Everything You Need to Know About RIMS 2020

The conference will touch on topics including climate change and cyber security that are expected to have a major impact on the industry.
By: | March 9, 2020

3/16/2020 UPDATE: Due to the spread of  COVID-19, federal and local governments have enacted restrictions on large-scale gatherings. Because of these precautions, RIMS has decided to cancel its 2020 conference in Denver. Here is an FAQ list the society pulled together for those interested in learning more. Below is an interview Risk & Insurance conducted prior to cancellation.

More than 10,000 risk managers, brokers, underwriters and vendors will be gathering in Denver in May for the Risk Management Society’s annual conference.

The event, slated for May 3 through May 6 at the Colorado Convention Center, abounds with opportunities to learn about the latest strategies in risk management, generate new ideas, dive into a broad range of risk-related topics and test-drive new technologies.

Top Keynote Speakers and Sessions to See

The conference is celebrating its 75th year and is expected to draw attendees from more than 70 countries. It will also feature more than 400 exhibitors and more than 300 speakers.

The conference will also feature a trio of keynote speakers.

Debra Jasper, founder and CEO of Mindset Digital, who uses her passion for storytelling to help professionals capture attention in a distracted digital age, will kick off the conference at 8 a.m. May 4. Jasper is known for tracking mega trends, micro trends and cultural shifts that can spur digital transformations. She will examine three mandates for doing business in the digital age and how to overcome major obstacles that stand between companies and their customers.

Kai Kight, a classically trained violinist, composer and speaker, will share original music and the story of how he became an innovative composer in a field of conformity. Kight, whose clients include the Walt Disney Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Seattle Seahawks, will discuss his method for innovation at noon on May 4 at the RIMS Awards and Recognition Luncheon.

Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist and author Ronan Farrow will address attendees at the conference finale at 3 p.m. May 6. He is renowned for his 2017 New Yorker articles that helped uncover allegations of sexual abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

But while the keynotes are intriguing, Steven Levine, vice president of risk management at Circus Trix Holdings in Denver, wants to learn about the latest in insurance markets: “Mainly, I attend the conference in hopes of learning updates in the insurance markets and risk mitigation processes through networking and educational sessions,” he said.

There also will be sessions to help attendees develop their careers and about how the industry as a whole can better develop by, for instance, encouraging diversity at all levels.

High-Interest Risk Topics Abound

Areas of risk that Levine is most concerned about are the economic slowdown and the apparent diminishing capacity in reinsurance markets.

“The convolution of slowing economies with increased insurance pricing could create an avalanche effect in which the economic constraints are further amplified and gain traction over the next few years,” he said.

Climate change is another concern.

“Global warning, to the extent that 97% of scientists are not wrong, is changing the global landscape relative to the need for catastrophic and wide-scale crisis and business interruption planning,” he added.

John Farley, managing director of the cyber liability practice, Gallagher

John Farley, managing director of the cyber liability practice at Gallagher, looks forward to connecting with other industry leaders.

“The RIMS conference attracts some of the best and the brightest in the industry, and it’s always great to be in the same room with those individuals,” he said. “The networking and information sharing is unprecedented at this conference. I look forward to fostering greater relationships within not only my own organization, but also with risk managers, vendors and others who are aligned to mitigate cyber risks.”

He added that RIMS sessions are a source of information that isn’t so readily available elsewhere: “These sessions at RIMS are led by experts in their field,” he explained. “The speakers are well-educated in their fields and will provide valuable information to the audience.”

Farley himself will be speaking during a session entitled, “Cyberattack Simulation: Our Data is Held Hostage — Now What,” which will feature a cyber attack simulation. The session is slated for 9:30 a.m. on May 5.

“Simply put, a ransomware attack can shut down a multi-billion dollar company in a millisecond with one click of a mouse,” Farley said.
Costs related to these crimes are increasing and risk managers need to be aware, he added.

“Ransomware is no longer the smash-and-grab crime that costs a company $10,000,” he said. “It has evolved in a frightening way. These attacks are focused, calculated and complex. The perpetrators penetrate a network and move laterally for perhaps months at a time before being discovered.”

He believes the simulated attack within the session will help prepare attendees to make the best possible decisions if they are confronted with an attack. “Ultimately, their decisions can be the difference between a good day and a catastrophic day,” he said.

Another attendee, Emily Cummins, director of risk management for The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., wants to learn more about how good governance — the leadership and management ethics that guide an organization — can help an organization continue to flourish despite the potential threats it faces.

“Many storms could be listed [that impact organizations], but good governance determines which ones can be weathered,” she said.

“The profession of risk management prizes corporate ethics or integrity as the lodestar of any enterprise. When something goes wrong, people always demand ‘Where was risk management?’ The answer is ‘desperately trying to make a difference.’ ”

Sessions that might draw Cummins’ interest include “Advising Leadership About Protecting the Business Against Emerging Directors and Officers Exposures;” “Engage the C-Suite: Leveraging Risk-Related Thought Leadership;” and “Becoming a Trusted Advisor to Your Leadership.”

Cummins also anticipates engaging with other professionals: “In my experience, RIMS thoughtfully designs these events toward the sort of tough dialogues that really challenge a risk professional to ask, ‘What are you protecting? What are you fighting for?’ ”

Such discussions can spur attendees to consider their missions as risk management professionals in good times and bad. “Ultimately you have to live with yourself and whether you have made the world a better or worse place,” she said. “And almost any risk professional can look good during the good times, such as a soft market, but how risk leaders respond during hard times should demonstrate character.”

Cummins also looks forward to interacting with students and young professionals who are the future of the industry: “When we listen to student presenters, we hear the voices of people who will solve today’s impossible challenges in a better future.” &

Annemarie Mannion is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance