RIMS Offers Professional Growth Model

BY CAROLINE MCDONALD

The “Professional Growth Model”—designed to help risk managers examine their business practices and achieve excellence in all stages of their careers—is “close to my heart,” according to Risk and Insurance Management Society President Janice Ochenkowski. The model—which came out of advancements to the RIMS Quality Improvement Process—will be released and distributed at the RIMS annual conference in San Diego next week, available at the group’s exhibit booth, she noted.  “I’m excited about that, as I think there are so many potential uses and applications for the tool,” said Ms. Ochenkowski, who is also managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. “Where in the past the QIP examined buyer-broker and buyer-insurer relationships, this year the Quality Improvement Forum elected to focus on risk managers and help them make the most of their careers,” she said. “The only place left was to look inward at ourselves to see what we could do.”  The third QIP Forum received input from 30 participants, she said, including ACORD (for data standards); a risk management recruiter; major insurers such as ACE, AIG, FM Global, Liberty Mutual, Travelers and Zurich; and big brokers such as A.J. Gallagher, Aon, Integro and Marsh. The Forum discussed the role of the risk manager at various points in their career, she explained, focusing on the challenges and opportunities at each stage. They designed a matrix to help risk managers take advantage of opportunities for growth at different career levels, Ms. Ochenkowski noted.  She said key points for risk managers included knowing their industry and thoroughly understanding their firm’s operations. “They need to associate much more closely with the business of their business than on the insurance industry,” she explained. Ms. Ochenkowski added that it also is critical for risk managers to know how and when to engage the corporate officers’ suite in risk management issues, including “how to get the attention of the CEO before a crisis occurs, and how to position themselves to be a key advisor to top-level management within their organization.”  Along those lines, one related highlight at the RIMS conference cited by Ms. Ochenkowski is the April 29 keynote speech by Lauralee Martin, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. “On a personal note, I’m very interested in what our own CFO has to say,” she said, noting that Ms. Martin will discuss risk management from the C-suite perspective. “She’s a great speaker and has a real commitment to risk management.”  Ms. Ochenkowski noted that many past keynote speakers have come from within the insurance industry, “but [enterprise risk management] is moving us all in a direction that includes insurance but doesn’t focus exclusively in insurance. RIMS 2008 is focusing on that.” Looking externally, one important front for RIMS going forward is legislation, including making the association and individual risk managers more influential in public policymaking that impacts their work.  One key legislative issue is a bill in Congress to set federal standards for regulation of surplus lines and reinsurance, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. “We’re hoping that will go forward,” said Ms. Ochenkowski.