The New Risk Management Education

Between trying to tune out the heart-rending sobs of the manager whose unit was surcharged by your cost allocation formula and meditating on the comp claim by the safety manager who hurt his back demonstrating safe lifting techniques, have you ever wondered what colleges are now teaching in risk management?

This wonder can be resolved by examining the catalog of the Ruritanian Institute of Risk Management, a recently formed educational establishment in Northwest Ruritania. Here is a sampling of their courses, as described in the catalog.

English 142. Insurance Policy Dissection and Analysis. A heuristic journey into the arcane world of policy wordsmanship. Many 100-page specimens are viewed with special attention to terms of art such as “occurrence,” “property damage,” and “the.” Not recommended for those with queasy stomachs.

Statistics 115. Actuarial Analysis of Claims by Lithuanians. A penetrating investigation into the Bonhoffer Theory of Past Contingencies (named after its creator, Leonard J. Waxdeck). The subset of Lithuanians is selected for study because their extreme scarcity greatly simplifies the analysis.

Management 122. Intermediary Disintermediation. Borrowing a term from finance to represent replacing an old broker by a new one, our Emeritus Professor of Logomachy has prepared a psychologically penetrating workshop wherein brokers are measured by 683 criteria, each weighted by 295 10-point factors, creating 2,014,850 possible points. Not usable in the real world, but impressive to many managers.

English 101. Report Writing. The overarching importance of clear, crystalline, pellucid, as well as concise, pithy, terse, straightforward writing to the success and ultimate business triumph and grandiloquent accomplishment of a risk manager can not be overstated. In the words of our placement officer, “It’s not who you know in the world that counts. It’s whom.”

Management 255. Litigation Management. A lab course. Each student will be supplied a live lawyer, carefully hypnotized by an expert to be honestly responsive to the questioner. Students ask their lawyer probing questions, such as “How is it possible to bill 84 hours in one day?” or “Why do 30-minute depositions take 6 hours?” The lawyer is then brought out of the trance, everyone has a good laugh, and the student has a book full of useful notes.

Finance 301. Captive Insurance Companies. Explores the desirability of risk financing through captive insurance companies. Guest lecturers include Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism, Hawaii’s Commissioner of Golf, and the Cayman Island’s Director of Scuba Diving.

Management 112. Typing for Executives. The growing use of keyboard machines by executives makes touch typing an important skill. For the student’s image protection, the course title is shown as Projects in Advanced Decision-Making. Entry to the windowless typing rooms is through double doors with armed guards to repel the curious.

Humanities 101. World Culture. Departing, as is the scholarly trend today, from the culture of dead, white, European males, this course takes an epistemological view of deconstructive scholarship, where “meaning” may be either nothing at all or everything at once, which is the same thing. The semiotic theory of affirmative negativity is contrasted with negative affirmation. Pre-requisite: suspension of critical thought.