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2018 RIMS

RIMS Rocks San Antonio

Sexual harassment and the threats and opportunities in artificial intelligence will be on this year's RIMS agenda.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 6 min read

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the annual RIMS conference and exhibition taking place in San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from April 15 to 18.  The theme for this year’s show – “Go Big” – encourages risk managers to think outside the box, expand their relationships and strive to make a bigger impact in their companies and communities.

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“It’s a call to action,” said Stuart Ruff-Lyon, vice president of events and education, RIMS. “How can you as a risk manager ‘go big’ in your organization and in your life? Our programming and design is meant to make attendees think about how they can make the most of this opportunity and apply what they learn to make a real difference.”

This year, the conference will provide attendees with a “journey journal” so they can take notes throughout sessions and meetings on how to apply takeaways to better themselves professionally and personally. They’ll have a lot to think about as the conference this year is focusing on topical issues like diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment, and disaster recovery and resiliency.

Diverse and Inclusive

“We’re starting to look at diversity and inclusion issues a lot more than we have in the past. I take these ideas very seriously as part of the overall experience we want to provide. Data tells us, and we can see for ourselves, how important diversity and inclusion are to our next generation of risk leaders,” Ruff-Lyon said.

Sunday afternoon will see the first ever “diversity inclusion meetup,” where participants can join small breakout groups and have discussions led by a professional facilitator around issues in diversity.

“It’s going to be a safe space for people to discuss sensitive issues and for allies who want more information,” Ruff-Lyon said. “We’ll see what comes out of the discussion and hopefully produce additional content or get new ideas on how we do things at the conference. We’re trying to chart a new course for RIMS, so we can be more diverse and inclusive.”

The selection of keynote speakers underscores a dedication to diversity in age, race and gender.

Opening speaker Alex Sheen, a millennial, reaches across generations with a message of honoring commitments. Sheen is the founder of “because I said I would,” a nonprofit that seeks to better humanity through making and keeping promises.

Stuart Ruff-Lyon, vice president of events and education, RIMS

“That’s a very powerful message that ties back into our goal to encourage risk professionals to follow through on what they learn here at the conference and apply it back home,” Ruff-Lyon said.

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, the nation’s first African-American female fighter pilot, will speak at Monday afternoon’s awards luncheon about how to overcome internal obstacles and mental blocks to achieve greatness and exceed expectations.

“And Jay Leno is for laughs,” Ruff-Lyon said, speaking about the conference’s closing speaker. “It helps to lighten things up and finish on a high note when you’ve had an exhausting four days.”

And while keynote speeches are aimed at high-level messaging and motivation, this year’s educational sessions take deeper dives into the issues facing risk managers today.

Targeting Topical Issues

“We spent more time developing ‘hot topic’ ideas this year, trying to keep them topical and relevant. We have a session on sexual harassment in the workplace, for example. If you’re a risk manager that works for a company that faces a scandal, what do you do? This is a big issue facing every industry,” Ruff-Lyon said.

Some claims management sessions will also focus on the fallout from Harvey, Irma and Maria, and how organizations can proactively align resources to shorten recovery time and keep claims moving post-disaster.

“We’re still continuing to educate risk professionals about the impact of drones, driverless cars, etc. Artificial intelligence and robotics have been added to the lineup as well as they become more and more disruptive,” Ruff-Lyon said. “We always try to make sure that at least 30 percent of what people are seeing and experiencing is new to keep it interesting and different and fresh.”

RIMS relies on attendee feedback to inform session selection, as well as an independent scoring committee comprised of senior-level risk professionals from various industries. The committee reviews session proposals blind, with no knowledge of who submitted them or who the speakers will be. In addition to content quality, they focus on uniqueness.

Ruff-Lyon said the goal is to mix in new topics — or new angles on old topics — to spur creative thinking and provide a more well-rounded educational experience. In line with that goal, conference organizers this year added a new experience dubbed the “Innovation Hub.”

