RIMS President: No Boundaries for Risk Managers

NU Online News Service, April 16, 1:58 p.m. EST

PHILADELPHIA—Saying the role of risk managers is growing in importance, the president of the Risk and Insurance Management Society declared there are no boundaries to the level of influence professionals will ultimately have with the C-suite.

In her opening address to the 50th annual RIMS conference being held here this week, RIMS President Deborah M. Luthi says the role of risk managers has grown from simpler times when the job involved purchasing and filing an insurance policy.

The role “has grown and multiplied,” she says, and now involves mitigation and leveraging “risk as an opportunity.”

Risk manager now must weigh a wide range of concerns such as marketing, supply chain, the economy, technology, and climate change, to name a few, Luthi says.

“There is so much to think about and much to explore,” she says.

Risk managers, Luthi notes, have evolved “rapidly to keep pace with change” and have found “creative ways to deal” with risk by embracing the holistic risk philosophy of enterprise risk management and expanding the role of risk professionals.

She says risk managers are creating “opportunity out of uncertainty” while finding “effective and affordable solutions” for their business or institution.

“We are no longer limited,” says the enterprise risk manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “We work at every level to help our organizations.”

Risk professionals, she says, for the first time “have a well defined path to that direction” of direct influence on the chief executive officers of their organizations.

“Risk management is no longer a job, it is a profession, it is a career,” she says, adding that “somewhere along the way risk management became cool” and is no longer out of step with the business aims of an organization. Indeed, now it is an integrated piece of the business.

Along that same theme, Mary Roth, RIMS executive director, notes the growth of the organization and its growing influence beyond the work place.

She says RIMS has grown its involvement in government affairs and worked at suggesting legislative language to help improve interstate regulation.

The organization has taken a more active role at the state level, advocating regulatory reforms and greater consumer protection.

To increase its influence with policy makers, RIMS has launched a political action committee that Roth says gives it seat at the table concerning government policy matters and “increase advocacy and our global profile.”

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