Category Archives: RIMS

RIMS 2019 Reflections by Hannah


Ferris State Risk Management and Insurance major Hannah McGlocklin takes her turn sharing impressions of the 2019 RIMS conference in Boston:

I had the opportunity to go to the RIMS conference this year in Boston, Massachusetts and I had an amazing time. Since being back, it has been kind of crazy trying to absorb everything that I have learned and experienced this past week. I met so many different people from many different places and got a wonderful perspective on just how large the insurance industry truly is. The marketplace, which was full of vendors and companies, was a fantastic place to network and learn about what people do and how they impact the risk management and insurance industry. Along with the marketplace, I really enjoyed the educational sessions we were able to attend. I learned about a variation of topics from real estate to marijuana and sex trafficking and how all these subjects affect the insurance industry. Getting to know the other students that also attended as well as Dr. Brown was a positive as well. Networking is one of the best things about these types of conferences, and most of the time, the people in our closest professional circle can be just as important. There were many socials at the RIMS conference that allowed us to talk with many people that are a part of the industry. Not only were they held in the convention center but they were also different places in Boston. Even if the socializing and the educational sessions aren’t your thing, I would still highly recommend the experience of RIMS. Attending this trip was amazing, and even though you have to put money toward the cost, the return on your investment is worthwhile. In addition to the conference, having a chance to explore another city and area was awesome too. I tried new food, met new people, and took advantage of a lot of new opportunities, and for the price that I paid, it was an easy exchange. If the money to go on the trip is something that is holding you back, I would highly suggest you figure out how to make it happen, save over the summer, put a little bit away each month, or get a part time job while attending classes. The trip overall was an awesome experience and I look forward to RIMS Conferences in the future!

Hannah McGlocklin, Risk Management and Insurance Freshman

RIMS 2019 Reflections by Ashley


Ferris State Actuarial Science student Ashley Sowinski attended the RIMS conference in Boston last week, and she has shared the following reflection on her experience:

The lure of the RIMS 2019 conference began for me with the city of Boston. Actuarial Science is my major, so I figured this event would be mildly applicable at most. I didn’t have an idea of what type of career I wanted to develop. I did feel pigeonholed through my degree; I tried diversifying myself with a certificate and a minor, but I wanted to see what options I could have.

The trip to Boston started out strong, adventuring for a day downtown, but the true adventure began Sunday at the RIMS social. We went to a Dave and Busters-esque entertainment center that had a bowling alley on the top floor. I went to this alone because there were two socials: one for 21+ and the other was for those under 21. It was incredibly intimidating to attend this alone because this was my first experience in the professional world. I met so many faces. Faces I made social connections with, so the following day in the Marketplace, I could go find someone like Ian from Vermont and follow up with my business card (that I hadn’t had at the social.) Plus, there is so much free stuff, it’s practically a college student’s heaven. I came home with aluminum water bottles, pens, phone chargers, stress balls, multiple t-shirts, even an umbrella! There were raffles, and some companies were giving out gift cards too.

As far as intangibles are related, I can confidently say I gained so much more than physical trinkets. I highly recommend this event because of everything I learned; there were many applications of the field that I would never have imagined. I had no idea what opportunities could be opened to me, but after just meeting a few companies and socializing, I was invited to another conference and asked to apply for a job. This was so exhilarating because I never thought I would be someone to be sought out like that. The networking there is real, and there is no way to gauge the opportunities you could reveal in attending this conference. RIMS had such a diversity of both people and companies, it is difficult to explain. The environment speaks for itself, and I hope I have the option to attend this conference through my career in the future.

Ashley Sowinski, Actuarial Science Senior

RIMS 2017 – Here we come

Bright and early Sunday morning, I depart with four Ferris State RMI students to attend the 2017 RIMS Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I confess that at this stage of my career – having endured 30 years of planes, trains, and automobiles – business travel has little appeal to me.  Yet, I am enthused to accompany four students to this very large and impressive industry event.

It’s difficult to convey the vast scope of the RMI industry within a classroom.   Some things just have to be experienced and witnessed firsthand.  The immensity of the RIMS conference, with its thousands of attendees and vast array of exhibitors that includes many household names of the insurance industry, certainly drives home the point with students.  The educational sessions show the students that there is much more for them to learn and a cornucopia of career opportunities awaiting them.

