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RMI wins top pick by acting as risk manager for clients


RMI Consulting Inc.

20 Soundview Market Place

Port Washington, N.Y. 11050

516-767-7373; fax: 516-767-7486

RMI Consulting Inc. has been filling the role of risk manager—not just insurance buyer—for many of its clients for more than 30 years.

Its approach not only has shot the company to the top of the list of the nation's largest independent risk management consultants, it also has made RMI the top pick for independent risk management consultant in the Business Insurance 2007 Readers Choice Awards. This year's award marks RMI's second consecutive honor.

RMI's client base is primarily small to midsize companies with revenues of at least $10 million, said MaryAnn Sackman, president. Its clients' annual insurance budgets range from a of couple hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars, she said.

RMI reported $11.7 million in revenues in 2006; revenues in 2007 are expected to total $11.2 million, she said.

"Most clients don't have formal risk management departments," Ms. Sackman said. "So I think we're filling a role for businessmen who can't afford to spend on someone to serve as their full-time risk manager."

RMI has 44 employees, about half of whom are risk management professionals.

Among issues that RMI focuses on is how more clients can leverage their purchasing clout with insurers and meet their coverage needs by banding together, Ms. Sackman said.

"We're looking into our client base to see if we can get them together on a group basis," she said. RMI already has been able to help three other groups of clients, largely in the food industry, form purchasing groups to help them hold down their insurance costs while also arranging broader coverage.

But "it's very difficult to put these things together, especially when you're not selling insurance," Ms. Sackman noted. "Clients are a little reluctant to share information if they think private information is being shared. Insurers also are a little reluctant," because they want to make certain they are underwriting good risks.

"So you need to convince both sides," Ms. Sackman said.

At the same time, RMI continues to emphasize safety and loss programs, Ms. Sackman noted. "If we can have a client focus on safety loss control, it will eventually make their loss factor better" with insurers, which will drive down their insurance costs.