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Working in an interdependent world


The Swiss Association of Insurance & Risk Managers will hold its SIRM Forum 2006 this week in Pfaffikon, Switzerland. The group expects around 170 risk managers and other attendees to take part in two days of discussions on a number of insurance and risk management issues. BIE spoke with Franck Baron, an SIRM board member and director of global insurance and risk management at Geneva-based Firmenich S.A., about what risk managers can expect at the conference and the everyday challenges they face in protecting their companies.

Q: What is the main issue to be discussed at the forum?

A. The major issue is going to be related to Solvency II and the impact for insurance companies, obviously, regarding their underwriting policies and financial health, and, the impact on insurance buyers and risk managers. If there are higher constraints on insurance companies, it could impact their ability to provide coverage. The positive side of this is that it will strengthen the financial security of insurance companies.

Q. What other issues will the SIRM Forum address?

A. We are going to dedicate a seminar to life insurance business. We have a different angle—how to help risk managers get involved in their companies' life insurance.

Q. Why should life insurance be a risk management concern?

A. For some companies, life insurance is a bigger volume of premium compared to nonlife. When it is that large, it is something for the risk manager to address.

Life insurance is typically in the human resources department. We will discuss how the risk manager can go across this boundary.

Q. What are risk managers' biggest concerns these days apart from Solvency II?

A. We are working in a world where everything is interdependent and we are relying on our suppliers. One of our major concerns is that our companies stay profitable and at the same time continuity is managed properly.

We have more and more emerging risks that are not insured by insurance companies. If we do not have the financial security from insurers for emerging risks, it may reduce our ability to do business worldwide.

Q. Will risk managers from other countries be a part of the forum?

A. The vast majority are from Switzerland. That being said, there will be an international element. There are risk managers in Switzerland who are like me—French—and there are British, German and others.