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David Gamble, executive director of the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers, will step down from that post this summer to head up a new, AIRMIC-sponsored training company, Risk Publishing Online. He talked to Business Insurance Europe about his years at the helm of AIRMIC and his plans for the future.
Q. What do you consider to be AIRMIC's proudest achievement during your time as executive director?
A. I think, probably, its involvement in, and achievement of, contract certainty. As an association, clearly AIRMIC members had to play a part. They had to start the renewal process earlier, they changed their behavior, they put pressure on their insurers and brokers, but that was also coming from the Financial Services Authority, and I think they contributed in that way to an improvement in market performance. And I think that's probably an important achievement. It is something which indicates that the market as a whole has now got a template for making improvements, and that, of course, is one of the things we are now starting to look at with regards to a willingness-to-pay index for claims. I think it is very encouraging that, overall, the market is moving forward in this way.
Getting AIRMIC out from under the FSA's regulation was something that was very important to achieve (under the FSA's first version of the European Union's Insurance Mediation Directive (2002/92/EC), risk managers that bought insurance on behalf of subsidiary companies within their organizations would have been regulated as brokers.)
That involved lawyers, and support from the British Insurance Brokers' Association, and it would have been a real pain for our members to have had to go through what was clearly not originally anticipated by either the Treasury or the FSA.
Undoubtedly, it is very useful for AIRMIC as the representative body for major buyers to now have the FSA around. It has given us much greater clout than we had before, and we don't go and see them very often. But when we do, we find that we get a good hearing and we have now got somewhere to go if we are not satisfied with the way things are working.
Q. For you personally, what do you consider to be your proudest achievement?
A. I suppose coming in not knowing anything about the insurance industry, that they have allowed me to stay for nine-and-a-half years.
Every year, completing a successful conference is a tremendously satisfying achievement with the team.
I'm particularly pleased that we completed the risk management standard (a joint effort with the Institute of Risk Management and the Association of Local Authority Risk Managers). It is nice to think that it has been available now for five years and more than 100,000 people have downloaded it free of charge. Although there are other risk management standards coming alongboth in the United Kingdom and internationallywe are watching closely how they are going. I have always said that I think risk management is too important for people to charge for it. The standard needs to be free of charge, so that people can see exactly what they need to do. So we have made a contribution in that way and the standard is available in 14 languages.
Q. Can you see AIRMIC ever merging with another body, such as the IRM or ALARM?
A. It is very difficult to know how things are going to move in the next 10 years. We certainly have a very close relationship with the IRM. We've created the Risk Federation which includes ALARM and the Business Continuity Institute, and we hold events there. In one way, we are stronger by having a very good focus on what is really important for our members and then linking with the other associations, rather than trying to bring it all under one roof. At the moment, you have the advantage of having four executive directors or chief executives, each one working for their own individual group in the Risk Federation. Clearly, if you brought them all under one roof, you'd only end up with one chief and a number of Indians. I think it works quite well at the moment. I think the IRM has developed a lot of new courses and its reputation is continuing to improve, so we are very pleased to see it so strong. At some point, if AIRMIC members decide that they no longer need to have restricted membership, then it makes sense [to] discuss it with the IRM.
Q. What are you plans for Risk Publishing Online?
A. Our Web site is www.riskrisk.com, which means I now have the e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org, which you won't forget easily.
In the next few weeks, we expect to have everything ready. We will be promoting the four different language versions of the PRORIM course (an online training program aimed at small businesses). But we also will be looking at coming out with new tools, new courses, and indeed providing an opportunity for people who have written articles on risk management to put them on the site, so, I would like to think that within two or three years, it will become a major source for risk management information, courses, tools and other things.