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Hot Topics

Hot Topic: Solar Storms: Protecting Your Operations Against the Sun's 'Dark Side' (RMG218), Monday, April 26, 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

As if earthly risks were not enough, look skyward. Solar storms and resulting space weather—high-energy bursts of charged particles from the sun—can interact with our magnetic field and cause powerful geomagnetic storms with electrical surges.  These can disable power grids, transformers and telecommunications. One of the most severe solar storms that ever occurred was in 1859. The benchmark for damage comparison was the telegraph systems in that era.

In comparison, today we are much more dependent on the continuing operation of modern power grids and telecommunication. The Department of Homeland Security takes the risk seriously enough to consider it a national security threat, and is studying the issue in advance of an anticipated upswing in solar activity in 2012. It could be a threat to your business as well. This special session will consider the risks of solar storms and explore a variety of mitigation techniques that are being discussed in the scientific community and the related industries.  

Armand Fernandez
Chief Risk Engineering Officer
Zurich North America
 John Kappenman
Storm Analysis Consultant
Metatech Corporation
Sten F. Odenwald
Space Scientist

Hot Topic: Healthcare Reform and the Potential Impact on Business (LEG206), Tuesday April 27, 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

What does healthcare reform means to risk managers? The panelists for this session have been deeply involved in the reform process and will share their perspective about this important issue.

Gary Bacher
Senior Vice President
America's Health Insurance Plan
Randy Kammer
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. 

Hot Topic: Insurance Purchasers Speak Up! Know Your Rights on Contingent Commissions (RMG217), Tuesday, April 27, 2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Just when risk managers thought contingent commissions were a thing of the past, states are moving to undo agreements prohibiting brokers from accepting them. Illinois has already undone its agreement with a major broker. New York is setting the precedent for other states by ostensibly adopting a regulation to protect consumers. Upon closer examination however, the regulation is far from clear and not the protection policy-holders thought they were going to have bestowed upon them. Find out how to navigate the maze of information and know the right questions to ask. Contingent commissions are only acceptable if you, the consumer, agrees to them.   

2009 saw several major brokerage firms seek regulatory approval to resume accepting “contingent” commissions over and above their regular compensation. During this session, senior insurance executives will discuss the pros and cons of these fees—is it leveling the playing field or a conflict of interest?  After the discussion, we’ll burrow deep into brokerage compensation agreements to help you understand fee structures so there are no surprises and to learn how to negotiate service-level agreements. You’ll also hear from the author of RIMS publication “A Practical Guide to Insurance Broker Compensation and Potential Conflicts of Interest for the Risk Manager.”  This session is hosted by RIMS External Affairs Committee.

Donald Bailey
Chief Executive Officer,
Willis North America
James Gault
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Brokerage Services Division,
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
William Kelly
WJK Advisory LLC.

Deborah Luthi

CANCELLED: Hot Topic: Corporate Governance and the "Shareholder Bill of Rights" (LEG205), Wednesday, April 28, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Pending legislation, coined the “Shareholder Bill of Rights,” would provide shareholders greater say on numerous corporate governance matters, such as executive compensation. As a result, it has received widespread attention in the U.S. business arena and within the U.S. government. As leaders of publicly-traded companies seek to establish policies and procedures to avert the financial straits through which many companies moved over the past two years, the addition of reforms such as this would increase the spotlight on corporate governance in several respects. For example, shareholders may be given a ‘say on pay’, the chief executive function may be separated from the chairman position, and independent directors may form an oversight committee regarding risk management. There is great debate at the corporate and legislative levels on this type of legislation and approach. During this session, experts will analyze the risks and rewards in establishing such oversight, and discuss the pros and cons of the legislation.

Wayne A. Budd
Senior Counsel, Litigation Department, Goodwin Procter
Holly J. Gregory
Corporate Partner, Corporate Governance
Weil Gotshal
Christopher Green
Partner, Litigation Department; Member, Securities Litigation Practice Group, Ropes & Gray
John S. Kiernan
Partner, Co-Chair, Litigation Department, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP 


Carol Zacharias
Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel


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