“I don’t think people are aware of all we do to protect attendees, but I think it will provide peace of mind to know that we are taking extra precautions.”— Stuart Ruff-Lyon, vice president of events and education, RIMS

“The Innovation Hub will feature 20-minute TED-style talks on different topics. Monday will focus on emerging risks, Tuesday will focus on claims management and Wednesday’s topic is cyber risk,” Ruff-Lyon said.

RIMS also revamped the experience for attendees visiting the exhibit hall. Now dubbed “RIMS HQ,” the area has doubled in size and comprises the Wellness Zenter, Thought Leader Theater, a publication stand, an opportunity to get a complimentary professional headshot, on-hand consultants ready to analyze résumés or LinkedIn profiles, and a quiet lounge reserved for members.

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Oh, and puppies for stress relief.

“We’ve redesigned the entire experience inside the exhibit hall,” Ruff-Lyon said.

Safety and security will also be stepped up this year — one part of the experience that should be imperceptible to attendees.

“We are adding a lot of increased security measures around the event. We always have a police presence as well as plain-clothes officers, but in the past two years we’ve had bomb-sniffing dogs on our loading docks, and this year we added random wand and bag searches,” Ruff-Lyon said.

“I don’t think people are aware of all we do to protect attendees, but I think it will provide peace of mind to know that we are taking extra precautions.”

Things to Do

But not everything is new. Community service projects will take place throughout the show for those able to participate. One on-site opportunity includes assembling care packages for soldiers, veterans and their families, benefitting the charity Soldiers’ Angels.

The anticipated 10,000 to 11,000 attendees and exhibitors also have plenty to explore around San Antonio.

“It’s very walkable, very friendly,” Ruff-Lyon said. In addition to the iconic River Walk, the city also boasts scenic walking trails, a vibrant food scene, canal tours and the historic San Antonio Missions. &

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Insurtech

Kiss Your Annual Renewal Goodbye; On-Demand Insurance Challenges the Traditional Policy

Gig workers' unique insurance needs drive delivery of on-demand coverage.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 6 min read

The gig economy is growing. Nearly six million Americans, or 3.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, now have “contingent” work arrangements, with a further 10.6 million in categories such as independent contractors, on-call workers or temporary help agency staff and for-contract firms, often with well-known names such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

The number of Americans owning a drone is also increasing — one recent survey suggested as much as one in 12 of the population — sparking vigorous debate on how regulation should apply to where and when the devices operate.

Add to this other 21st century societal changes, such as consumers’ appetite for other electronic gadgets and the advent of autonomous vehicles. It’s clear that the cover offered by the annually renewable traditional insurance policy is often not fit for purpose. Helped by the sophistication of insurance technology, the response has been an expanding range of ‘on-demand’ covers.

The term ‘on-demand’ is open to various interpretations. For Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO of pioneering on-demand insurance platform Trōv, it’s about “giving people agency over the items they own and enabling them to turn on insurance cover whenever they want for whatever they want — often for just a single item.”

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“On-demand represents a whole new behavior and attitude towards insurance, which for years has very much been a case of ‘get it and forget it,’ ” said Walchek.

Trōv’s mobile app enables users to insure just a single item, such as a laptop, whenever they wish and to also select the period of cover required. When ready to buy insurance, they then snap a picture of the sales receipt or product code of the item they want covered.

Welcoming Trōv: A New On-Demand Arrival

While Walchek, who set up Trōv in 2012, stressed it’s a technology company and not an insurance company, it has attracted industry giants such as AXA and Munich Re as partners. Trōv began the U.S. roll-out of its on-demand personal property products this summer by launching in Arizona, having already established itself in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Australia and the UK were great testing grounds, thanks to their single regulatory authorities,” said Walchek. “Trōv is already approved in 45 states, and we expect to complete the process in all by November.

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group.” – Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group,” he added.

“But a mass of tectonic societal shifts is also impacting older generations — on-demand cover fits the new ways in which they work, particularly the ‘untethered’ who aren’t always in the same workplace or using the same device. So we see on-demand going into societal lifestyle changes.”

