With a new president and two fresh faces on the board, RIMS Australasia plans to introduce more events and target the emerging generation of risk professionals
”There are quite a few risk management organisations out there, so we need to give risk managers a reason to join and existing members a reason to stay.”
That’s the view of Kevin Bates, the new Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Australasia president.
He’s not wrong. In Australia alone, risk managers are spoilt for choice when it comes to member- body associations. Aside from RIMS, there’s the Risk Management Institution of Australasia, the Risk Management Association of Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance, to name but a few. Beyond that, there’s the Pan-Asia Risk and Insurance Management Association, which was also rumoured to be testing the waters recently for an Australian chapter.
RIMS, arguably the largest global risk management association, has been largely inconspicuous in Australasia over the past few years, aside from its annual conference. But Bates and a newly elected board have their sights clearly set on boosting the association’s profile.
Bates, the Lend Lease group head of risk and insurance, was unanimously voted into the role in July. He replaces Brad Tymmons, the former head of risk at EnergyAustralia, who stepped aside from RIMS earlier in the month as a result of his taking up a new role at an insurance broker.
Tymmons had been president of the association for 18 months.
At the meeting that voted Bates in, two new board members were also elected: Alicia Genet, group risk and audit manager at Santos, and Kerry Bakkerus, risk and privacy manager at Counties Manukau Health.
These appointments mean that the eight- member board now has an equal number of men and women – one of the few, if not the only boards to do so in the Australian risk and insurance space.
On taking up his new role, Bates told StrategicRISK: “I’m incredibly flattered and very proud to be sitting in the chair as the new president of RIMS Australasia but I’m deeply saddened to see someone of the calibre of Brad leaving.
“I’d like to thank him enormously and I hope to continue his good work.
“Brad has rekindled the [RIMS Australasia] profile. He has ensured a growth in membership and a growth in commitment from our foundation sponsors, and has been instrumental in setting us up for success as an organisation going forward.”
So, how exactly does Bates and his new board plan to take RIMS forward, and give members a reason to join and stay?
The first priorities will be to introduce more events and target the younger generation.
“We’re going to tap into some of the magnificent young talent that we have in risk management in Australia,” Bates says.
“We need to improve membership depth and actually enhance the membership involvement and the experience and the value that we as an organisation provide to them. We need to provide stakeholder returns to our founding partners.”
The first event of the new board – a pub quiz, sponsored by Zurich – was on 17 August in Sydney. Similar events in other cities are expected to follow.
In the coming weeks, the association will also be launching a Stars of the Future programme.
RIMS members will be able to nominate risk professionals under 35 years of age and the chosen individual will be invited to a dinner with an insurer or broker “hosting partner” and a RIMS board member.
“We’ll do that in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, and hopefully in Adelaide and Perth also,” Bates says.
“The idea is to have that more youthful and innovative look at what’s going on in our space, because it’s easy for us to get set in our ways. It’s always important to keep tabs on what the future, and what best practice, look like.”
Fellow RIMS Australasia board member Cathy Murray adds: “It’s really important to keep the young professionals in the industry and give them something that they can really get their teeth stuck into.”
The group will also continue its risk roundtable events, according to Murray.
“These are more focused on risk and insurance managers, but we are also looking at going into the brokers and carriers more and giving them our perspective on risk and insurance.”
It’s the networking element of RIMS, and the members’ collective acumen, that both Murray and Bates say is the biggest benefit of membership.
Murray, who worked at Marsh for 20 years prior to her current role, points to the multitude of information sessions and courses on offer, aimed at helping members learn about insurance and risk.
She says RIMS Australasia is exceptional because of its “diverse collection” of members.
“A lot of them have been in the insurance industry or have specific legal or technical backgrounds and that’s what makes the RIMS networking opportunity more interesting,” she says.