Eberhard Faller wins European Risk Manager of the Year

Winners of last year's European Risk Management Awards

Eberhard Faller, senior vice-president of central insurances at BASF, was named European Risk Manager of the Year at a gala dinner in London last night. He took the leading prize on an evening when winners of the other Excellence in Risk Management categories were announced, along with those from the Excellence in Customer Services and Individual Achievement shortlists.

Mr Faller, who is a member of German risk management association GVNW, won his award at the event jointly held by Ferma and Commercial Risk Europe at The Gibson Hall. He received his prize from Chris Fischer Hirs, CEO of category and awards’ headline sponsor Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), in front of more than 300 colleagues from the world of risk management and transfer.

All award winners were chosen by a judging panel of leading risk managers from within Ferma and its national associations. Mr Faller won European Risk Manager of the year from a shortlist of finalists that included Gökçe Çıtak, risk and insurance coordinator at Socar and member of Turkish risk management association Erma; and Martti Ojanen, group head of risk at Loomis and member of Swedish risk management association Swerma.

The judges said Mr Faller developed a completely new and innovative insurance strategy for his firm, which gained the full support and backing of its executive board. It included the development and implementation of a new global insurance programme that led to standardised terms and conditions for all subsidiaries and an enterprise risk management (ERM) approach.

In addition, he developed a risk retention programme within a captive insurer that enabled BASF to retain improved aggregate claims performance. The judges felt that Mr Faller demonstrated excellent professionalism in identifying and implementing the insurance strategy that, in the opinion of one judge, should become the benchmark within the risk management community.

The other Excellence in Risk Management categories saw Özge Öz, risk manager at LC Waikiki and member of Turkish risk management association Erma, win the Rising Star of the Year award. Ms Öz was presented her prize by Philippe Gouraud, head of strategic client and broker management at category sponsor XL Catlin.

Ms Öz has a strong insurance background, but the judges were impressed by several ERM programmes, training sessions, workshops, risk maps and risk mitigation projects she developed and led.

Last year, Ms Öz conducted risk identification meetings with more than 500 employees and various departments that helped develop a company-wide ERM structure. In addition, she also initiated LC Waikiki’s global property damage, business interruption and liability insurance programme with the London market. The judges felt that Ms Öz demonstrated a wide range of technical and interpersonal skills and continually improved her risk management skills. She also bridged her insurance and risk management experience to find tangible risk mitigation solutions.

The depth of talent in this category clearly bodes well for the future of the risk management community in Europe, with Pedro Rodríguez Díaz, risk manager at DEOLEO and member of Spanish risk management association Agers, and Benedikt Hintze, corporate finance manager at KWS and GVNW member, also shortlisted.

Matthias Beck, manager of group risk and insurance at Adolf Würth GmbH and Co, won the Innovative Insurance Programme of the Year award, sponsored by Zurich. Mr Beck received his award on stage from Helene Westerlind, global head of international programmes at Zurich Commercial.

Mr Beck fought off stiff competition from fellow category finalist Philippe Cotelle, head of insurance and risk management at Airbus, as well as prominent member of French risk management association AMRAE.

Last year, Mr Beck worked with a leading broker to design a coordinated, worldwide solution for credit insurance. The judges felt his truly innovative approach was probably the first internationally coordinated worldwide credit insurance programme. Not only does it offer the parent company 100% transparency on its global credit exposure, it gives local companies the potential to act locally within the frame set by head office.

The Risk Manager Lifetime Achievement award was won by Andrew Bradley, head of group risk services at Nestlé Vevey and member of the Swiss risk management association Sirm. He was chosen from a shortlist that included Carl Leeman, chief risk officer at Katoen Natie and member of Belgian risk management association Belrim; and Reiner Siebert, managing director at Albatros Versicherungsdienste and Delvag Versich (Lufthansa Group), and GVNW member.

Mr Bradley picked up his prize from Paulo Ribotta, head of award sponsor Generali Global Corporate & Commercial.

The judges felt this was a particularly difficult category to judge because there were so many worthy candidates. However, they said Mr Bradley’s commitment to the insurance and risk management community, as well as his pioneering achievements, both within the industry and more recently campaigning for road safety improvements, made him a worthy winner.

The European Risk Management Awards, now in their second year, aim to promote best practice within the risk management community and increase recognition of its practitioners. This year’s awards programme attracted enormous interest. More than 130 entries were submitted for the 14 categories that make up the awards, sponsored by headline partner AGCS, Allied World, Clyde & Co, Generali, Mapfre Global Risks, XL Catlin and Zurich.

Ferma president Jo Willaert congratulated the risk manager category winners. “We are in a period of great change. Risk management is at a crossroads. The winners are outstanding individuals who will help us see clearly the route forward. These awards complement the European risk management certification rimap® created by Ferma and with it, they are dedicated to raising the standard and profile of risk management in Europe.”

He said the four Excellence in Risk Management Awards showcase the varied skills and expertise of risk managers in Europe. “Among the candidates, I was delighted to see a spread of countries, industries and men and women represented. The winners draw attention to the importance of risk management within their own organisations and create potential role models for a new generation of risk professionals,” added Mr Willaert.