Wooing Baby Boomers

In addition to its backing for Trōv, across the Atlantic, AXA has partnered with Insurtech start-up By Miles, launching a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy in the UK. The product is promoted as low-cost car insurance for drivers who travel no more than 140 miles per week, or 7,000 miles annually.

“Due to the growing need for these products, companies such as Marmalade — cover for learner drivers — and Cuvva — cover for part-time drivers — have also increased in popularity, and we expect to see more enter the market in the near future,” said AXA UK’s head of telematics, Katy Simpson.

Simpson confirmed that the new products’ initial appeal is to younger motorists, who are more regular users of new technology, while older drivers are warier about sharing too much personal information. However, she expects this to change as on-demand products become more prevalent.

“Looking at mileage-based insurance, such as By Miles specifically, it’s actually older generations who are most likely to save money, as the use of their vehicles tends to decline. Our job is therefore to not only create more customer-centric products but also highlight their benefits to everyone.”

Another Insurtech ready to partner with long-established names is New York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK is working with Legal & General to enter the homeshare insurance market, recently announcing that XL Catlin will use its insurance cloud services platform to create the world’s first on-demand cyber insurance solution.

“For our cyber product, we were looking for a partner on the fintech side, which dovetailed perfectly with what Slice was trying to do,” said John Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber insurance team.

“The premise of selling cyber insurance to small businesses needs a platform such as that provided by Slice — we can get to customers in a discrete, seamless manner, and the partnership offers potential to open up other products.”

Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added: “You can roll up on-demand cover in many different areas, ranging from contract workers to vacation rentals.

“The next leap forward will be provided by the new economy, which will create a range of new risks for on-demand insurance to respond to. McKinsey forecasts that by 2025, ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global premium revenue.

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“When you’re a start-up, you can innovate and question long-held assumptions, but you don’t have the scale that an insurer can provide,” said Attia. “Our platform works well in getting new products out to the market and is scalable.”

Slice Labs is now reviewing the emerging markets, which aren’t hampered by “old, outdated infrastructures,” and plans to test the water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.

Collaboration Vs Competition

Insurtech-insurer collaborations suggest that the industry noted the banking sector’s experience, which names the tech disruptors before deciding partnerships, made greater sense commercially.

“It’s an interesting correlation,” said Slice’s managing director for marketing, Emily Kosick.

“I believe the trend worth calling out is that the window for insurers to innovate is much shorter, thanks to the banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile devices and, more recently, intelligent assistants like Alexa for personal banking.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.”

As with fintechs in banking, Insurtechs initially focused on the retail segment, with 75 percent of business in personal lines and the remainder in the commercial segment.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.” — Emily Kosick, managing director, marketing, Slice

Those proportions may be set to change, with innovations such as digital commercial insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent launch of the first digital D&O liability insurance policy, designed for venture capital-backed tech start-ups and reinsured by Munich Re.

Embroker said coverage that formerly took weeks to obtain is now available instantly.

“We focus on three main issues in developing new digital business — what is the customer’s pain point, what is the expense ratio and does it lend itself to algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is another obvious class of insurance that can benefit from this approach.”

Jason Griswold, co-founder and chief operating officer of Insurtech REIN, highlighted further opportunities: “I’d add a third category to personal and business lines and that’s business-to-business-to-consumer. It’s there we see the biggest opportunities for partnering with major ecosystems generating large numbers of insureds and also big volumes of data.”

For now, insurers are accommodating Insurtech disruption. Will that change?

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“Insurtechs have focused on products that regulators can understand easily and for which there is clear existing legislation, with consumer protection and insurer solvency the two issues of paramount importance,” noted Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law firm Akin Gump.

“In time, we could see the disruptors partner with reinsurers rather than primary carriers. Another possibility is the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with their massive balance sheets, deciding to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.

“You can imagine one of them finding a good Insurtech and buying it, much as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave it entry into the retail sector.” &

Graham Buck is a UK-based writer and has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since 1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.