Sage Advice For Risk Managers

By Caroline McDonald

Lance Ewing, incoming president of the New York-based Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc., has some advice for risk managers: “Remember that this too shall pass,” he said.

Referring to the current hard insurance market, he said that risk managers need to get the message to their bosses and the chief executives of their companies that “the marketplace won’t continue in this vein forever. There will be some softening in certain lines. But certain lines will remain very hard.”

Mr. Ewing recommended that risk managers who don’t have a financial degree or a background in finance enroll in a community college for some finance courses. “Because we used to be driven by customer service, then by quality of the product. Now we’re being driven by financesthe effect on the shareholder, the effect on Wall Street, and what the analysts will say,” he said.

He continued that having an understanding from a financial background, or “at least being able to speak the financial lingo of returns on investments and looking at equity, credit statistics and cash flow is important.”

“If you are just still buying insurance things may pass you by rather quickly.”

Risk managers also need to see their relationships with their brokers, underwriters and carriers as a team approach.

“It can’t be an us-versus-them situation,” he said. “It’s a relationship. And in a hard insurance market, it’s good to have those relationships. It’s much more palatable to take bad medicine from a friend than it is to take it and lump it.”

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 7, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.