Risk Management Reports

February, 2004
Volume 31, No. 2
 
Risk Management Resources

Since I started Risk Management Reports in 1974, I’ve tried to follow and comment on the contributions to our developing discipline made by associations, universities, conferences, discussion groups, periodicals, books, and, more recently, websites. I’ve posted summaries of my suggestions on the Useful Information page of our website (www.riskreports.com). Last November, the participants in the Council of Risk Management, a North American semi-annual discussion group sponsored by The Conference Board of Canada, asked me to prepare a grand summary of risk management resources. Unsurprisingly, I found, with the help of many of my readers, a cornucopia of materials, ranging widely in content, style and value. This issue presents the conclusions of this effort. I admit that it is a personal view. It is not all encompassing: it is limited to those resources that I have read, used and find of significant value. It is deliberately multidisciplinary, as I believe strongly that the future of the discipline lies in our ability to reach out to all practitioners to enrich our own work. And, of course, as this list is out of date the moment it is published, I intend to modify it continuously. It is posted on the “Useful Information” page of the website.

Many of us fall into the trap of reading too narrowly. We think we are overwhelmed by direct responsibilities and must read only materials directly pertinent to our daily work. We also tend to select those writers who support our predilections, avoiding those who challenge what we support. That’s dangerous! In a rapidly changing and closely interconnected world, we need to listen to contrary voices. This is especially true in risk management, where numerous sub-specialties compete for attention and pre-eminence. Is risk management a child of safety and health, of public policy, of finance, of insurance, of engineering, or of auditing? Each contributed to its growth but none is the dominant player. That’s why we need to read and research more broadly, listening to all these different voices clamoring for attention.

Risk managers should ask hard questions of any tapped resource.

    Is it reliable? Does the material offer value to practitioners in public policy, finance, safety, security, insurance, etc? Do the authors know what they are talking about?

    Is it easy to access? Is the writing free from the prevailing and atrocious business jargon and clichés clogging our communication channels? Clarity of expression is essential.

    What is its cost, if any? Are its issues and conditions up-to-date? Does it have timeless qualities that give it permanent value?

    Is it concerned with both strategic and tactical issues?
    Does it address my particular problems and, at the same time, the larger issues of my own and other organizations?

    Finally, does it challenge my thinking? Materials and ideas that support only preconceived conclusions are dangerous.

My resource list for 2004 is made up of associations, academic centers, conferences, discussion groups, websites, periodicals, and books. Please let me know if I’ve overlooked any of your particular favorites.

 Associations

These are groups of risk management practitioners that focus on various aspects of risk practice. Most are membership organizations that require annual dues. It’s important to understand the issues and ideas of groups outside our own.

     AIRMIC Association of Insurance & Risk Managers (insurance UK) www.airmic.com

    ARIA American Risk & Insurance Association (academic North America) www.aria.org

    ASSE American Society of Safety Engineers (safety) www.asse.org

    CAS Casualty Actuarial Society (insurance North America) www.casact.org

    CIRANO Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche en Analyse des Organisations (Canada) www.cirano.qc.ca

    FERMA Federation of European Risk Management Associations (insurance) www.ferma-asso.org also connected to IFRIMA, the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations

    FEI Financial Executives Institute (finance North America) www.fei.org

    GARP Global Association of Risk Professionals (global finance) www.garp.com

    IIA Institute of Internal Auditors (audit/control, governance) www.theiia.org

    IRM Institute of Risk Management (insurance global) www.theirm.org

    NACD National Association of Corporate Directors (governance North America) www.nacdonline.org

    PRIMA Public Risk Management Association (insurance US) www.primacentral.org

    PRMIA Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (global finance) www.prmia.org (pronounced “premia”)

    RAPA Risk Assessment & Policy Association (global public policy) www.piercelaw.edu/risk/rapa.htm

    RIMA Risk Management Institution of Australasia (insurance)

    RMA Risk Management Association (credit) www.rmahq.org

    RIMS Risk & Insurance Management Society (insurance North America) www.rims.org and its international counterpart, IFRIMA)

    SOA Society of Actuaries (actuarial North America) (www.soa.org) SRA Society for Risk Analysis (global public policy) www.sra.org

Academic Centers

While more than 100 colleges and universities around the world teach various forms of risk management, only a few operate separate“ centers” on the subject. Many of these produce free newsletters and periodic papers.

