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28th RIMS conference hailed a victory.

In April 1775 British Redcoats marched from Boston to Concord where they clashed with Massachusetts farmers, an altercation that triggered "the shot heard 'round the world. " In April 1990,215 years after the fighting, thousands of risk managers descended on Boston where they were greeted by the fife-and-drum-playing Continental Color Guard of the Massachusetts Society, Sons of the American Revolution.

Indeed, the 28th Annual Risk Management and Employee Benefits Conference was a historic event in its own right, marking the 40th anniversary of RIMS. The conference drew a record number of attendees from April 29 to May 4. More than 5,200 registrants participated in 130 educational sessions, accompanied by an exhibition by 269 insurance and risk management service and product providers. The history of RIMS unfolded before a crowd of 1,500 during the membership breakfast on Monday. Images from 1950-newspaper headlines announcing the Korean War and "Yankees Sweep Series" and a "Guys & Dolls" poster-filled the huge screen in the Hynes Convention Center as a band played popular songs spanning the past 40 years. The fast-moving multimedia presentation, "Life Begins at 40," covered the emergence of the National Insurance Buyers Association to the development of the American Society of Insurance Management in the mid-1950s to the establishment of the Risk and Insurance Management Society in 1975.

"Yes, RIMS is 40," said 1989-90 President Ron Stasch, "but as I recall 40-year-olds like to say we're 40 years young. As we begin our 41st year, we're more vital than ever." Mr. Stasch, along with 1990-91 President Cheri Hawkins, delivered the annual State of the Society report, highlighting RIMS' achievements over the past year. They include:

* working to repeal Section 89, which would have imposed expensive testing and reporting requirements on most companies;

* gaining support for the latest product liability reform bill, which recognizes the competitive disadvantage that costs associated with the U.S. tort system place on U.S. goods and services;

* pointing out the repercussions of premium-rollback initiatives such as Proposition 103;

* winning the battle against claims-made forms, which would have permitted insurance companies to avoid paying claims for past injuries on new policies;

* working with the Insurance Services Office and the American Bar Association to put sudden and accidental pollution coverage back into the CGL policy;

* upgrading RIMSNET with the addition of Legi-Slate, which provides users the latest legislative and regulatory developments, and RIMSLINK, a 24-hour-a-day computer link for suppliers and buyers;

* strengthening the global network of risk managers through the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations and staging the biennial joint conference in Monte Carlo with the Association Europeenne des Assures de l'Industrie, the European risk management association;

* hosting a conference with Singapore's risk management association this fall; and

* forming the RIMS Roundtable, a think tank of leading risk managers.

Ms. Hawkins announced that constitutional amendments were adopted at the Society Directors' meeting on Sunday that call for the Executive Council, formerly the Executive Committee, to appoint the executive director, who will report to the council and oversee the staff, and the strengthening of the committee structure to provide a broader base of leadership to the society. "These changes will make RIMS more responsive to member and chapter needs-and more efficient," added Mr. Stasch.

The breakfast hit a high note when Mr. Stasch passed the presidential reigns to Ms. Hawkins. "I'm going to give everything I can to make RIMS as good as it can be," she said. "To me, that means being the best professional organization in the world."

Baseball, Stress and Politics

Having breakfasted with RIMS officers, conference attendees lunched with George M. Steinbrenner III, Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. and Dr. Peter G. Hanson. Mr. Steinbrenner, the controversial principal owner of the New York Yankees, scored a home run with the more than 2,100 attendees at Tuesday's lunch. His humor-"In 1973, when I bought the team, I paid about $8.8 million. I think they're worth about $9 million today"-combined with his commitment to the Olympics-"Olympians are positively the greatest group of young people I've ever been involved with in my life"revealed the hard-hitting businessman's soft side. Mr. Steinbrenner also reminisced about his association with the late Yankee catcher Thurman Munson: "He was the team captain and the Yankees will always have an empty locker in his memory with catcher's equipment in it. Call it corny, but that's what we'll do as long as I have the team."

