PRESS RELEASE DECEMBER 2014
Belgian Risk Management Association turns 40
On 12 December 2014 BELRIM celebrated four decades of continued commitment to Risk Management. Founded in 1974 as the Groupement des Assurés de l’Industrie / Vereniging van de Verzekerden van de Industrie (GAI/VVI), the association’s main objective was to protect and defend the interests of the insured and as such create a counterweight for the strong insurance lobby.
40 years later they have come a long way: the name change to BELRIM kick-started a booming evolution. Since then, BELRIM has opened its door to affiliated members from the insurance and brokerage field, experts, lawyers and consultants. Monthly exchanges on hot Risk Management topics attract numerous attendants and the networking facilities are spiralling.
As an active member of FERMA and IFRIMA, BELRIM’s radius is worldwide, which is another recognized asset for its members.
The celebration last Friday was a festive event. Past and current presidents and board members highlighted various aspects of the Risk Management profession. It was an original mix of serious input alternated with humourous interactions with the audience.
François Settembrino, Honorary President, opened the plenary session with a brief reminiscence of the early years.
He was followed by dr. Marie-Gemma Dequae, Past President, who gave an overview on diversification, pointing out that the BELRIM board is a fair example of gender equality with 58% women board members. She also referred to the McKinsey studies that list female characteristics such as leadership, empathy, decision making, etc. as indispensable qualities for Risk Management.
Michel Vereecken, current General Secretary, stated that in the mid-80s insurance management made room for a much broader Risk Management. He added how worldwide events of that era (such as the Gulf Wars, Bhopal, Thernobyl, …) influenced the Risk Managers’ approach to catastrophes and crises.
Next, Pierre Cambier, Past President, and Daniel Bertaux, Past Vice-President, both focused on crisis management and how risks can be converted into opportunities. They stressed the added value of norms and standards, the elaboration of which BELRIM is closely involved in. Risk Management is in constant evolution and they suggested a different approach in which opportunity mapping on a global scale might lead the Risk Management profession towards the future.
Current Vice-President of BELRIM, Carl Leeman, illustrated how climate change and the subsequent natural catastrophes set high demands to the insurance sector. He acknowledges the role of BELRIM’s partners to help set up creative and sustainable solutions.
The role of a professional association such as BELRIM was underlined by Marc Mathijsen, Past President, who stated that here members can exchange ideas and best practices. The strong networking allows Risk Managers – who often have a stand-alone position – to get advice and information from peers and colleagues in a setting that inspires confidence.
The last duo to appear on stage were Gaëtan Lefèvre, current President, and Jo Willaert, Board Member. They took the floor to congratulate the active BELRIM board with a special mention to the recently created Scientific Committee whose mission includes broadening BELRIM’s scope to the academic world as well as reaching out to the young risk and insurance professionals.
In line with its 40th anniversary, BELRIM’s next goal is to attract 40 new Risk Managers as members to strengthen its position and promote the Risk Management profession.
The plenary session was concluded with the official announcement of the election of Jo Willaert as Deputy President of FERMA. At the next FERMA Forum in Venice he will succeed Julia Graham as President of the European association.
A walking dinner followed for the 170 guests, who had the challenging task of recognizing the BELRIM board members 40 years younger. This playful incentive set the tune for the rest of a most enjoyable evening.
In conclusion: BELRIM celebrated its past in style, is the place to be for Risk Managers of the present and is well-equipped to face the risks and detect the opportunities of the future.