At the 16th NARIM Congres in Utrecht on 15 May 2014, about 300 risk and insurance professionals gathered. Annemarie Schouw, NARIM’s president, took the floor in a bright orange safety suit, including helmet and glasses. This immediately set the tune for what was to be an interesting, interactive and dynamic event on crisis management.

  • The first keynote speaker was Brenno de Winter, IT specialist and journalist – and notorious hacker -, who pointed out – with many striking and surprising examples – that companies are rarely well-prepared for a cyber attack!
    IT issues are hardly ever discussed at board level. Yet, leaks are everywhere and the best moment to hack an account is in the middle of a crisis, when all the attention is focused in one direction. Risk managers should ask themselves “What if …” and imagine the worst case scenario.
    Protection in this field is difficult but some basic rules can be taken into account: avoid using wifi for sensitive transactions, encrypt your data, use strong passwords, … and be aware that hackers are always one step ahead – as Brenno proved at the end of the session.
  • Next, Frank Peters, Managing Director at Porter Novelli, showed how crisis management has evolved quickly in the past ten years.
    From the crucial “24 hours after a crisis, we moved to the “golden hour” following a crisis, to what are now a mere “24 minutes” before the whole world is informed about the situation by means of social networks such as facebook, twitter, etc.
    He underlined that crisis is always ruled by emotion and that therefore together with empathy it is the key element of good crisis communication.
    Moreover, one should use the channels of the target group to communicate. This could be posting a video on youtube, tweeting regular messages, open a facebook group, a.o.
    Last on his slide with 10 useful tips were the wise words: Keep calm and carry on!
  • Then a most moving and emotional intervention was given by Peter van Uhm, former General of the Dutch Army.
    He brought a very personal testimony on managing crisis in what is probably the toughest situation thinkable: war. Lessons can be learned from the army when it comes to dealing with delicate issues: how well trained and disciplined people must be to trust someone else with their own life; how important real leadership is; how showing empathy and caring play an important role…
  • …But suddenly there was a big explosion, sirens started screaming… and the audience was instructed to move to another area.
    Indeed, a serious crisis was simulated and all participants had to take part in a role play to find the best solution to deal with this situation.
    Statements from these answers were used for a live debate that followed in “the house of commons”.
    People were invited to take sides and defend their opinion on different positions on risk and crisis management. It was a most lively and interactive exercise.

The day ended by the attribution of three NARIM awards:

  • Best added value / appropriate comments regarding the “best solution” to deal with the above-mentioned crisis situation case, was attributed to table 30.
  • Prof. dr. Arjen Ronner (University of Amsterdam) received an award for his relentless efforts in promoting risk management in the academic world,
  • as did Sjaak Schouteren and his team mate Rosemarijn Peters for the successful creation of the “Young InSurance network”.

Congratulations to all of them !!!

Finally, some live music and the typical “borrel” facilitated the networking in the original setting of De Fabrique.


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