Conferences

Periodic gatherings of those interested in risk management often produce challenging papers as well as the opportunity to share ideas with compatriots. One problem with conferences is that some have become too heavily commercialized with vendor sponsors and trade exhibits, reducing the value and the credibility of their content.

    Conference Board (New York): annual Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) conference (fall)

    Conference Board of Canada: annual ERM conference (spring)

    FERMA: annual conference in Europe in fall

    GARP: annual meeting in New York, February

    IIA: annual ERM conference (late summer)

    NoRMaC: annual Risk Institutes (fall – Washington)

    PRMIA: emphasis on local chapter meetings; ERM conference in spring

    RIMA: annual conference (Australasia, in fall)

    RIMS: four day annual conference (April); Canadian conference (fall); also local chapter meetings

    RiskWaters: periodic commercial conferences

    SOA: annual meeting (spring)

    SRA: annual meeting (late fall)

Discussion Groups

This grouping includes interactive discussion sites for practicing risk managers. Using the facilities of the Internet, many risk managers are developing their own small, focused, discussion groups. This is one of the fastest-growing and most useful low-cost mechanisms for sharing problems and solutions.

 

Websites

Both commercial and nonprofit websites offer considerable information on risk management topics, including extensive links to other organizations. Association websites top this list (see above).

Periodicals

What to read regularly? These are my personal choices, covering a broad band of periodicals. In addition there are many other publications devoted specifically to tactics such as credit management, hedges, derivatives, insurance, foreign exchange, emergency planning, security, safety & health, etc.

Daily

Weekly

Semi-monthly, Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly

 Books

The number of books on risk management has exploded in the last five years. Look for those that stand the test of time: books to which you refer several times a year and portions of which you reread occasionally. Here is my personal starting list:

    Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, (1997): Easily tops this list in terms of value and prose quality.

    John Adams, Risk, (1995)

    Peter Schwartz, The Art of the Long View, (1991)

    Vernon Grose, Managing Risk: Systematic Loss Prevention for Executives, (1986)

    David McNamee and Georges Selim, Risk Management: Changing the Internal Auditor’s Paradigm, (1998)

    Vlasta Molak, Editor, Fundamentals of Risk Analysis and Risk Management,(1997)

    Douglas Hoffman, Managing Operational Risk, (2002)

    Carol Alexander, Operational Risk: Regulation, Analysis & Management (2003)

    Harold Skipper, Editor, International Risk and Insurance, (1998)

    Robert J. Shiller, The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century (2003)

    William Leiss, In the Chamber of Risks: Understanding Risk Controversies (2001)

    George Head and Melanie Herman, Enlightened Risk Taking, (2002)

    James Lam, Enterprise Risk Management, (2003)

    Kristin S. Shrader-Frechette, Risk and Rationality: Philosophical Foundations for Populist Reform (2000)

    Edward Tenner, Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences, (1996)

And finally, a book that is essential for anyone using English as the primary means of written and oral communication, a perfect example of the “timeless” book:

    William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, (1979)

 For other suggested books, see:

Optimists and pessimists curiously agree that crisis is good for us, but for different reasons. Pessimists welcome emergency as a violent cure for profligacy. Optimists welcome it as an injection of innovatory stimulus.

Edward Tenner, "Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences," Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1996

Copyright 2004, by H. Felix Kloman and Seawrack Press, Inc.

Return to RMR Table of Contents
RiskINFO Home Page
Additional Topics This Month and Archives