Airmic is a members’ association supporting those responsible for risk management and insurance within their own companies. We have nearly 1200 individual members who represent over 450 companies.
Clive Clarke reflects on his year as Airmic Chairman
“What we have started will last longer than my time in the chair"
When Clive Clarke took over as Airmic Chairman in June last year he was very clear about his priority: making a difference in people's lives. "I've had a fantastic career and I want to use my position to help those at an earlier stage climb the ladder," he said. No easy task in just one year, he now reflects.
And yet there have been some big success stories during his time in the chair, perhaps most notably the great strides made in promoting the "youth agenda" which he made the focus of his tenure as Chairman.
In the last six months Airmic has been in dialogue with educational institutions with links to insurance and risk management which has culminated in a partnership programme with six universities. As part of this, Airmic has offered students places at Airmic events, the chance to be involved in Airmic's fastTrack scheme, and given them access to Airmic's technical output and thought leadership. The association also plans to offer mentoring opportunities and the chance to network with students in the same field.
"I couldn't be happier with the progress we've made. The response we've had from the universities has been amazing and it's a credit to the team for realising what is very special to me. We've got 24 students coming to the conference as a result and l'm really looking forward to meeting them." There is a lot more to be done, Clarke says: "It's about playing the long game. It is for the benefit of all our members to have young talent coming through and I believe what we have started will last longer than my time in the chair."
"Senior management are increasingly looking towards risk managers for help."
According to Clarke, the skills required of those coming into the profession today are quite different from those required of his peers when he entered the profession. "One trend is that risk management is increasingly on boardroom agendas. Risks facing companies are increasingly complex, and this, coupled with greater regulatory pressures, mean that senior management are looking towards risk managers for help."
This is exciting news for risk professionals, he says, but requires a different set of skills. In response to this, Airmic is expanding its training for current members who aspire to have strategic roles within their organisations. Growing the Profession - Tomorrow's Risk Leaders will be offered through Cass Business School and will provide a 12 month structured training programme focused on professional and executive development for risk and insurance managers. "The programme launched last month and we’ve already had strong interest in it. It’s about helping our members stay relevant and complements our work with universities."
"Airmic has battled with the perception that it is too insurance-focused for some time"
There have been several other big achievements through the year and Clarke mentions Airmic's first ever ERM Forum - a conference dedicated to enterprise risk management - as one of his highlights. "Airmic has battled with the perception that it is too insurance-focused for some time so to have something that is ERM-specific was big, really big. It drew a line in the sand and offered proof that we are listening to our members."
The feedback from the event was notably positive but Clarke stresses that there is little point holding one successful event. "We need to grow it now. We have to listen carefully to member feedback and grow it in the right way."
This year has also seen the launch of the Leadership Advisory Board - a group of some of the most experienced Airmic members - and the Leadership Advisory Council - a panel of senior business men and women, external to the association. The groups have been formed to channel new perspectives and expertise into the Airmic strategy. "Risks emerge and escalate with such speed in today's world that it's vital for our members that we keep our finger on the pulse of business and risk developments," Clarke reflects. "Both groups, in different ways, will help us do that and ensure our output is as targeted and relevant to members as possible."
This January saw the announcement that John Hurrell, chief executive of Airmic for nine years, is to step down in June. Clarke paid tribute to Hurrell's contribution."The profession has and is undergoing a transformation and under John the association has matched this stride for stride. I have huge respect for him both professionally and personally. He has the answer to most problems and knows how to get the best out of his chairman and board."
"John Ludlow has everything you would wish for in a CEO, including a passion for the profession"
John Ludlow, a former senior deputy chair of Airmic with over 15 years' experience as a senior risk manager, will take over at the annual conference in Birmingham, and Clarke praised the appointment saying that the association's future is in excellent hands. "It's exciting times for the association. John Ludlow has everything you would wish for in a CEO, including a passion for the profession. I'm only sad I won't be there as chairman to work with him but will give him every support as a board director."
What comes across most strongly is how much Clarke has enjoyed his time as chairman. "It' been a bigger job than I expected, but a better job as well. It has far exceeded expectations. I started my career as a very junior member of staff, so my message to others starting out is to test yourself and see how far you can go - it can be done!"
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