RIMS, as you know, is in Hawaii this year. At first, I was going; then I wasn't; then I was; and now I'm not. I have become the Zen mountain of insurance. Talk about your long strange trips--I have been trying to get to Honolulu since November. The whole experience went from bad, to worse, to suicide by long distance travel blood clots. Curiously enough, the outcome is that I'll be spending RIMS week in San Francisco.
Start with the premise that I hate flying. I live in Bermuda, and Hawaii is almost exactly halfway 'round the world, 11 hours' time difference away. Add to that the fact that I'd probably end up seeing nothing of Hawaii, and you'll understand why I'm quite relieved not to be going. It's about 25 flying hours each way, and you have to change planes in Outer Mongolia.
Not flying is not the greatest relief, however. At one point, my travel plans called for me to fly from Italy to Honolulu. A friend was due to be married somewhere in the north of Italy on April 21, and I had to be in Honolulu on April 22 to poke fun at insurance people. I would have skipped the wedding, but the bride asked me to give her away, so I couldn't get out of that. I would have skipped RIMS, but an editor said he'd give me some money, so there was no way out of that either.
The plan called for me to fly to Italy to take part in the wedding on Saturday afternoon at the Villa Expensivo. I would stay for dinner and make my little speech, poking fun at the wedding people. Immediately after that, a taxi driver would whisk me on an eight-hour drive to Milan airport, probably at a cost far greater than the RIMS work would yield.
Next: fly to London, and sit about at the airport; fly to Chicago, and sit about at that airport; and fly to Honolulu, get off the plane late Sunday afternoon and be funny. It may have been a bad plan, now that I think about it.
I earned huge brownie points with the bride for agreeing to do this, and she earned a few from me when she discovered that the Villa had been booked since 1997 for the date she wanted. They still intend to marry, but have much more sensibly chosen a registry office in September, or some other time. (Some of my friends, believe it or not, are flakier than I am.)
A CHANGE OF HEART
So it was just Honolulu and me. I decided to break up the trip with a few days in New York, and ordered tickets. Then a friend in San Francisco said she would like to see me if I was down that way, which I haven't been in 18 years. So I changed the flight details again.
Then the editor changed his mind, and I didn't have to go after all. So now, instead, I'm going to San Francisco on a trip that makes no sense whatsoever.
If I have a point here--and there are no guarantees in life--it would be that Honolulu is probably not the most sensible place to have a RIMS, for my money. I'm not really sure I even understand the choice. Hawaii is big in captives, but RIMS is more all-encompassing than that. I suppose the hope is that the risk managers will see bare-breasted hula girls and immediately form a captive so they can come back and see them again. I, too, will miss the bare-breasted hula girls, but perhaps I see enough of those every time I close my eyes.
Thank goodness that in 2007, RIMS is being held in a sane place: New Orleans.
ROGER CROMBIE, a writer, editor and former accountant, is a regular columnist for
Risk & Insurance®. He also covers issues on alternative risk for this magazine.
April 15, 2006
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