From the perspective of a magazine editor, the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s annual meeting is the gift that keeps on giving.

In a concentrated span of four days, the conference’s sessions, exhibition floor and executive-interview opportunities provide enough insight into emerging trends to last us, well, until next year’s conference.

And in the weeks and months ahead, you’ll see here featured reports on the hot topics discussed at RIMS that are just beginning to appear on the radar screens of carriers, brokers and risk managers.

The following is just a very brief sample of some of the ideas that caught my attention—I easily could fill a dozen more pages.

Meditation and Case Management: At a session I moderated, “Excellence in Workers’ Compensation Risk Management” (featuring the three winners of NU’s annual WC award), a question was asked if any of the panelists included meditation as part of their programs to speed the return of injured employees to work. While none of the panelists currently do, I later approached the person who made the inquiry. Maria Perez, a registered nurse and CEO of the Case Management Network, insists she has lots of evidence that meditation is highly effective. Trust me, I’m not a TM guy, but this sounds intriguing. We’ll be following up.

Trade Disruption Insurance: Wendy Peters, senior vice president of the Terrorism Practice Group at Willis, says trade-disruption cover is a widely needed but currently very hard to find market. While Supply Chain policies are there to address the losses that can arise when a vendor’s physical facilities are damaged, Trade Disruption can step in when major components of a country’s infrastructure—its ports and highways, for example—are shuttered. Right now, there are really only two major players in this space: Zurich and the Kiln Group, part of Tokio Marine and one of the largest agencies trading in the Lloyd’s market. “While there is a limited market for it, it’s nowhere near as refined as we need it to be,” says Peters.

My Risks Are Better Than Yours: A recurring theme among brokers I spoke to: encouraging their risk-manager clients to undertake deep analytical dives into their data to start to distinguish their (safer) risk profile from their peers. A shared sentiment: It is crucial to be able to put a statistical bow on your risks before the market truly hardens—doing so after may be too late. A top-of-mind topic for many, but I’ll give a shout out here to Corey Gooch, senior enterprise risk management consultant at Towers Watson, who is helping some major clients undertake just this sort of risk-differentiation exercise.

Cyber Explosion: Cyber Liability cover seemed to be very much on everyone’s lips, and we had in-depth interviews about it with experts at both carriers (Travelers, Liberty Mutual) and brokers (Marsh, Aon). If there’s any doubt about buyers increasing their purchases, let us hereby dispel them: “Penetration is almost doubling every year,” says Bob Parisi, cyber expert and SVP at Marsh. “Five or six years ago, it might have been 5 percent in health care; now it’s closer to 25-30 percent.” And while cyber forms are at least beginning to look a little more similiar, terms and conditions still vary widely from carrier to carrier: “It’s broker full-employment as the forms continue to be vastly different,” Parisi notes with a smile. “You need someone to help you navigate.” 

Bryant Rousseau