Tag Archives: RIMS

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.

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RIMS 2016 Impressions

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

RIMS 2015

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I just returned from New Orleans, host city for the 2015 Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) conference.  Ferris State student Corey Bledsoe also attended the conference as an Anita Benedetti Scholar – I’ve asked Corey to share his impressions of the conference and will post his thoughts from a student’s perspective in the near future.  Today, I’d like to share a few observations of my own from the conference.

First, cyber risk is clearly the burning issue that is keeping risk managers awake at night.  Several informal surveys were taken in the exhibit hall and the results that I saw all pointed to cyber risk as the source of greatest concern.  I attended an educational session on Tuesday morning that focused on insuring the cyber risk exposure – it was standing room only.  I mean literally, standing room only and even standing room was scarce as risk professionals packed the back of the room, shoulder-to-shoulder, some even sitting on the floor.  In several years of attending RIMS conferences, I have never seen an educational session as well attended as that one.

Second, the industry is well aware of the “graying” of its practitioners.  As Corey will likely confirm, there were several events and conversations regarding the need to attract young talent to the risk and insurance profession.  A good portion of the folks I saw at the conference this year will be retiring in the next 5-8 years.

Third, there are vast risk and insurance implications coming from the evolving notion of autonomous automobiles.  In fact, we may not even own automobiles in the future, summoning an automated technological “carriage” to transport us as needed instead.  There were a few different sessions addressing technological evolutions such as this, and if you want to see General Motors’ vision of a potential future, check this out.  I am especially intrigued by the notion of roadways devoid of all traffic lights, though I cannot imagine the trepidation of cruising through one of these high-tech intersections inside one of those little carriages.  It’s not for the faint of heart!

Fourth, I wish I could paint like Erik Wahl who opened the conference on Monday morning with an engaging and interesting keynote address, complete with a 3-minute portrait of Bono.

There was so much more that I could share from RIMS 2015, but perhaps I will use those topics as launching points for future posts.  Great conference, great people, great city.  Enough said.

Congratulations Corey

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This is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of my job as a collegiate educator.  Recognizing student accomplishments and achievements is the payoff after observing the intellectual growth of students over time.  As the father of three adult daughters, I am very familiar with the sense of pride that comes with recognizing the early successes of young people.

The subject of my pride and congratulations today is Ferris State University student Corey Bledsoe who just learned that he has been selected as an Anita Benedetti Scholar for the upcoming RIMS annual conference in New Orleans.  Corey is a dual major in actuarial science and also risk management and insurance, and he is President of the Gamma Iota Sigma-Upsilon Chapter at Ferris State.  Corey is now making plans to attend the RIMS conference with his costs covered by RIMS and he will participate in a special program track designed for the Anita Benedetti Scholars.

This RIMS program is very competitive and Corey should be very proud of his selection, as am I.  He will represent Ferris State’s Risk Management and Insurance academic programs very well, and I know that he will make some valuable contacts and learn a great deal through his participation in this program.  Well done Corey! Congratulations!