Risk Insider: Martin Frappolli

What’s Your Education Risk Management Policy?

By: | October 23, 2014 • 2 min read

Martin J. Frappolli, CPCU, FIDM, AIC, is Senior Director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes, and editor of the organization's new “Managing Cyber Risk” textbook. He can be reached at [email protected]

One common theme among our industry’s educational conferences is a focus on the future, from discussing what insurance and risk management professionals should know about increasingly complex automotive technologies to what the industry is doing to address long-term demographic trends.

I always look forward to these sessions, as I do any opportunity to learn from colleagues and industry experts, because it seems as if our profession is changing more, and faster, than ever.

This pace of technological change and the exponential increase of data are leading to unforeseen challenges and opportunities. It’s amazing, but has the potential to be scary for the unprepared.

Consider the companies that didn’t fully understand the risks of firms like Uber and Lyft and turned away their business; some regulators still struggle with the sharing economy concept.

Think of the agencies whose clients were vulnerable because they didn’t research the details of cyber risk until after there was a data breach.

Imagine how many organizations out there are exposed to possible failures and inefficiencies because leadership isn’t aware of fundamental enterprise risk management (ERM) practices.

So what could be done, then, to prepare for the as-yet-unnamed challenges of the future? Quite simply, plan to stay educated.

There should be a conscious, proactive effort to assess what types of information a company needs to be successful, and to put a structure in place to make sure employees are getting that information.

For keeping team members up-to-date on the latest market developments, organizations need a formal strategy that goes beyond traditional in-house training or tuition reimbursement.

Just like they need an ERM plan to assess the insurable and non-insurable risks they face, they need education risk management to address the risks posed by having uninformed professionals. Let’s call it an Ed-RM plan.

From a high level, education risk management would ensure that new employees are brought up to speed quickly and thoroughly during the onboarding process and would also lay out a plan for the ongoing maintenance of their expertise.

It doesn’t mean that organizations have to mandate that employees pursue advanced degrees or designations, although encouraging them to do so would certainly be an effective way to make sure there are capable leaders waiting in the wings.

What it does mean is that there should be a conscious, proactive effort to assess what types of information a company needs to be successful, and to put a structure in place to make sure employees are getting that information.

Of course, all the current ways we learn new ideas and technical skills would fit into this plan.

Attending conferences, networking with colleagues, pursuing continuing education, and even reading industry publications like this one are valuable tactics for continuous learning.

But an Ed-RM plan would establish a strategy. If we aren’t constantly discovering new skills and improving our training in an industry changing as quickly ours, then we are falling behind.

The smartest and most successful businesses are those that recognize lack of learning as a risk and learn to manage it.

Read all of Martin Frappolli’s Risk Insider contributions.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]