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RIMS 2016 conference preview: San Diego


Risk managers will be strongly encouraged to optimize their potential and positioning within their organizations at this year's Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s annual conference in San Diego.

With a theme of “Go Beyond,” the conference aims to encourage risk managers to evolve along with their discipline by enhancing their expertise, building a more robust risk program within their organizations and expanding their networks, said RIMS President Julie Pemberton, Chicago-based director of enterprise risk and insurance management for Bellevue, Washington-based Outerwall Inc.

“The conference just allows them to reach these new heights and potential,” she said, adding that the goals for this year's conference are to further the education of the RIMS membership and provide a networking forum.

Many of the roughly 180 educational sessions will focus on three main topics — emerging risk management, cyber risk and public-sector risk management — selected based on “overwhelming” feedback from RIMS members, Ms. Pemberton said. The conference routinely draws about 10,000 risk professionals every year, organizers say.

More than 10 sessions will be devoted to cyber risk and include discussions of cyber liability and directors and officers insurance, updates on data security and breach notification, and protecting critical infrastructure.

“Cyber risk in particular is just a huge area,” she said. “I can speak personally to that. It's a huge area of risk that risk management professionals are trying to better understand. It's such a highly specialized area, so trying to educate ourselves around the risks connected with it is important ... also trying to understand the insurance products that are out there and how they are evolving.”

Emerging risk sessions will range from developing a strategy for transgender employees and managing threats related to firearms and unmanned aircraft to 10 things risk managers need to know about doing business in Africa.

Globalization, similar to cyber risk, is another evolving area that risk managers can learn more about at the conference, Ms. Pemberton said. “We're just trying to keep our finger on the pulse of that,” she said.

Public-sector risk management was selected as a core topic based on feedback from RIMS' large contingent of professionals from that sector. Under this banner, there will be a session about responding to accusations of sexual abuse on campus on April 11, a session on strategies for effective management of public safety officer claims on April 12, and several sessions on the changing government workforce, public playgrounds and disaster response and recovery funding on April 13.

For the up-and-comers

Some conference sessions are aimed specifically at rising risk professionals.

“Typically, they are younger risk professionals, but there are also more mature individuals just recently getting into risk management,” Ms. Pemberton said. “It may be a new career choice for them. What we're trying to do is identify those folks, develop programs that help educate them in a more fundamental way so that we're bringing them in the right way. We have a great number of professionals within our industry that are nearing retirement age, and so we're making sure we're backfilling that talent.”

RIMS also will administer its first Certified Risk Management Professional exam April 11 at the conference. However, registration is required, and more than half the 200 seats are already filled.

The conference's April 11 general session in the morning will adopt a TED-style format, with three keynote speakers each delivering 18-minute presentations. Vinh Giang, an entrepreneur, magician and speaker, will illustrate how magic relies on misdirection and how to overcome misdirection in life and business. Scott Klososky, entrepreneur, author and consultant, will discuss what is going on in the world of 3-D printing. And Pamela Meyer, entrepreneur, fraud examiner and author, will teach attendees how to spot liars. All three will have more in-depth sessions in the afternoon April 11.

The themes around those are addressing thought skills that are useful for risk management professionals today, Ms. Pemberton said.

Comedian Martin Short will deliver the closing keynote.

RIMS members will spend the day on April 10 volunteering with Harmonium Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote well-being and self-sufficiency in children, youth and adults through creative education, intervention and prevention services rooted in collaboration with neighborhoods and families. They will work at Harmonium's Klassic Kids program, which provides care before and after school and full-day care on nonschool days, by painting, landscaping, installing siding, cleaning and undertaking other maintenance projects at these school sites.

Once again, RIMS has partnered with Business Insurance for a Tuesday breakfast that honors the 2016 Risk Manager of the Year®, Gus Fuldner, head of insurance at ride-sharing service firm Uber Technologies Inc. in San Francisco, and the Risk Management Honor Roll®. The breakfast will include a panel discussion by chief executive officers on the state of the industry.

Post-conference, risk managers will have educational opportunities such as scenario planning with senior officials of the risk management team at The Lego Group and a behind-the-scenes look at how the risk management team of San Diego International Airport handles operational, environmental, reputational and safety risks.