Clark Urges ‘Call To Action’ By RIMS Members On Japan

A man holds empty bottles as he waits for water an emergency center on Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, two days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull) A man holds empty bottles as he waits for water an emergency center on Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, two days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

RIMS President Scott B. Clark—who was in Japan when the deadly earthquake and tsunami struck—is asking members of the Risk and Insurance Management Society to reach deep into their pockets to help.

Clark, the risk and benefits officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, was in Japan on March 11 for the annual meeting of the Japan Chapter of RIMS. And he saw that day effective risk management in action—up close and personal. He was visiting with Yoshi Hamaji, president of the Japan Chapter, when the ground began shaking.

Despite the confusion and chaos that followed, “Yoshi and other members of the chapter were committed to ensuring that we were safe and even relocated our scheduled presentation to Osaka,” Clark wrote in a blog entry upon his return.

“Their dedication to us, to RIMS and to the profession during the most dire of circumstances was truly an inspiration.”

Clark has issued a call to action to RIMS chapters “on behalf of the residents of Japan. As you know, the situation is severe, and many in the RIMS and risk-management family have been affected, both personally and professionally,” he says.

He is challenging each RIMS chapter to make a donation. “My own chapter, the RIMS Greater Miami Chapter, has authorized a donation of $1,000, and I invite [others] to match or exceed this as your chapter resources allow. The funds raised will be donated to the American Red Cross toward its relief work in Japan.”

Global Group

The events in Japan, which have occupied so much of the attention of Fortune 1000 risk managers the past few weeks, underscore the global nature of risk management today—which is one reason why this year’s conference is being held in Canada.

“RIMS understands that implications for businesses exist on a global scale, and we are committed to equipping our members with the skills they need to cope with the increasingly international nature of the discipline,” Clark writes.

“To this end, we’ve developed an impressive speaker and session lineup that will address the pertinent issues facing today’s risk managers.”

The turmoil in the Middle East is another cause of acute concern to risk managers that Clark has discussed in his blog.

For example, he says, shipping has been severely affected in Egypt. “In the port of Alexandria, among others, army tanks stand guard to ensure no one enters the area, resulting in a halting of exports that are crucial to the country’s economy.”

Shipping companies, he writes, are hesitant to enter the area, “and if the Suez Canal should close, it would not only be disastrous for a country already in turmoil, but it would also trigger a worldwide shipping disruption.”

Production plants in the region, he says, also have been impacted. Companies such as Nissan, Unilever, General Motors and Heineken have had to halt operations at their plants in Egypt.

“As you can see, the effects are far reaching and our discipline is increasingly entrenched in global events, as the business world continues to shrink.”

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