Team FERMA went to Philadelphia for the annual conference of the US Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) in April. President Jorge Luzzi, General Secretary Pierre Sonigo, board members Carl Leeman and Alessandro de Felice, and Executive Manager Florence Bindelle stamped their mark on the town as they sped from event to event in the FERMA minibus.

RIMS is an event on a completely different scale from any other risk management event with its 8,000 or so delegates, nearly 400 exhibitors and a programme to match. Insurers, brokers, service providers and captive domiciles all compete with each other to attract the risk managers to their stands and hospitality suites.

As Pierre Sonigo comments, “I was amazed by the number of business meetings going alongside the conference. The lobbies of the Marriott and the Loews (the two conferences hotels) were filled with people discussing business from 7 am to midnight. Marsh had a ‘Marsh Café’ as big as a soccer field inside the convention centre serving breakfast and lunches for their customers. The Chartis hospitality suite had maybe 30 meeting tables!

“In the evening it was difficult to make a choice: two private concerts with more than 2 000 attendees were sponsored by FM Global and by ACE on Monday night. RIMS and XL booked the same venue for their reception, Monday and Tuesday nights. It is called the Please Touch Museum. A name like that could not be accepted in France or in Italy!”

At a gala dinner to honour Zurich Insurance’s 100 years in the United States, Pierre and Florence were invited to stand and be recognised as honoured guests by the President of Zurich North Florence. “We then realised that FERMA has now received international recognition,” said Pierre.

Jorge observed that there has been a shift in emphasis at RIMS over the last few years. “The implementation of enterprise risk management (ERM) is no longer the unique star subject, although it remains important. Risk managers are asking more and more about other subjects, like natural catastrophes, cyber risks, captives, risk transfer and risk retention, regulations, worldwide programmes, tax implications of multinational activities, and so on.

“There is a new interest in loss prevention but also in business continuity after big natural disasters, not only for companies’ own factories but for all their supply chains.”

He added that almost all presentations touched on the economic crisis.

In his conversations with risk professionals from different regions of the world, he found concern about growing trade protectionism especially in rapidly developing countries.

For FERMA’s newest board member Alessandro de Felice, RIMS is a “must attend event” to connect with the North American market. There was a very large number of participants this year, and as he said: “It is always a good occasion to meet the right person to solve a pending issue.”

Florence drew attention to the new mission statement and five strategic goals of RIMS that were presented at the conference, including a plan to increase the size and scope of the society’s membership base of risk practitioners.

RIMS SHOWDAILY, Official Conference News: