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Nathan Coppernoll

RIMS 2018 in San Antonio, Had it All

by Nate Coppernoll, Class of 2019 Thursday, June 7, 2018

Each year the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) puts on a conference for industry professionals and students to come together, network and learn about the latest innovations in the industry. For the RMI MBA Class of 2019, as well as fifteen BBA’s it was an opportunity to see what we’ve been learning be implemented by professionals as part of their risk management programs. A late Wisconsin snowstorm threatened our arriving on time but fortunately, we narrowly escaped. The San Antonio sun and heat was that much sweeter once we arrived.

Day one of the conference was a whirlwind. After a quick tour of the conference area, which spanned a few city blocks, we were off to “The Marketplace” where innovative and new ideas were being showcased by small companies and industry giants alike. Bermuda, Hawaii and Vermont touted their attractiveness as the best captive insurer domiciles. Traveler’s Insurance and a host of others showcased their advancements in tech and Artificial Intelligence. The hot topic, and unofficial theme of the conference, was innovation. Most outsiders wouldn’t think of the risk management and insurance industry as being on the forefront of innovative ideas, but this is quite a misconception. The industry is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the markets they insure.

The second day was spent taking in the knowledge of industry professionals through 20-minute speed talks, as well as longer and deeper dives into topics. An interesting talk I attended discussed visualization of enterprise risk management concepts for the c-suite and board. We heard about the importance of linking risks to specific financial measures, and effective ways to communicate those links to the firm’s leadership. Another talk on outcomes of strategic initiatives using EBIT risk modeling explained how risk modeling can provide leadership with projections for the upper and lower bounds of future strategic plans. The most interesting presentation I sat on in was possibly the most controversial as well. Cannabis Risk Management and Insurance: Advice from the Insiders, tackled the need for innovation from the insurance industry as perceptions and legislation surrounding cannabis evolve. To my surprise, the room was full of professionals of all ages and specialties willing to listen and consider the risk and insurance needs of a new, yet controversial industry. If you weren’t already convinced that insurance was innovative, this talk should do the trick. As a bonus to an exciting day, our very own team of UW-Madison undergraduates competed in and took first place in a nationwide competition for risk management schools.

Day three was full of goodbyes and thank you’s to everyone that we had met, and a retreat back to six inches of late April snow that Wisconsin had waiting for us. We also had the unfortunate luck of a personal “risk management” lesson for our group but we’ll save that story for another time! 😊 Our trip wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our professors, donors and sponsors. Their knowledge, personal attention, and commitment to our success is invaluable and for them, we couldn’t be more thankful!