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MONTE CARLO, Monaco-Organizers of the biennial Risk Management Forum in Monte Carlo are exploring ways to boost future attendance among risk managers and insurance buyers.
Brokers, insurers and service providers dominate attendance at the Risk Management Forum, which is organized jointly by the Federation of European Risk Management Assns. and the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.
Nevertheless, risk managers still attend the biennial Monte Carlo conference in force, according to Hugh Loader, chairman of FERMA, who rated the conference a success.
Overall attendance was down slightly from the previous forum, which was held in 1995, said Mr. Loader, who is managing director of Tetra Laval Insurance Services Ltd. in Saffron Walden, England. Attendance for the 1995 conference reached about 950, compared with about 900 this time, he said. Registered delegates accounted for about 550 of the attendees, said Mr. Loader. Of those, risk managers numbered around 185, compared with about 220 two years ago, he said.
"Risk managers as a percentage of the total (delegates) have been pretty constant for the last three forums," said Brian Casey, co-chairman of the forum and director of risk management and loss prevention at Corning Inc. in Corning, N.Y. He hopes the percentage of risk managers at the conference will increase in the future; RIMS and FERMA are looking at ways of promoting the forum more to insurance buyers and risk managers.
One hurdle they face is the venue.
Monte Carlo-and its perceived qualities of luxury and expense-does not always encourage a trip authorization. Ironically, Mr. Loader pointed out that the forum started in Monte Carlo in 1981 precisely because it was the cheapest venue of the European options explored.
Also, many attendees have participated in the forum on several occasions and know the area well. Hotels are close to the conference center, and Monte Carlo has sufficient facilities for the many side meetings that people organize during their stay.
By holding the meeting in Monte Carlo, FERMA and RIMS-and other delegates-can ensure serious risk managers are attending the forum, rather than more junior members of the profession, Mr. Loader pointed out. "One of the things that exhibitors appreciate is that they may not get hundreds of risk managers, but the ones they do get are fairly senior," he said.
From both FERMA's and RIMS' points of view, the most important question about the venue is whether delegates will continue to attend the forum if the location is changed. Monte Carlo is particularly popular with French delegates, who numbered more than 100 for this meeting. Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom also were well-represented. Other European delegates traveled from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden.
Delegates also traveled from further afield: The United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico and Argentina all were featured on the delegate lists, as were Australia, South Africa and Morocco.
"I'm not sure whether changing the venue will attract more people or decrease the numbers," said Mr. Casey.
A number of suggestions for other locations have been proposed, for example rotating the forum so it visits every country represented at FERMA. But for now, the next Risk Management Forum will stay in Monte Carlo and will be held Oct. 10-13, 1999, at the Monte Carlo Convention Centre.
As for two years after that, FERMA will continue to examine the cost of holding the forum in other major European locations, comparing the available facilities, then decide whether the forum will move for the 21st century.