Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Education is everything–Nicholas Bailey
Airmic is turning its attention to learning and development as the role of risk management broadens, according to the association’s incoming chairman, Nicholas Bailey. Stuart Collins reports.
Incoming Airmic chairman, Nicholas Bailey
The Association of Insurance and Risk Managers is doing a good job of addressing the key insurance and risk management issues, but it could be doing more to help members with the developing role of risk management in UK business.
“Airmic pretty much has the technical side of insurance and risk management nailed down and is responding to the issues raised by our members in the steering groups. But the area requiring more focus is in learning and development,” said Mr Bailey, who is also risk manager at BBA Aviation, a UK-based aviation services and aftermarket support provider.
Recent efforts by Airmic have been aimed at raising the profile of insurance and risk management among UK business, in particular at board level. Last year the association published its Roads to Ruin study, which identified seven common causes of business failure. It is now working with the Institute of Directors on a guide to risk management for senior executives.
The Roads to Ruin study has given Airmic much greater visibility in the wider business world, said Mr Bailey. “As senior executives learn more about the role of risk management it enhances the position of risk managers in their businesses,” he said.
Mr Bailey has spent much of his working life as an insurance manager—in contrast to the outgoing chairman Paul Taylor, who has more experience of enterprise risk management. The two men represent differing roles for risk management, and illustrate one of the big challenges for Airmic—to find a balance between serving the needs of its insurance risk management members and the broader discipline of enterprise risk management.
During his year as chairman of Airmic, Mr Taylor has highlighted the need for risk management to develop into a profession in its own right, including the need for a professional qualification with wider recognition than the current offerings from the Institute of Risk Management and the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Mr Bailey says that he will continue Mr Taylor’s work, and is particularly supportive of the 10-year strategy project he began. “I have been involved through my role as deputy chair in developing the 10-year plan and I will build on Paul’s work and look to improve and develop the plan over time,” he said.
In particular, Mr Bailey is keen to focus on improving the association’s learning and development offerings to help members fulfil their organisation’s needs as demand for risk management increases.
“My goal as Airmic chair will be to look at ways to improve the Airmic Academy. It has been hugely popular and successful since its launch in 2009, but I feel that there is a lot more we can do with it,” said Mr Bailey.
Many insurance risk managers are finding opportunities to make the broader aspects of risk management part of their roles, he said. But there are also other professions that focus on strategic or enterprise risk management, such as accountants, legal and treasury.
“Risk management is an ungainly beast with many interested parties,” said Mr Bailey. “Airmic, with its roots in insurance and operational risk management, may not be the organisation that comes to represent risk management in its broadest sense. But we have expertise in the insurance piece of risk management, and a foot in the door when it comes to enterprise risk management,” he said.
Insurance and operational risk managers have a lot to contribute, but a company’s approach to risk management will depend on its business and culture, said Mr Bailey. For example risk management may be centralised under a chief risk officer or there may be many individuals with responsibility for risk reporting to the chief executive.
“Learning and development needs to reflect that one size does not fit all. There are many different models of what a company’s risk management will look like, but greater training and development opens the doors to more opportunities,” he said.
Airmic has established a learning and development steering group, to complement the existing risk management and insurance steering groups. Headed by Patrick Smith, risk manager at Hertz, the group is currently taking soundings of members needs in order to deliver.
“The steering groups help focus Airmic’s attention and deliver what is needed by the membership. Airmic is very good at providing risk and insurance managers with technical guidance, but I feel that we are not supporting members adequately in the wider role they play in their businesses and the tools they need to get their message across to senior management,” said Mr Bailey.
He would like to see the academy provide more risk management training, which currently accounts for just over 40% of courses.
“The academy has proved a success but its scope needs broadening,” said Mr Bailey. “It is currently too focussed on insurance and I would like to see it extended more into enterprise risk management and broader risk management,” he said.
The Airmic Academy can provide good examples of best practices in ERM and look at positive stories where risk management has worked, said Mr Bailey.
The current structure of academy courses are a real strength, but new providers could bring additional benefits to members, said Mr Bailey. “The beauty of the academy is the interaction between the risk managers attending the course.
But we will need to find additional providers to meet the demands of the membership,” he said.
“We have filled the need for insurance partners but there are opportunities for alliances outside the immediate insurance arena, such as business consultants and accountancy firms, as well as potential greater interaction with organisations like the Institute of Directors,” said Mr Bailey.
The learning and development steering group will also look at how best to obtain professional recognition for risk managers, including the most appropriate professional qualifications.“A part of a risk manager’s armoury is getting recognition through qualifications, such as through the IRM and the CII. These are still based on risk and insurance management, and the jury is still out on whether a professional ERM qualification is achievable.”
Mr Bailey has been active in Airmic for over 15 years, but at 52 he has a relatively young outlook. “Although I am not a great deal younger than past chairs of Airmic, the organisation is getting younger overall and the membership is broadening. We are putting more effort into bringing on new risk managers, and are actively seeking the involvement in committees of those just embarking on, or midway through, their risk management careers,” he said.
Airmic members are getting a good deal from the insurance sector, but that will not last for ever, said Mr Bailey.
“Generally risk managers are getting good value in the soft insurance market. They are comfortable with pricing but there is growing concern that the market will have to turn eventually. The US market is already turning for certain perils, and in some cases this has been material,” he said.
“If and when the market does turn, Airmic will be there to support and advise risk managers, in particular the younger members that may not have experienced a hard market in their careers,” said Mr Bailey.