5 Key Risk Management Themes from the RIMS Annual Conference
Our team was excited to head back to The Risk Management Society’s (RIMS) annual conference for the 10th year in a row last week, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The three-day conference, which took place in Philadelphia this year, is one of our top events for keeping our pulse on the industry and meeting both new and familiar faces within the risk management field.
We sent a team of our consultants to the RIMS conference and asked them to report back on hot topics and trends. As it turns out, there were a few undeniable themes that sprung up at the event. They were so prominent that they shone through even despite the many networking receptions, inspirational keynote speakers like Michael J. Fox, charitable causes such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand for childhood cancer research, and a Wellness Zenter – all of which could be found at RIMS.
If you work in risk management and were unable to attend the conference or could simply use a refresher, you’ll want to know about these themes we uncovered:
In this day and age, it’d be odd if technology wasn’t a focus at the conference, but we noticed it highlighted in three different but related regards:
- The Internet of Things:
Presenters from Intel, NCR Corporation and other companies explained how the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing things in both good and bad ways. Security, privacy and chain of liability were cited as growing risks thanks to IoT, while automation, “smart manufacturing” and telehealthcare were pointed out to be opportunities for efficiency.
Sessions led by professionals from Oracle, Zurich and Social Detection, Inc. spoke about risk as it pertains to social media. Speakers cautioned against computer viruses, lack of anonymity, poor public relations, employee behavior online and reputational risk when it comes to social media. They encouraged attendees not to ignore these digital platforms, but instead provided tips on how to build a solid management framework for social media risk.
Wearable devices, such as FitBit or Apple Watch, were among the tech discussions. Specifically, risk professionals at Under Armour and UPS explained how to leverage wearables to increase safety, gather data and improve health while accounting for HIPAA and other legal implications.
- All Things Cyber
While this could be classified under technology, the subject got so much attention at RIMS that we thought it deserved its own category. Cyber obviously presents huge risks with respect to security, whether an attack comes from a stand-alone hacker or a terrorist group. As a group from Liberty Mutual pointed out, the worst cyber-attacks can result in a total system shutdown, and they advised on how environmental insurance ties into the issue.
Risk Management Director of Morgan Stanley, Andrew Weisman, led a presentation on cyber insurance – vetting carriers, knowing limitations and understanding various complicated claims. A separate session focused on a specific ransomware attack and its different ramifications. Lisa Walton of JC Penney was among those who explained considerations for commercial property cyber insurance specifically, while another presentation cautioned against cyber-attacks at a mass-scale and explained why cyber security is not merely an IT problem.
We could go on and on, as the topic of cyber headlined over ten RIMS sessions, but we’ll leave you with just the above glimpse.
- International/Global Risk Issues
Risk management is difficult enough when merely trying to comply with one nation or region’s regulations. For multinational companies, it gets even trickier. Speakers from Zurich and Corning talked about the need to modernize international program regulation and university professionals discussed how to align your company’s strategy with its ERM and different cultural, political and economic considerations when going global. Additionally, risk management factors and advice within specific geographies such as Canada and Latin America were covered.
- Data and Analytics
Among presenters who focused on the importance of data in risk management were professionals from The Institutes and Aramark. One session focused on big data and how to utilize it from the descriptive to the prescriptive stages of risk management. Analytics was highlighted in various sessions throughout the other four themes as well – playing a central role in technology and cyber, in particular.
- Workplace Violence
Last but certainly not least, Ariel Jenkins of Safety National and Mario Pecoraro of Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group covered violence in the workplace – how to prevent it, how to anticipate it and how to manage post-incident. They and other speakers noted that there can be many sparks to workplace violence such as mental health issues and racism, and highlighted warning signs as well as lessons learned from real-life attacks.
Needless to say there was a lot there was a lot to take in at the annual RIMS conference! We were also impressed with the number of industry-specific sessions at the event, including those aimed at the financial services, utilities, construction, entertainment, restaurant and casino markets.
If you attended RIMS or work in risk management, you might also be interested in our white paper: Risk Managers Guide to Funding Employee Benefits in a Captive.