In August, twenty-two professors gathered to discuss the role of Enterprise Risk Management in today’s colleges and universities. As many American istock_000003083629largeRisk and Insurance Association (ARIA) members recognize, ERM has grown in importance as risk managers look for more effective ways to manage risk in today’s volatile business environment. In 2006, a partnership was formed with the Griffith Foundation, The Ohio State University, and ARIA with the idea to begin to develop a series of programs to help define a role for traditional risk management and insurance programs in the pursuit of academic development and presentation of ERM.

The first program in 2006, “Putting the Enterprise into Risk Management and Insurance Education,” was an opportunity to bring together college professors, currently studying and/or teaching ERM, with ERM savvy executives, regulators, rating agency representatives and consultants to begin to develop a conceptual framework for further scholarly research and curricula development. The initial program set the stage for further work with the intent to launch this multi-year initiative.

Following the previous symposium, the steering committee comprised of professors Rob Hoyt of the University of Georgia, Joan Lamm-Tennant of Wharton (Guy Carpenter), Bill Rives of The Ohio State University, Terri Vaughan of Drake University, and also Don Rebele with the Griffith Foundation felt there was an opportunity to support ERM education with resources to enhance undergraduate and graduate courses. The 2008 program, “Advancing the State of the Art in Risk Management and Insurance Education,” was developed with the intent to provide the opportunity for professors who have actively engaged in ERM to present ideas to their colleagues as well as develop case studies that could be used by students taking ERM curriculum.

Six professors were invited to share resources that presented insight into ERM at the university level. Mark Beasley from North Carolina State University started the program with an overview of their ERM initiative vision titled “Four Pillars of Core Strategies’” which included outreach, internet, research, and curricula. Greg Niehaus of the University of South Carolina set the stage for later case study development by giving a look “Behind the Scenes of the United Graingrowers Case.” Next Richard Phillips provided a look at the ERM initiative at Georgia State and how they have approached redesigning their program. Jean-Paul Louisot from The American Institute for CPCU gave the group a look into how European companies and universities handle Enterprise-wide Risk Management. Dave Sommer with St. Mary’s University briefed the group on structuring an executive MBA class to include ERM. Finally, James Barrese with St. John’s University gave an overview of his efforts to develop an ERM major in New York. Overall, academics commented on the usefulness of the information provided and we were very happy with the level of knowledge that can ultimately be transferred to universities across the country wishing to implement ERM into their college or university.

The second focus of the symposium centered on the development of case studies that could be made available to professors wanting to implement ERM into their curriculum. Three companies that participated in the 2006 Symposium were invited back to work directly with academics to develop case studies. The three companies represented a cross-section of business and have active ERM programs within their companies. Representatives from Nationwide Insurance, American Electric Power, and Textron began by providing an overview of their ERM initiatives within their companies and brainstorming with academics on topics that could be transferred to a case study. All three groups came away with a plan and timeline to complete the case studies. The hope is that their work could be presented at next year’s ARIA summer meeting.

As with many working symposiums, we came away having as many questions as answers. However, based on the reaction from academics we feel that creating this type of forum for professors to interact will move ERM as a collegiate topic forward and will continue to evolve. We at the Griffith Foundation are committed to supporting professors on cutting edge topics and look forward to the work that is taking place on this front and others in the collegiate environment. We will make sure to keep ARIA members updated on the progress of our ERM case study development groups and make our findings available to you as they are released.