9:1 Now it came to pass that the financial system did run amok, and the people were truly perplexed. In the darkness, they cried out, "Lord, have ye forsaken us, going forward? Give unto us a sign that the bonuses that are called year-end will be restored."
9:2 And the people did wait in their wine bars for a response.
9:3 In the land of Risk that is Spread were the people sore vexed. "Woe is us," they wailed. "What profiteth it a company if it do a lot of business, but faileth to render the big profits unto the Shareholder-ites?"
9:4 From the East there did appear three Kings. One came from Oldwicke, that is in the land of New Jersey. And another there came from the fabled city of New York, that stands on the Hill that is called McGraw. And the third was a Moody fellow.
9:5 And verily did these monarchs speak. And they did say:
9:6 "Bow the knee, o Insurance-ites and Reinsurance-ites, and acknowledge us before thee. For we are all-knowing, and we do perceive the gnashing of thy teeth and the troubling of thy souls."
9:7 "Thanks be to the mighty Kings of Ra-ting," cried the Insurance-ites. "For they will surely deliver us from our impairments."
9:8 The Kings looked down on the many -ites and found them to be good, with certain exceptions.
9:9 "Greatly are we displeased by the lines that are mono," the Kings said. "Better thou do business about which thou hath no clue." And they smote the Monoliners terribly, and their share prices did crumble like the walls of Jericho.
9:9 And the Monoliners waxed wroth, for they knew but one thing, and that was suddenly not a good thing to know.
9:10 "Nor are we much contented with the risk management practices of many others," said the Kings.
9:11 "What?" asked the Insurance-ites. "Verily, risk management is what we do, albeit none too well, mostly."
9:12 Then did the Kings smite the Insurance-ites with the mighty sword that is called ERM.
9:13 "ERM alone may protect you from the howling of the wind and the shaking of the land and the claims with the tails that are long," said the Kings.
9:14 "ERM, ERM," the Insurance-ites chanted. "ERM will save us from all dangers."
9:15 And papyruses were written, and great gatherings of the -ites convened. And scholars did appear, with the patches on their elbows that were of leather made, and they did pronounce on the ERM, and they found it to be good.
9:16 "ERM is thy salvation," the scholars said, "and here are our expense accounts for reimbursement."
9:17 And there arose in the island of Muda that is Ber, a simple man. And he did survey all that lay before him as he traveled through the lands near and far. Dispassionately did he cast his eye on the left bank, and on the right bank, and on all the other banks. And he saw that the financial waters had stopped flowing.
9:18 "What good did ERM do the banks?" he asked.
9:19 The Kings of Ra-ting were struck dumb. They saw that the game was up. Then did the Kings return to their redoubts and issue proclamations about the need for vigilance and all like that.
9:21 And, lo, nothing did change.
is a Bermuda-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®.
September 1, 2008
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