Airmic’s finances are in a strong state as the association looks to find new ways to help its members, the outgoing Chair Patrick Smith told the annual conference in Harrogate. “There are considerable sums to support Airmic’s evolution,” he told more than 400 risk managers in his opening speech.
He outlined how in the past year Airmic had commissioned external consultants to facilitate a review by the board of strategy between now and the end of the decade. The review had identified a need to increase its wider ERM capabilities and led to the creation of the leadership advisory board, whilst maintaining its existing services.
He predicted the new focus on wider risk management would “stimulate growth in membership. It also will join insurance with the strategic risks that affect all organisations, and by doing so will be a catalyst for innovation,” he said.
Although membership and participation in events such as Airmic Academy had continued to rise, they were starting to plateau. The association was considering how to increase engagement, one example being a new website and use of technology to provide members with a well targeted offering.
“The speed of change is so rapid that real strategic thought and stress-testing of business models is essential,” he said.
New chair pledges to reach out to young talent
The incoming Airmic chair Clive Clarke told the conference his theme would be “investing in tomorrow’s talent” – aiming to attract young people into risk management. He wants them to join the sector for positive reasons rather than as something they fall into, as he had done.
“Airmic will be investigating how it can work closer with further education institutions, business schools and partners to do this,” he said. “My own personal story is of someone who didn’t go on to higher education, started as a filing clerk and am now Chair. I took some risks, had some great managers and had the drive and opportunity to succeed. There are others out there who crave that chance, and we are an association who can give you the tools to do it.”
He praised his predecessor Patrick Smith, and pledged to continue the current technical agenda. “Like Patrick I want Airmic to be the best member association it can be. I want Airmic to be more personal and encourage our members to reach out with their needs, thoughts and comments on what we do,” he told delegates.
“Airmic is best in class for its technical work and will continue to produce this to the highest quality. Airmic will equip its members with everything they need for their careers whether you are just starting out or as integral member of senior management and/or reporting to the board. Our members need to be leaders and key subject matter experts in the business, and Airmic will also concentrate on some of the softer skills to help achieve this.”
His charity for the year is Market Field, a special school attended by his step-daughter Helen, who has Down’s syndrome. Clarke is group insurance manager at Lloyd's Register Group.
Patrick Smith paid tribute to the Airmic secretariat, singling out IT manager Rob Hayday for his work in supporting many of the changes.
Two of the Airmic Board’s longest-serving members, Paul Goulding of Heathrow Airport and Linda Lucas of Fujitsu, have taken up the vacant deputy chair positions.