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Certification program for risk managers launched in Europe

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The Brussels-based Federation of European Risk Management Associations has launched a certification program to recognize European risk managers' education and experience.

During its October forum in Venice, Italy, FERMA launched the rimap certification and awarded it to 49 risk management professionals who helped develop the program over the past four years.

FERMA offers two levels of certification — the rimap certification and the rimap advanced certification.

Applicants take a three-hour multiple choice test, in which some of the 100 questions may have more than one answer.

The online exam can be taken anywhere at any time, and the certification can be renewed annually through continuous development points awarded based on attendance at training courses and seminars, among other activities.

To apply to the certification program, risk professionals need a certain level of education and professional expertise.

Those with a master's degree also must have at least five years of professional experience and a commitment to the rimap code of ethics, which is built around the core principles of integrity, professionalism, confidentiality and loyalty. Applicants with a bachelor's degree must have at least seven years of risk management experience and agree to abide by the code of ethics. Those with a high school education need at least 10 years of experience and a commitment to the code of ethics, while those without formal relevant education need 30 years of professional experience and will complete a dissertation rather than take an examination.

The rimap certification costs e200 ($218), while the rimap advanced certification costs e300 ($327). The exam currently is in English but will be available in other languages soon, FERMA said.

At the ceremony honoring the first 49 recipients of the certification in Venice, Michel Dennery, chairman of the steering committee of the certification project, deputy chief risk officer of Paris-based GDF Suez Europe and vice president of FERMA, said the body of knowledge and reference guide for rimap will “evolve” to keep up with developments in risk management.

According to FERMA, the benefits of certification for risk managers include increased credibility and competitive advantages compared with peers, international recognition and opportunities with multinational organizations, and the opportunity for increased responsibilities and career development.

There was enormous interest in acknowledging risk managers' professional attainment, said Julia Graham, FERMA's immediate past president and now technical director of London-based Airmic Ltd.

The certification, she said, was designed by a group of professionals with a broad range of experience including academics, risk managers with and without insurance responsibility and former brokers.

The idea was to devise a certification that is affordable and allows smaller risk manager associations within FERMA to access some of the intellectual property resources of their larger peers, among other goals, Ms. Graham said.

Because FERMA is an association of nonprofit associations, the aim of the certification program is not commercial gain, said Julien Bedhouche, European affairs adviser at FERMA in Brussels. The program's goal is to help “define the profession” of risk management and ensure that the European risk management community “maintains its knowledge.”

FERMA does not provide courses as part of the program, Mr. Bedhouche said, and does not train applicants, so it does not compete with courses offered by other bodies such as the London-based Institute of Risk Management, for example.

Now that rimap has a brand, a name and a logo, certified risk managers can use that on their professional materials such as business cards.

“That is the first tangible, very immediate benefit,” he said. “Also you are giving your employer an assurance that you are up to the best standard” as defined by the representative associations in Europe.