All the hard work of the past year is about to yield results as Airmic delivers a number of landmark changes at its annual conference

Anyone who has tended a vegetable garden will know the feeling. You toil for months with little to show for it, then, if all goes to plan, you’re suddenly awash with the rewards of your labour. This is how it feels now at Airmic. We have been working hard for the past year on a range of projects, many of them quite ambitious, and they are starting to yield impressive results.

Let’s begin with the issue of non-disclosure, because it’s so important to our members. A slight confession might be in order here. At the 2010 conference, we announced our intention to produce a model clause to get around shortcomings in the Marine Insurance Act 1906 by the end of last year. Well, making good the failings of a complex and entrenched 100-year-old piece of legislation has taken a bit longer than we originally hoped.

Nonetheless, at our conference in Bournemouth expect us to unveil our new clause, which has been drawn up by Herbert Smith for insertion into insurance contracts. The intention is to help members overcome the draconian nature of UK insurance law, which makes it virtually impossible for commercial insurance buyers to fulfil their disclosure obligations. For those who use it, there will be a greater degree of certainty that legitimate claims will be paid. We believe it will also underpin the credibility of the UK insurance market. Airmic will also be publishing its disclosure best practice guide, drawn up by technical director Paul Hopkin.

Another landmark at the conference will be publication of the first part of the Cass Business School study into ‘major risk events, their impact and implications’. This research has made tremendous progress over the past 12 months and contains valuable insights into the qualities that make firms resilient (or not) when events take a turn for the worse. Crucially, it is supported by 18 case histories, which will be published later this year. While there is no one way to guarantee success in adversity, we believe that this publication will be of tremendous value to risk managers.

Returning to insurance, if you have attended our briefings you will appreciate what a headache the compliance of global insurance programmes can be. We are fortunate that our board member Helen Hayden is a recognised expert on global compliance and is helping us to produce a guide. It is a great example of Airmic and its members spreading knowledge to the benefit of our community.

Anyone who has reached the top of their career will recall people who helped them at crucial times – more experienced colleagues who were happy to share their knowledge. Airmic will use the Bournemouth conference to launch a mentoring scheme that seeks to formalise this type of relationship. It involves senior risk managers partnering younger people from other organisations, and is being overseen by board member Elaine Heyworth, an experienced mentor, who says that the learning is very much a two-way process. Any volunteers please come forward.

There are many other things I could discuss were there more space. Our latest property benchmarking survey for example, or StrategicRISK’s own work on careers in the industry, so it’s genuinely exciting to be able to show off the work of the association and the many, many people and organisations that support us.

I hope you will agree that this year brings a good harvest. SR