Incoming chairman: Airmic must innovate to become best-in-class

Incoming Airmic chair Patrick Smith has said he wants Airmic to  continue to innovate and develop its offering to ensure it remains “fit for purpose” for 2020 and beyond. He also highlighted the importance of focussing on the “member experience” to grow membership and increase engagement.

Delivering his inaugural speech in Liverpool last month, Smith said he would like to see better use of technology, a greater focus on developing members’ leadership skills and a more targeted and personalised membership offering.

He praised the recent achievements of the association and stressed that continuity from the chair is vital. But he also warned that Airmic must not “take its foot off the gas” if it wants to become “a best-in-class membership organisation.”

Technical innovation

Member involvement is already very strong, according to Smith, with 60% attending at least one event this year. “But I see that remaining 40% as an opportunity. We need to be seriously focusing on how we can help our members have a virtual as well as a physical relationship.” He outlined greater use of e-learning, on-line resources and virtual networking facilities as just some of his plans to increase participation, especially from those members that are based outside of London or who have difficulty attending events in person.

Future risk leaders

In keeping with the theme of the conference, the new chair said that helping members broaden their skillset to prepare them for future leadership roles is vital to supporting today’s risk managers. With risk increasingly becoming a board-level topic, there is a growing need for strategic, business and leadership skills, he said.

“Today, being technically brilliant is not enough,” Smith told the auditorium. “Board engagement is the panacea for many of our members and through Academy sessions, further research and technical output, we can help our members by increasing the relevance of risk and insurance people.”

Membership segmentation  

During the next year, Smith would like to continue what he calls the “segmentation” of Airmic’s offering – providing services tailored to specific areas of the membership. fastTrack, an initiative aimed at members new to the risk and insurance profession, has become a “real area of pride” for the association and represents the first stage in segmentation, he said.

“Later this year we will be launching the Advisory Board which will target our more experienced members, and I will continue to look at further segments with a view to making Airmic more personal, tailored and relevant to individual current and future members.”

Get in touch

Above all, Smith said he’d like to hear from the Airmic membership. “What do you want more or less of? What works and what doesn’t? I would rather we didn’t second guess what good, to you, looks like.”

The chairman’s charity of the year: Electric Umbrella

Electric Umbrella is a music project for adults with learning disabilities. It is run by professional musicians who offer music experiences, from workshops to club nights, to adults with learning disabilities.

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"Making it personal": incoming chair on his year ahead

Patrick Smith: “Being technically brilliant is not enough”