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as this list is out of date the moment it is published, I intend to modify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.
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)
CAS Casualty Actuarial Society (insurance North America)
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
FEI Financial Executives Institute (finance North America)
GARP Global Association of Risk Professionals (global
IIA Institute of Internal Auditors (audit/control,
IRM Institute of Risk Management (insurance global)
NACD National Association of Corporate Directors (governance
North America) www.nacdonline.org
PRIMA Public Risk Management Association (insurance
PRMIA Professional Risk Managers’ International
Association (global finance) www.prmia.org
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
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.
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 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
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)
includes interactive discussion sites for practicing risk managers.
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
mechanisms for sharing problems and solutions.
and nonprofit websites offer considerable information on risk management
topics, including extensive links to other organizations. Association
websites top this list (see above).
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.
Semi-monthly, Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly
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,
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
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