Rebuilding In-Person Insurance Industry Events: What Happened at IRMI’s 41st Annual Construction Risk Conference

This year's IRMI Construction Risk Conference featured 37 sessions and 67 speakers. This was the first in-person event since live events were put on hold due to the pandemic.
By: | December 2, 2021
Topics: Construction

Construction and risk management professionals gathered in San Diego Nov. 7-10 for the 41st annual IRMI Construction Risk Conference.

The in-person event sold out with just over 870 registrants. Another 529 professionals secured a virtual attendance slot.

“It was great being back in person with the leaders in construction risk and insurance,” said IRMI president and CEO Jack Gibson.

“It felt like everybody who is anybody in construction risk was there, and everyone was very upbeat and ready to learn and network. Attendees I spoke with raved about the variety of topics covered and the quality of the educational sessions. Personally, I’m happy to see the country resuming some level of normalcy.”

Educational Sessions Appealed to Many Interests

This year’s event featured 67 speakers spread over 37 sessions with two general keynotes. Sessions ranged from cyber insurance to climate change risks to change management.

IRMI also hosted a boot camp at the conference and a pre-conference seminar. Attendees seeking continuing education credits could obtain six hours for their Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS) renewal or certification.

Jack Gibson, president and CEO, IRMI

“With the help of our industry advisory board, it is our goal to exceed expectations in terms of content provided, networking opportunities and overall conference experience,” said Ann Hickman, assistant vice president at IRMI.

“We are never content to rest on past success and are actively listening to customers to ensure they can meet their objectives at the conference.”

While most educational sessions lasted an hour, the event also featured SnapTalks — 15-minute quick-hit sessions meant to whet the appetite and provide a 30,000-foot view. Less formal than regular sessions, conference-goers could wander in and out of the SnapTalk room at their leisure, staying for one or all of the talks.

For some attendees, this was their first in-person event since before the pandemic. The excitement was felt throughout the networking and keynote sessions and around the conference hotel.

IRMI took over part of the Gaslight District with parties and sessions hosted by sponsors.

Welcome signs from sponsors greeted attendees as they drove down Harbor Drive to the conference hotel; construction projects in the city were visible all around the bay, highlighting the importance of the construction risk industry.

Nice benefits and extras abounded, from the gourmet latte bar sponsored by AXA to the comfortable seating and power stations provided by The Hartford. Attendees could contribute to the good works project to raise funds for a local San Diego charity or join friends for an early morning workout at the Hard Market Hustle 5K fun run/walk.

Keynote Sessions Focused on Diversity, Future of Industry

Conference attendees gathered as a full group for two keynote sessions during the event. The first keynote, “Climbing Out of the Hole: Building Toward the Future While Facing Today’s Challenges,” kicked off the conference on the first day.

Speaker Jes Pederson, president and chief executive officer of Webcor, spoke about the challenges facing the industry today. He also discussed the future, noting the construction industry is ready for change and innovation.

Ann Hickman, assistant vice president, IRMI

Risha Grant, founder and CEO of Risha Grant LLC, headlined the second keynote. Her topic was “Get Rid of the BS,” sponsored by Liberty Mutual. Grant focused on implicit bias and how society can recognize and address bias internally and externally.

Grant inspired participants to think differently and to approach their own biases with a new way to examine and overcome them. Filled with audience interaction through polls, this lively keynote was a popular crowd-pleaser.

Both keynote sessions showcased the opportunities for the future of the industry, highlighted by a focus on continued learning and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Construction insurance is such a dynamic and challenging business, and it was exciting to have so many leaders and experts willing to share their knowledge and insight with others in the industry. If you are not learning, then you are missing the opportunity to be the best version of yourself,” said Joel Appelbaum, IRMI’s chief content officer.

IRMI Events Through the Year

In addition to its Construction Risk Conference, IRMI sponsors three other industry events annually to appeal to various interests:

Join IRMI CRC 2022!

Watch for details about next year’s CRC coming soon. This year’s in-person event sold out, so you may need to get your tickets early if you want to attend the live conference in 2022. &

Abi Potter Clough, MBA, CPCU, is a keynote speaker, author and business consultant focused on Insurtech, leadership and strategy. She has over 15 years of experience at a Fortune 500 company with expertise in P&C claims operational leadership, lean management consulting, digital communications and Insurtech. As the past chair of the International Insurance Interest Group of the CPCU Society, Abi remains involved in many international initiatives and projects. She has published two books about change management and relocation. Abi can be reached at [email protected].

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