My first RIMS conference was 26 years ago, and I still learn something new every year.  I am truly excited for the opportunities awaiting my four students.  I know that they will meet new and interesting professionals at the conference events, learn of concepts that will spark their interest, generate new ideas for their careers and personal ambitions, and yes, have some fun.

It’s going to be a great week and I will relish the opportunity to watch my students take it all in.  It may even make the planes, trains, and automobiles tedium of business travel worthwhile.  Maybe.

RIMS 2016 Impressions


The semester may be winding down but there is no shortage of activity and obligations for students and faculty alike.  So it was particularly refreshing to spend a few mid-April days at the RIMS 2016 annual conference in San Diego with two Ferris State Risk Management and Insurance students, Melissa Klinger and James Freid.  The conference and the venue were both exhilarating experiences just before the end-of-the-semester final push.

Melissa and James experienced the incredible scope of the conference and the industry itself, from the moment we strolled into the opening breakfast session and keynote speakers, to the vast exhibit hall, and the dozens of educational sessions.  We had a very enlightening conversation with representatives from the captive insurance industry that was entirely an instance of serendipity as we sat down at a random lunch table one day.

I could go on and on about my impressions of the conference and the students’ conference experience, but I’d prefer to let them speak for themselves.  So here are thoughts from Melissa and James on their RIMS 2016 experience:

Melissa Klinger:  “This experience gave me a chance to get out of the classroom and my online classes to learn more about the risk management and insurance industry. There were over 300 different companies that attended this convention and had booths in the exhibit hall. Also, every day there were a number of different educational sessions. A few of the educational sessions that I was fortunate to be able to attend were: a construction industry session, ‘Risk Management in the Driver’s Seat: Navigating the World of Automated Vehicles,’ ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire: A Mock Property Claim,’ and a couple of other sessions. Each of theses sessions were different and gave a different view and look at the risk management industry. We were also able to go and see the three finalists of the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge present their case study on The LEGO Group. This gave James and I some things to think about and improve on for next year when our group wants to compete in this challenge again. This entire conference was a little overwhelming for a student going for the first time, but it was very beneficial and I definitely do not regret this amazing opportunity. I would have to say that my favorite parts of the conference other than the fact that it was in San Diego were the opening keynote speakers. I enjoyed Vinh Giang, the illusionist, the most because he used magic to explain how to overcome misdirection in life and in the business world. I cannot wait for RIMS 2017, especially since it will be closer to home in Philadelphia.”

James Freid:  “The RIMS 2016 conference in San Diego blew me away. The conference made me excited to graduate and begin my career. At the conference I met many professionals in the Risk Management field and was able to get my name out. I was exposed to a side of the industry I did not realize existed based on textbook learning. The most interesting part of this area of the industry was the captive insurer’s area. Captives make up a much larger portion of the insurance industry. There were about ten different states attempting to attract captives to come to their respective states. It was really interesting having the opportunity to meet professionals working with captives to learn where this section of the industry fits into the industry as a whole.

The second half of the conference was focused on different sessions on risk management topics. My favorite session was about calculating loss reserves and how companies can forecast the overall cost of loss. These sessions allowed for students, like myself, to gain a glimpse into day-to-day functions of a risk management professional.

The conference as a whole was a great experience. Being able to go to such a prestigious event for risk management was an experience I am very grateful for. I feel that I am a step ahead in my vision for my career because of my ability to experience this event.”

I couldn’t have summed it up any better myself.  Nice job Melissa and James.

San Diego here we come!


The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annual conference will be held in San Diego, California next week.  I will be attending along with two students from the Ferris State Risk Management and Insurance academic program.  As I type these words, I am watching snow flurries floating through the Michigan “spring” air.  The palm trees of San Diego are looking mighty inviting right about now.

RIMS is one of (and perhaps) the largest gatherings of risk and insurance professionals.  It provides never-ending opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration.  I always relish the opportunity to take students to this industry event and watch their reaction as they gain a new appreciation for the scope and impact that this industry has on business and society.

There will be more to say once we arrive at RIMS 2016 and begin to take in the keynote addresses, educational sessions, and exhibit hall offerings.  I will endeavor to post a few blog post updates that will be disseminated through my other social media channels.  I also intend to ask the students to provide their perspective on the event that will be shared here as well.

Until then, I’m trying to ignore the snow outside my window and just imagine the Pacific Ocean breeze and warm sunshine.

