By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®, who contributed to this story
Could the hot topics listed in this year's conference agenda of the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. be any hotter? AIG bonuses, subprime mortgages, directors' and officers' liability, the end of the soft cycle ... and all of this discussed in the confines of the Orange Country Convention Center in Orland, Fla., where end-of-April temperatures soar into the 70-degree range. Ouch. Buyers are in for a fireworks treat--and we're not talking about a Disney production.
RIMS has listed dozens of sessions geared to every level of interest among risk managers during the four-day conference, to be held from April 19-23. "We've organized a conference filled with opportunities to guide you through today's challenging business environment with an eye toward emerging risk practices and standards," says RIMS Executive Director Mary Roth.
Here is a synopsis of the "hot topic" sessions, which promise to stand out among the learning extravaganza that is the RIMS convention. Session descriptions are provided by RIMS.
Hot Topic No. 1: Navigating the Financial Tsunami - ERM401
Tuesday, 2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Like a tsunami, the U.S. financial crisis has expanded to encompass our global trading partners, customers, suppliers and outsourcers. The ripple effects will negatively impact almost every business, government, charity, consumer, employee and student throughout 2009 and into 2010. As risk managers, internal auditors, continuity planners and executives, we have a responsibility to assure our organizations remain prepared and resilient during adverse conditions. This session takes an enterprise view of the financial and operational impacts that will most likely affect organizations and provides a series of recommendations to help organizations mitigate risks, survive the next 18 to 24 months and prepare for economic recovery. We'll address the risks related to insurer insolvencies and discuss key issues such as the steps organizations should take now to mitigate their exposure to an insurer insolvency, what happens to an organization's policyholder collateral during a liquidation proceeding and what guaranty fund recovery may be available if an insurer fails.
Featured speakers include Glen Boyls, CBCP, management consultant, AMX International Inc., and Corinne P. Carr, partner, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.
Hot Topic No. 2: Five Questions to Ask Before Switching Insurance Companies - INS205
Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
The federal government's huge loan to AIG has led many corporate policyholders to take stock of their insurance portfolios and consider changing insurance companies on one or more lines of coverage. While re-examining existing insurance at this point is a matter of due diligence, risk managers should recognize that the decision to switch insurance companies--or stay put--should not be made purely on the bases of price and financial strength. Attractively priced insurance from solvent carriers will not meet the policyholder's needs if it does not pay claims. This panel will examine issues that must be considered if the insurance portfolio is to work as planned, including limits, additional layers, claims-handling history, mandatory policy clauses, pre-existing conditions and the pitfalls of a new application process.
Featured speakers include Cort T. Malone, attorney, Anderson Kill & Olick PC; Lori Seidenberg, vice president, enterprise risk management, Centerline Capital Group; and David E. Wood, partner, Anderson Kill Wood & Bender.
Hot Topic No. 3: Insurance Coverage for Subprime Mortgage Lawsuits - INS206
Wednesday, 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Lawsuits have begun against investment banks, investment advisors, banks, mortgage companies and nearly everyone involved in the securitization of mortgages. Many of those lawsuits may be covered under standard insurance policies already purchased prior to the financial crisis, including D&O, E&O, fiduciary liability insurance or financial institution bonds. Policyholders seeking protection under these policies need to be prepared to counter typical insurance industry defenses against coverage, including unilateral rescission, the bad acts exclusion and the insured versus insured exclusion. Learn how these defenses can be countered in many cases by the policyholder.
Featured speakers include Bruce Cochran, director, corporate finance, risk management, Oracle Corp.; Nicholas J. Conca, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers; and Robert M. Horkovich, attorney, Anderson Kill & Olick PC.
Hot Topic No. 4: D&O Insurance During the Economic Crisis - INS207
Thursday, 9:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Directors and officers insurance may be your company's most valuable insurance asset during this economic downturn. Learn how the economic crisis is revolutionizing the D&O marketplace and how you can take advantage of the upheaval. Insurance companies are adding new exclusions and changing underwriting criteria. Stay a step ahead by knowing what your D&O insurers are thinking, discovering how to negotiate for better terms, discussing whether it's time to switch carriers and learning what precautions to take if you switch. Get checklists of coverage provisions to request and exclusions to avoid. Finally, hear about new D&O insurance products that are designed to help you weather the current economic storm, including DIC policies and how they work.
Feature speakers include David F. Conca, director, risk management, Time Warner Inc.; Reynold Siemens, partner, Proskauer Rose LLP; Michael W. Smith, president, AIG executive liability; and Brian Wanat, managing director, Aon Risk Services Inc.
Shortly before hot topic No. 4 on Thursday, noted author Roger Lowenstein will deliver the breakfast keynote address titled "The Liquidity Trap: From Long-Term Capital Management to Lehman."
Lowenstein, author of "When Genius Failed: The Risk and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management," about the hedge fund packed to the gills with the finest minds billions could buy at the time, will discuss how and why risk managers put too much faith in liquidity and what alternatives are available to risk managers.
Phew! With all this heavy lifting sprinkled throughout the conference, risk managers have the opportunity to relish in a brief last hurrah before jumping into the heavyweight sessions on the front end of the conference and blow off some steam with Shamu on the back end of the meetings.
RIMS is expected to take every advantage of showcasing its global reach by presenting its opening reception, "Around the World with RIMS," Sunday, April 19, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the World ShowPlace Pavilion in Epcot Center.
Travel around the world in one night! Europe, Asia and America. RIMS is promising attendees that this international party of epic proportions will transport them through a mosaic of architectural and cultural images from around the world.
Attendees can savor international cuisine, dance to global rhythms, and be delighted by international performance artists while mingling with colleagues and forming new business relationships.
For risk managers looking to cool down from a half-week's worth of scorching topics, RIMS is scheduled to present its SeaWorld Spectacular, on Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., at SeaWorld, for a killer whale performance spectacular by Shamu.
A complete guide to the show is available on RIMS' Web site, including digital session guides, conference programs and exhibitor floor maps.
April 15, 2009
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