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A RIMS presidential forum.

"Involvement... Value ... Vision" the theme of this year's Annual RIMS Conference to be held in San Francisco, has been reflected in the achievements of RIMS and its various chapters and committees over the last year. RIMS President Lucille "Lucky" Gallagher, vice president -- risk management at Monfort, Inc. in Greeley, Colorado, discusses the many accomplishments of the RIMS chapters, committees and staff over the past year, and incoming President William J. Kelly, senior vice president at J.P. Morgan in New York, offers some insights into the Society's strategies and goals for the next twelve months. Effective May 1, Mr. Kelly will become RIMS' 42nd President. Q: What was the most significant accomplishment of the year?

Lucky: There were a number of major developments during the year, but perhaps the most significant was in further enhancing communications and productive interaction between local chapters, committees, the Executive Council (EC) and the professional staff. I believe that we have made major strides in establishing an environment of open communications in which our local chapters, committees, the EC and staff can work in concert to enact initiatives in support of RIMS' overriding objectives. In addition to enhancing overall organizational communications, the expansion of our continuing education and professional development activities and our governmental relations were also among the year's major developments.

Q: Could you elaborate on developments in the area of education?

Lucky: In continuing education and professional development, the Education Committee directed a major project to revise and update all of our educational course offerings. In addition, two new courses were added to the curriculum, and another course was prepared for introduction this year.

With the addition of Bob Petruska, a highly respected professional educator who will head our professional development staff, we are now in a position to further expand our efforts in this area. In particular, we will focus on meeting expressed needs at the local chapter level for professional development programs in core management areas that are becoming important to risk managers' career progression.

Q: What about accomplishments in the area of government affairs?

Lucky: We had an extremely active year in the legislative and regulatory-arena. The Environmental Committee issued a position paper on Superfund reform and continued to work closely with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency on clean air and clean water issues. Additionally, the Employee Benefit Legislation Committee developed a position paper on health care reform, focusing on the Title X provisions involving workers' compensation.

Furthermore, the Health and Safety Committee developed a position statement on Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) reform and, upon approval of the board of directors, distributed our position to every member of Congress. RIMS was also actively involved in heading off efforts to impose new taxes on offshore captives, and we continued to work with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on proposed model laws and regulations, including accreditation. Also, the Government Affairs Committee developed a position paper on the issue of civil justice reform.

In another major development of the year, our Governmental Affairs staff was expanded with the addition of Anne Allen, an attorney experienced in government relations, to concentrate on legislative and regulatory matters at the state and provincial level. In this area, the Governmental Affairs department is working with the states on grass-roots and advocacy training and encouraging governmental affairs-related chapter activities. We also finalized plans to add a legislative specialist in Canada.

Q: Could you comment on member and chapter services?

Lucky: Member and chapter services is the heart of what RIMS is all about. Everything we do is intended to enhance the value of RIMS to member organizations and individual risk managers. In this respect, we recently completed a new member needs survey to obtain input on how well we are meeting expectations and how we could enhance our services to all of our members.

Meanwhile, membership in the Society is up, and three new chapters were chartered in 1994, with another added in early 1995. This brings our total to 94 chapters. In addition, plans were completed for a new Dixie Regional Conference to be held annually beginning in 1995. The organization of new chapters and regional conferences are important indicators of vitality among our member organizations.

Q: What changes have you seen occur in the RIMS offices?

Lucky: This has been another year of achievement for our staff in New York. We moved into a great new office space, and at a savings to our organization. We also implemented a comprehensive strategic planning process, and began updating outmoded electronic information systems.

There has also been a strategic evaluation of a wide range of staffing considerations, as well as evaluations of a number of overhead and revenue-generating activities. The overall objective of these activities is to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the functioning of the Society.

Q: Any final thoughts?

Lucky: The RIMS President tends to get a lot of attention, but in fact our progress reflects dedicated efforts by hundreds of risk managers who volunteer their time and talents. For example, few people realize how much evening and weekend time members of the EC dedicate to the interests of the Society.

Also, I would like to thank all of our committee members; they too devote significant amounts of their time to defining and enacting the key action initiatives that address our strategic objectives. And, finally, the RIMS staff is to be commended for their dedication and energy in support of our volunteer leadership.

Q: Bill, what are RIMS' goals for this year?

Bill: Going forward, we will continue to streamline the activities of the EC. By operating as a team in a business-like manner, we have greatly increased efficiency and reduced the time commitment of each member, including the President. We have an excellent team in place for the coming year and want to continue to attract senior risk managers to service on the EC.

I am very enthusiastic about the Canadian certification initiative and its potential for expansion into the United States. Our new focus on state and provincial legislative issues should continue to increase the influence of our members on local issues. There are also a number of major opportunities ahead at the federal level.

This is an exciting time in which so much good work is being done by RIMS committees and within the chapters. We will continue our efforts to achieve more open communication within the Society, while expanding the scope of this effort to the larger risk management community.
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Title Annotation:interview with outgoing and incoming presidents of the Risk and Insurance Management Society
Publication:Risk Management
Article Type:Interview
Date:Apr 1, 1995
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