Another Day, Another Data Breach


It’s no wonder that the cyber risk sessions at April’s Risk and Insurance Management Society Annual Conference were standing room only.  We’ve just learned that as many as four million people’s information has been breached on government computers.  This comes on the heels of an IRS admission that 100,000 taxpayers may have had data from past tax returns stolen.  These instances prove that even our government is far from immune to the dangers and failures that have plagued the likes of private sector giants, Target, Home Depot, and Anthem Health.

I don’t have a particular statistic to cite, but my fear is that we are seeing only the tip of the “data insecurity” iceberg.  How many small breaches of far less secure databases are occurring for each one of these high-profile, high-stakes breaches?  Even if there are not a multitude of smaller breaches occurring, the aforementioned highly visible breaches cast a pretty wide net.  I have no indication that I or my family have been caught up in the federal government’s latest data breaches, but between my wife and I, we are receiving complimentary identity protection services as a result of links to all three of the aforementioned private sector hacks: Target, Home Depot, and Anthem.

Perhaps the larger question should be (spoken with utter exasperation), “What in blazes is going on?!”

The explosion of the internet in 1990s ushered in an era of exponential connectivity and information sharing, which is generally a good thing.  Unfortunately, it seems apparent that the rapid expansion of connectivity has outpaced our ability to protect the valuable data that naturally results from all of this connectivity.  In our rush to automate and connect everything (and to benefit from the incredible productivity and wealth growth that results) have we put the proverbial cart before the horse?  Or is it just a fact of our new digital life that our vast connectivity of devices and databases means that data is going to be at risk to some extent no matter what we do?

No matter how these questions are answered, risk management and insurance are both going to play integral roles in the cyber risk world.  It looks to me like we’re in the midst of a “Wild West” sort of era – and my concern is that there is likely to be a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to our data systems and our risk management processes.  That tends to produce considerable collateral damage.

Experiencing the Risk and Insurance Industry


Just one month ago I was in New Orleans attending the 2015 Risk and Insurance Management Society Annual Conference with Ferris State student Corey Bledsoe.  The conference featured engaging keynotes speakers such as Erik Wahl (pictured here) and Arianna Huffington, and numerous educational sessions and networking opportunities.  I asked Corey to share his thoughts about the RIMS experience from his perspective as a student:

Being able to attend and participate in the RIMS conference was an excellent opportunity for me as a student to experience the insurance industry on a much grander scale than what I get to experience in Big Rapids, MI.  Having companies from all over the country and even the world in one location is an experience I won’t soon forget.

I was able to tour the Superdome on my first day in New Orleans and it was cool getting to see how risk management played a part in helping the Superdome recover after hurricane Katrina.  I was able to hang out with other insurance students from around the country and see how their programs compared with ours here.  I knew many of the students there through the professional fraternity I am in, Gamma Iota Sigma. 

While at the conference I got to see inspirational keynote speakers like Erik Wahl, world-renowned speed painter and Simon Bailey.  After the speakers the exhibit hall would open up and thousands would flock to hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products there.  As a student it was extremely overwhelming because I had no idea where to start.  Many exhibitors were aimed away from my demographic but it was still nice to see so many people involved in our industry.  The major thing that I took away from this conference is that the industry will be seeing a large part of its professionals retiring in the next few years.  This means that young people like myself will have ample room for growth and experience.

The most fulfilling thing for me was definitely the sessions that the conference offered.  I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer by introducing the CEO panel who were discussing claims and also discussing underwriting.  It was a great opportunity to hear more about what it’s like running a large multinational corporation and all of the things that go into making a company successful.  As an Anita Benedetti Scholar I was welcome to many of the events hosted by companies and even to FM Global’s yearly party that featured a performance by the band Foreigner.  I highly suggest that anyone interested in attending the RIMS conference apply next year for the scholarship as it will be in San Diego.  This conference is a great experience to learn more about the industry and connect with industry professionals from all over.  Having connections is a huge part of this industry and RIMS is an excellent place to do just that.

Corey’s experience attending the RIMS conference exemplifies the experiential learning opportunities that Ferris State strives to offer its students across many of its academic programs.  It is certainly one of my top goals for the risk management and insurance program.  Let’s face it, the risk and insurance industry doesn’t have much of a reputation as an exciting and dynamic career although those of us in the industry know otherwise.  We need to do more than tell our young students about the opportunities – we need to show them through experiential learning.  See you in San Diego in 2016!