ALARM Conference, Exhibition and Risk Awards 2022

Our first in-person National Conference in two years.

ALARM’s first annual national Conference in three years returned to the University of Manchester with members, sponsors, partners, presenters, and the hard-working ALARM Team doing very convincing swan impersonations!
It was good to finally meet up with old friends and make some new ones. Once again the exhibition hall was full of the usual suspects, including Conference sponsors: to whom we owe a big thank you. For the first time ever, newbie MC Mutual Management joined the rest of the organisations offering expert guidance, up-to-date information, and a fascinating range of practical, and this year in particular, sustainable giveaways.
On Monday we started the day with ALARM’s AGM, and the announcement that Wayne Rigby (President) has been elected back onto the Board, along with Mandy Knowlton-Rayner, who continues to be actively involved in the development of ALARM’s quarterly journal, stronger.
Oh what a night! It was a joy to gather for the ALARM Risk Awards 2022 and dinner on Monday evening. Winners were celebrated in style by the glittering room of practitioners and supporters, and Lucy Porter (welcomed heartily into the ALARM community) hosted the show with aplomb. Congratulations to all those whose excellence in risk management and insurance were recognised. We look forward to showcasing your work over the coming year.

This year’s Conference was entitled The Future Is Now, which proved a thought-provoking and wide-ranging theme for the Panel session at the start of Tuesday. There were answers to questions on the insurance market that prompted reminders for practitioners.

“There are more self-insurances, so you must be absolutely confident in your risk management” said Maven’s John Shaftoe. “Be aware of new risks from the green agenda, like timber buildings, and ask the right questions,” said Zurich’s Rod Penman. “Things are changing quickly. Get the context of your insurance programme today, and where it is in relation to what is has been,” said Phil Farrar. He also reminded the audience: “the insurance industry is two per cent of the UK economy, so inflation and Ukraine will continue to have an impact.”

A discussion on mental health and wellbeing was prompted by a question about the mental health crisis in universities. Kathryn Oldfield from Kennedys commented on the recent Bristol University ruling on a student’s suicide claim. “This is an interesting judgment where the University was found to have discriminated against her. It was a breach of the Equality Act, not a Duty of Care.” Alison Goodwin from Aon added: “There should be wellbeing structures in all institutions and workplaces. It’s important to train all staff to make colleagues and students aware of what’s available.”

But it’s not just the HE sector that is suffering. Panellists urged all organisations to ensure action is being taken for employees and customers. Kathryn commented: “We have to recognise that people are feeling powerless. It is essential to invest in and support people at all levels.”

Organisations must ensure a well-adjusted work-life balance, and offer home and hybrid working. Employers need to adapt and be flexible. The panel agreed that employers should support their workforces in new and relevant ways – including offering dog care at work, as well as childcare!

Across various questions the theme that resilience is increasingly important in managing risk was reiterated. “You can plan all you like but you have to be ready to take on new challenges when they happen”, said John Shaftoe.

Alix Bedford touched on the inextricable link between risk and resilience too. She continued the morning with a Plenary on a subject Zurich Municipal has been researching over the last year, the Future of the public sector. Her presentation focused on the pace of change in the economy, society, technology, and geopolitics, citing potential influences and impacts, opportunities and threats.

ALARM’s first in-person national Conference in three years proved as enjoyable and as valuable as ever, buoyed up by the chance to catch up with contacts and colleagues once again in a warm and professional atmosphere.

Thank you to members, presenters, exhibitors and guests for attending. We look forward to meeting you again on 23 October, for ALARM Scotland’s annual conference in Stirling.

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