For attendees who by mid-week began feeling the wear and tear of the conference, Dr. Hanson offered relief. The world-renowned lecturer and self-published author of "The Joy of Stress" told the approximately 1,400 people at Wednesday's lunch how stress can be used to their advantage. "Without stress," he said, "excellence is impossible, but it must be managed properly." He suggested that people manage stress by taking a more active role in their health, breaking away from the belief that you're too old to learn something new and rethinking society's notion of normal behavior. "It is considered normal to smoke, drink coffee and eat sweets," he said, "but not to read a fairy tale to your kids on the phone," a ritual he often performs while on business trips.

Rounding out the list of headline speakers, Mr. O'Neill addressed a crowd of approximately 1,450 at Thursday's luncheon. The die-hard Democrat and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives drew from his illustrious political past to assess the nation's future. "The next war will not be political but economic," he said. "And national wealth will be determined by a nation's reserve of brainpower." In addition, Mr. O'Neill lamented "Washington's budget politics," which he called a "straitjacket" for the U.S. economy. "Eastern Europe's thirst for a free market is unquenchable," he noted, "but with a new world comes new competitors. The United States needs to take control of its economic destiny by borrowing less and investing more." As the United States reassesses its economic destiny," so to must risk managers rethink their companies' economic future, according to American and foreign insurance and risk management professionals who spoke at a special session, joint Ventures in the USSR and Eastern Bloc Countries. The speakers discussed the opportunities and risks for American companies in emerging free-market economies. (See story on page 72.)

The international scope of risk management was also evident in several conference sessions, which included offerings on international benefits and insurance tax issues and the emerging European environmental crisis, as well as the attendance of risk managers from more than 30 countries. In addition, for the first time in the history of the conference, sessions were held in French and Japanese.

While the conference took a decidedly international turn, it did so with a nod to the future. In a special session, Futureview: A Look Ahead, about 1,500 people gathered to hear futurist Daniel Burrus discuss how scientific and technological advances will affect the daily lives of Americans. His observations touched on everything from biochemistry to computers to microwaves. Here are just a few of Mr. Burrus' predictions: Cancer and inherited genetic diseases will be curable or preventable; fiberoptics will make cable television obsolete; microwaves will be used to run clothes dryers and to kill inoperable cancerous tumors; pollution-free hydrogen will be used as an alternative automobile and jet fuel; and commuters will be transported in magnetically levitated trains.

As risk managers were prepared for the future, they surely must have wondered about the new risks that will evolve from these 21st century innovations. Their questions may very well be the topics headlining next year's 29th Annual Risk Management and Employee Benefits Conference, which will be held in New Orleans, April 28-May 3.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

During the various conference functions RIMS recognized individuals and chapters for their outstanding contributions to the risk management field. Edith F. Lichota of Lichota & Associates inc. received the Dorothy and Harry Goodell Award for her outstanding continuing achievement in furthering the goals of risk management. 1989-90 RIMS President Ronald Stasch, at top, presents the award during the conference luncheon Thursday. The Richard W. Bland Memorial Award was presented to the four Texas RIMS chapters for their work in reforming the Texas workers' compensation system. "It's a perfect example of what local chapters can do," said incoming RIMS Vice President-Governmental Affairs Lucille "Lucky" Gallagher. At right, she and Carol Nist, president of the Greater Kansas City Chapter, present the award to representatives from each chapter: Mark Carter, Dallas/Fort Worth; Pat Doertler, Houston; and Rudd Marlowe, South Texas. Doug Campbell of Houston accepted on behalf of the Central Texas Chapter.

Below, the 1989 Cristy Award is given to Mari-Jo Hill of SAS Institute Inc. for her high cumulative average in the three exams leading to the Associate in Risk Management designation. The award was presented by 1989-90 RIMS Vice President-Education Margaret P. Layne at the conference luncheon on Wednesday. Norman A. Baglini, president and chief executive officer, insurance Institute of America, top right, took time out of the lunch to honor the 1989 ARM graduates, shown standing. in addition, he recognized this year's group of CRM graduates.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Risk Management and Employee Benefits Conference
Author:McCabe, Monica
Publication:Risk Management
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Words:1526
Previous Article:Shedding light on black holes in insurance protection.
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