The awards also promote innovation and best practice among those firms that provide risk managers with the tools to do their job. Last night’s gala diner therefore announced a host of winners in customer service categories.

Captive Management Solution of the Year was won by Willis Towers Watson for its proactive and innovative approach to helping clients deal with issues thrown up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative. The judges said the firm’s response to BEPS, via a solution called RADAR, is an example of that innovative and customer-focused commitment. Ciarán Healy, director of consulting at Willis Towers Watson’s global captive practice, collected the award on behalf of his company. AIG, AON, Highdome PCC Ltd and Zurich were the other finalists in this category.

Chubb won Claims Innovation of the Year for the creation and international rollout of its Claims Services Portal. The Claims Services Portal is an online, user-friendly claims management system designed for claimants and brokers. It allows customers to register a claim at any time and interact with the claims process. Steven Parry, claims director for Chubb, collected the award from Michael Payton, chairman of sponsor Clyde & Co. AGCS, AIG and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions were also shortlisted.

Technology Innovation of the Year was won by AXA MATRIX Risk Consultants. The award was picked up by the unit’s CEO Laurent Barbagli. AXA MATRIX Risk Consultants pipped Chubb, FM Global, International SOS and Ventiv Technology to the prize.

In collaboration with a number of academic  and industrial partners, AXA MATRIX Risk Consultants developed the innovative FRAME@Risk software tool for seismic risk assessment and management. Providing sound and quantitative risk analysis, the tool can overcome limitations in traditional risk management approaches to seismic risk and provide enhanced support for informed and transparent decision-making.

Global Programme Innovation of the Year winner was AIG. The firm’s executive manager for liability and financial Lines, Tim Brown, collected the award. AIG won for successfully piloting the first multinational ‘smart contract’-based insurance policies using blockchain technology. The judges felt this has the potential to transform the insurance industry by driving new business models that will increase trust and transparency, while delivering innovation that matters. International SOS and XL Catlin also made the shortlist.

The next award was Emerging Risk Solution of the Year, won by International SOS. Laurent Fourier, regional managing director, Europe at International SOS, collected the prize.

The judges said the firm has developed a potential game-changing innovative solution that uses the latest multi-modal technology to track, communicate with and report on employee risk exposure better than ever before. The tool enables risk managers to focus on business continuity, to help operations return to normal during crises. The firm beat off competition from Alvarez & Marsal, Marsh, Munich Re and QBE Europe.

Insurer Innovation of the Year was won by Munich Re for its customised and innovative insurance solution for soil decontamination market entrepreneurs, Reterro Inc. In an industry first, Munich Re provided a performance guarantee insurance cover for Reterro Inc that protected its environmentally friendly, patented technique, which turns areas of contaminated soil into safe environments, without contaminated soil ending up in landfill sites.

Claudia Hasse, chief underwriting officer for special enterprise risks at Munich Re, took to the stage to collect the award. AGCS, FM Global, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and XL Catlin were worthy finalists in this category.

Willis Towers Watson won its second prize of the evening, in the Broker Innovation of the Year category, sponsored by Allied World. Olivia Cooper, head of FINEX GB, and John Rooley, CEO of global aerospace, picked up the award from Enrico Bertagna, senior vice-president of Allied World’s business development group.

Willis Towers Watson launched an innovative product earlier this year called CyFly, which the judges felt could represent a defining moment for the aviation industry’s approach to cyber risk within an ERM framework. The judges said this entry stood out in highly competitive field that included Aon, Brokerslink and Marsh.

The final group of awards recognised industry leadership. Bruno Laval – country manager for France and regional manager of southern Europe, insurance at XL Catlin – won Insurer Leader of the Year. The judges felt Mr Laval inspired and supported his teams, while also understanding the importance of building strong and lasting relationships with clients and brokers.

Enrico Vanin, CEO of Aon Italy, won Broker Leader of the Year, picking up his award from Juan Bosco Francoy, chief operating officer at category sponsor Mapfre Global Risks. Mr Vaninhas played a crucial role in designing and executing broking innovations that benefited clients, set new standards and delivered products that improved customer experience, and pioneered a new medical claims management service in Italy.

The final award of the evening was Lifetime Achievement, won by Stephen Catlin, who during the past 30-plus years turned a two-person reinsurance company into a £3.5bn international firm. In May 2015, Catlin combined forces with XL Insurance to form XL Catlin, where Mr Catlin became executive deputy chairman of XL Group until May 2017. From May to December this year, Mr Catlin is special adviser to XL’s CEO Mike McGavick.

Highlighting the importance of the Excellence in Customer Services and Individual Achievement awards, Ferma’s Mr Willaert said: “The risk and insurance manager is not working in isolation, but as an integrated member of the risk management community, together with brokers and insurers. Ferma is delighted that these two further sets of awards recognise the contribution of the insurance community to their corporate clients.”

Commercial Risk Europe and Ferma would like to congratulate all the award winners and those that made the shortlists. They contributed to a hugely successful evening that saw BBC Europe editor, Katya Adler, deliver a keynote address on the impact of Brexit. We believe the awards highlight the excellent work taking place in the risk management profession and the key service providers, while encouraging further innovation and best practice going forward.