Given the vertiginous swirl of the past few years, it's all too easy to forget the sheer magnitude of the calamities recently impacting the work of risk mangers: dyspeptic volcanoes in Iceland, ruinous earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, Haiti and Chile, a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, raging wildfires in Russia, massive flooding in Pakistan, political upheaval across the Middle East, a profusion of cyber crime, currency woes and the threat of sovereign default throughout the European Union.

These events come on the heels of the gravest financial crisis in decades which catalyzed a profound rewrite of the rules governing the financial services.

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