The first full day of the 2014 RIMS Annual Conference is in the books, and it was a fantastic start. The opening breakfast session featured the real “Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort as the keynote speaker. Belfort seemed genuinely remorseful for his past misdeeds, but then again, his self-proclaimed greatest skill is the ability to sell and persuade. Consequently, it is difficult to discern how much of his sentiment is genuine remorse and how much is sales/persuasion. Given the popularity of the movie that chronicles his business life and crimes, his audience seemed genuinely curious and engaged by his talk. Belfort attributed some of the 2008 financial meltdown to an over-reliance on models and automated underwriting of mortgage loans at the expense of human underwriting and common sense. This observation was particularly relevant to the insurance underwriters in attendance who see an increasing amount of automated underwriting and wonder how the insurance industry can strike a balance between the efficiency and consistency of automation with the common sense, experience, and discretion of human underwriting professionals.
After attendees perused the exhibit hall for a few hours, the awards luncheon bestowed well earned recognition on several risk management professionals, and brought inspirational leadership speaker Bonnie St. John to the stage. Ms. St. John shared her inspirational story of overcoming adversity through determination, persistence, and always aiming higher. She praised the room full of risk professionals for the work that is done to prevent and mitigate all of the incidents that never become major news stories because they never happen or have minimal impact.
The afternoon offered many educational sessions across a number of topics. One area that continues to build noticeable momentum is the concept of enterprise risk management which significantly broadens the view of risk as compared to traditional risk management. The last RIMS conference that I attended was in 2006, and I do not recall seeing nearly as many sessions and references to enterprise risk management as I have seen this year. Enterprise risk management expands the risk perspective beyond the typically insurable risks related to property and personal injury, and takes into account business risks related to strategy and reputation. It’s a welcome and logical evolution of the risk management profession, and one that Ferris State University stresses to its students.
RIMS 2014 is off and running!