seminar 2014A record number of 384 risk managers and other risk professionals came to Brussels on 20 and 21 October for the combined FERMA Seminar and 40th anniversary celebrations. It was the occasion of the publication of FERMA’s first European Risk and Insurance Report based on the results of the 7th edition of the FERMA’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey.

The post-event feedback from delegates was enthusiastic, especially for the European Risk and Insurance Report and the risk manager only roundtables, which were an innovation this year. More than 80% who provided feedback judged the report as excellent or good. All the plenary sessions had positive approval ratings with the top ranking going to the risk manager’s profile session, and the risk manager only roundtables were very well received. Despite some reservations about aspects of the venue, the majority of ratings were positive and there was wide approval for the location.

FERMA Vice President Jo Willaert, who headed the Seminar committee says, “The new concept of more sponsors, partial opening to non-risk managers, very active participation in the working sessions and the 40th anniversary dinner in a great venue made this edition of the Seminar a real celebration. The choice of Brussels, capital of Europe, for the Seminar was symbolic for FERMA.”

The keynote speaker was Danish meteorologist and climate change expert Jesper Theilgaard who told risk managers not to regard climate change as something so terrible that nothing could be done about it. Instead, he said, they should look for business opportunities in helping to mitigate the possible impacts and make local adaptions to the changing environment. “It is very important when we talk about climate change that it is not as a Doomsday scenario but as risks and opportunities.”

Jo says that for him the high points were the risk managers’ closed session round tables, the refreshed way of commenting on the survey which highlighted better the results, and the choice of the keynote speaker. “He brought a different message than we are used to, a potential positive challenge to the economic world regarding the climate change.”

Lessons for the next seminar?
Jo believes it is too early to be definite at this stage about the lessons for the next Seminar, but his initial reaction is that:

  • the new concept seems to be appreciated by risk managers and sponsors.
  • we should give even more attention to closed session round tables;
  • and have more time for Q&A/interaction during the general sessions;

“Feedback will certainly give us room for further improvement,” he adds

If you want to relive some selected moments of the Seminar, discover