging exposures facing their business as a whole. RIMS presents a wonderful opportunity to share the solutions available to manage these risks and help decision makers sleep at night.”

Smart Business spoke with Delaney and Patrick Lawton, vice president, strategic account manager at Aon Risk Solutions, about why business leaders should consider attending the RIMS conference.

What is RIMS, and who are its members?

RIMS is a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancing the practice of risk management. The majority of its members are risk managers or intermediaries for corporations and other organizations, insurers and other service providers. Financial officers and executives overseeing risk management with corporations and other organizations are also members.

Why is continuing education important in risk management?

Risk management is a combination of art and science, and the tools used to understand, forecast and manage risk are constantly evolving. It is vital for risk professionals to understand this evolution so they are best equipped to competently serve their organizations.

From preparing for insurance renewals to analyzing total cost of risk to managing risk enterprisewide, risk professionals as well as business executives must be diligent about continuing education and professional development. Without knowledge and awareness, businesses become much more vulnerable to the risks they face.

In addition to the RIMS international conference, Aon provides numerous educational opportunities for its clients each year. It produces white papers, develops fact-based benchmarking and industry reports, participates in educational programs at the RIMS local chapter level and hosts client events across the country to share information about current and emerging risk management issues and trends impacting various industry sectors.

What issues will be tackled at RIMS 2012?

The agenda is robust and comprehensive. The biggest and most current issues facing businesses today will be tackled. Because risk management is so specific to each business, the hot issues are different for every risk professional. Eleven of Aon’s thought leaders will participate in panel discussions about acute and emerging risk management issues, including mergers and acquisitions and cyber liability.

Professionals from across the globe will come to the conference and meet with clients and prospects to discuss risk management needs and share insights and ideas.

For more specialized topics than are covered in the panels, attendees can visit Aon’s Clientopia. It is set up in a nearby offsite area but done in conjunction with the conference.

There, you can get very personalized attention to your business needs and set up meetings with insurers to discuss issues and receive a more detailed overview of what a risk manager can bring to the picture for your business.

What kind of business is done at the conference?

The relationship-building and transfer of knowledge that occurs is strategic and lasting. The conference allows business leaders from many industries to discuss their approach with industry-leading risk advisers and brokers, meet with insurance carriers, talk about current issues and prepare for the future. The conference can be an eye opener for those who do not understand their company’s risk profile. They may blindly approach a booth and leave with ideas and tools to support the growth of their organization.

How can someone who is interested get involved with RIMS?

There are great opportunities for professionals of all levels who deal with issues of risk to learn more. There are Risk Management 101-esque sessions at the annual RIMS conference for everyone from general counsel to chief financial officers to get familiar with the issues facing their businesses so they can make intelligent decisions that will have a direct impact on their balance sheets. In addition, several cities have very robust local chapters.

You mentioned local RIMS chapters. What other types of local opportunities are available for education?

RIMS and Aon alike present sessions and forums in cities around the country. The basic issues covered can be valuable, especially for busy executives who may not be able to attend the three-day annual conference.

These programs are designed to speak to the different aspects of risk and target general counsel or CEOs who may not be risk professionals but need to have a grasp of the issues. The programs are especially useful for CFOs of firms that may not have dedicated risk managers and for someone who is wearing many hats in an organization, including risk management.

For information on Aon at RIMS in Philadelphia April 15-18, visit

Kathleen Delaney is a senior vice president with Aon Risk Solutions. Reach her at (212) 441-1662 or Patrick Lawton is vice president, strategic account manager at Aon Risk Solutions. Reach him at