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The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. has introduced a new mission statement and five strategic goals that reflect the increasing scope and broader range of issues risk management professionals are being asked to address today.
First among the organization's new goals, announced during the 50th RIMS conference being held April 15-18 in Philadelphia, is to expand membership to encompass related professions like strategic planning, compliance and information technology and security.
The new mission statement and goals are designed to help RIMS members “use risk management to help the leaders of our organizations make better, smarter decisions about risk and opportunity,” said 2012 RIMS President Deborah M. Luthi, enterprise risk manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
There was a time when “risk manager” was synonymous with “insurance buyer” in many organizations, she said. But today, risk management has become much more complex, encompassing much more than traditional property and liability risks. Today's risk managers must deal with operational risks, market risks, supply chain risks, regulatory and compliance risks, technology risks and climate change risks, she said.
In some organizations, risk managers are finding ways to leverage risk to create opportunities. Because of the evolving nature of risks, risk managers increasingly “are interacting with people and functions at the very senior levels of our organizations,” Ms. Luthi said. “This requires not only outstanding interpersonal and persuasive skills, but also familiarity with functions like finance, information technology, supply chain management and other areas where significant risks are encountered.”
To develop the new mission statement and goals, RIMS contracted with an outside consultant to engage both staff members and board members to “take a fresh look at what RIMS is all about in today's world,” Ms. Luthi said. “We started by asking ourselves not what we do, or how we do it, but rather why we do it.”
The end product was a succinct yet broad statement: “The mission of RIMS is to advance risk management for your organization's success.”
“Risk management is not a static concept,” observed Mary Roth, RIMS' executive director, during Monday's opening session. “‘Advance risk management' has two meanings. First, it means we'll continue to develop risk management beyond its current boundaries as the needs of our members evolve. Second, it means we'll actively promote and advocate risk management as a vital tool for achieving organizational success.”
The five strategic goals outline the specific steps RIMS must take to fulfill its mission, Ms. Roth explained.
For example, “manufacturing executives have a real need to identify the risks associated with their suppliers. Loss of a particular commodity or even a tiny part can shut down a production line and delay a product going to market,” she said. “Risk management expertise is crucial, and RIMS is where they can get it.”
“Risk management has evolved into a multidimensional, multidisciplinary skill set that affects virtually every area and function within an organization,” said Ms. Luthi. “In many organizations, there are probably several people who could benefit from membership in RIMS,” she said, such as those involved in strategic planning, compliance, security, information technology and distribution.
Increasing the size and scope of the society's membership also will create a broader range of career options for risk professionals, possibly creating advancement opportunities within their organizations, Ms. Roth suggested.
“That makes it important for RIMS to engage with professionals outside our professional realm of experience,” she said.