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Aspiring to the position of risk manager emeritus.

by Elliot E. Cohen

Elliot E. Cohen is risk manager emeritus for Fisher Brothers Management Co.

To become a risk manager emeritus, one has to age a lot. Much like a professor emeritus, to acquire risk manager emeritus status, the prospective candidate must reach the age of mandatory retirement after years of academic

study, teaching, research and publishing scholarly works, not to mention sprouting lots of gray hair. But one who aspires to the position does not wish to retire.

To achieve the exalted position of risk manager emeritus, one must start at an early age in some aspect of the insurance business, preferably brokering. Work at it for 35 years or more and establish a reputation for professionalism, knowledge and integrity. Along the way, make enough money to put yourself in a position to afford to take the next step.

Decide at the ripe young age of 62 or so that it is time for a new career and a change of pace. The most challenging career turns out to be in risk management where the knowledge and expertise you have accumulated over the years will constantly come into play.

Once established in the field of risk management, continue your education. Attend seminars, enroll in courses and write articles for trade magazines and journals. Participate in the annual RIMS conference as a speaker and coordinator. Take an active role in an industry group with which you are affiliated. Avoid, if possible, becoming too parochial. In addition, attend sessions of general interest that may not be directly relevant to your job. Above all, maintain and enhance a reputation for professionalism, knowledge and integrity.

After 12 years you are ready to climb to the top of the mountain. Bring a new risk manager on board to take over your daily responsibilities. If you are lucky, you will have selected a competent, qualified successor, leaving you free to remove yourself from the nitty-gritty tasks of the day.

You retain your office, but you need a title and new business cards. Your employer, who wants to keep you available for unexpressed reasons, provides you with the title of risk manager emeritus and gives you 1,000 business cards. While 1,000 cards may be a bit optimistic to be sure, the real reason, perhaps, is that this is the cheapest way to buy them.

Caveats and Suggestions

Along with the new position, however, comes certain caveats and suggestions:

* Do not interfere with the risk manager's modus operandi.

* Respond promptly and graciously when asked to help.

* Assist the risk manager in adjusting to the new surroundings, particularly the personalities and quirks of those with whom he or she will be working.

* Fill in when needed during vacations or emergencies.

* Keep abreast of new ideas and changes in the field and overall business climate by doing a little consulting work.

* Volunteer at a not-for-profit institution that cannot afford a risk manager.

* Continue to read risk management literature.

* Attend seminars and meetings.

* Do not go home for lunch unless you want to break up a happy relationship.

* Adopt a scholarly and dignified demeanor; in essence, act like a professor emeritus.

Now that you know what a risk manager emeritus is, are you impressed? Truthfully, it is not terribly exciting, but it is better than retirement.

There is also a bonus that comes with the designation: A first-rate dinner followed by the presentation of a plaque which reads in part: "Whereas, he has been involved in the practice of insurance and risk management for 52 years and, whereas, we realize that extraordinary recognition is due him for his long service, his untiring zeal and energy and his furtherance of risk management issues. Therefore, be it resolved that we offer to him this testimonial as a token of our admiration with the wish that it may be a source of satisfaction to him to know of the high esteem in which he is held."

What it says may not be true, but it does give one a good feeling to think that the years of effort have not been wasted.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Risk Management Society Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Essay; satire on qualifications, responsibilities and rewards for risk managers
Author:Cohen, Elliot E.
Publication:Risk Management
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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