FERMA’s new President Jorge Luzzi spent three years in the finance department of the pharmaceutical company, Ciba Geigy, now Novartis. He observed that everything seemed to revolve around risk, but that there was little analysis of anything other than pure financial risk.
Having worked as an account executive with Marsh for eight years at the start of his career, however, he could also see the limitations of insurance. “Soon I started to think that risk wasn’t only about doing the calculation but there was a lot of human aspect to risk. When there is a major loss, for example, it’s not just the factory that’s affected but the workers,” he said.
This human aspect really came home to Jorge in the 1999 earthquake in Izmit, Turkey. By this time, he had joined Pirelli, and the tire maker has a factory within the quake zone. The official figures say at the Magnitude 7.6 quake killed at least 17,000 people and half a million were homeless. Most of the Pirelli plant stood up well, but two people died in an older building. Others were killed elsewhere or injured when their homes collapsed. In the end, the toll was 13 dead and 14 severely injured. The impact, though, was far wider; members of staff were homeless and had lost friends and family members.
Jorge explains that before the company could think about restoring the factory, it established a tent city for employees and other Izmit residents who were homeless. The workers otherwise might have been forced to leave the area to stay with relatives. “All this really touched me. Enterprise risk management is not limited to calculating probabilities,” he says.
Today Jorge is Director of Group Risk Management for Pirelli worldwide with wide responsibilities in the group. He started his career in insurance and risk management in Brazil in 1971. The family moved there from Argentina where he spent his boyhood, and he is proud of honour given him by the Parliament of the Brazilian state of São Paulo for his contribution on the development of risk management in the country. Other awards he has received include the prestigious Goodwell Award for lifetime achievement from the US Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS).
Jorge describes himself as “Italian but from an international family,” and he has Swiss as well as Italian nationality. He lives near Lake Lugano in Switzerland where he has an office. Pirelli headquarters is only one hour away by car over the Italian border in Milan, and he regularly travels over the world to the company’s factories, distribution centres and offices.
Thanks to his Latin American childhood and a career that has spanned Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Bermuda, Ireland and Italy, Jorge speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English in addition to Italian, and a little German and French.
Jorge was president of the Brazilian risk management association ABGR, and one of the founders and the first president of the Latin American risk management association Alarys. He is now honorary president of both organisations. He is active in the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations (IFRIMA) as its chairman, and in the Italian risk management association ANRA.
With this background, it is not surprising that he has more than 500 connections on LinkedIn and he received more than 150 congratulatory emails during the first day after his election as President of FERMA was announced!
His work and FERMA responsibilities do not leave him time to play rugby now, but he takes advantage of living in Switzerland to ski and cycle with his two daughters, aged six and 10. He also loves football – how could he not with growing up in Brazil and Argentina – and other sports.
As FERMA members who attended the FERMA night party at the 2011 Forum know, Jorge enjoys singing. There he joined outgoing President Peter den Dekker and fellow Italian Alessando De Felice for FERMA’s own version of the three tenors. “I love music,” he says, “Italian music, opera, of course, but many other types of music, too. I couldn’t live without it.”
Over the next two years as President, Jorge wants to open the arms of FERMA to increased involvement with member associations and their members. He intends to expand FERMA’s communication with members and listen to their concerns and opinions by taking advantage of the new social media tools.
Jorge wants to increase the number of what he calls ‘friends of FERMA’, for example by drawing on the resource of very experienced members who are no longer working as day to day risk managers but who have great expertise to offer. Another innovation is that he would like FERMA to consider having individual members participate in various projects under the direction of board members.
As he said in his first remarks as President of FERMA at the Forum in Stockholm, his imperatives are “communication, interaction and innovation.”