Towers Watson launched the insurance industry’s first knowledge-sharing network dedicated exclusively to risk management for life, health and property/casualty insurers in North America, including Canada and Bermuda. A free service, the CRO Network targets senior risk officers, executives and chief risk officers facing higher expectations from regulators, boards and ratings agencies.

“We see a strong need for a true peer networking opportunity because there’s an absence of forums for chief risk officers to exchange ideas about emerging new issues. We are looking to fill that void,” said Eric Simpson, Towers Watson senior consultant.

In addition to peer networking, the principal benefits for members of the CRO Network include access to leading industry CROs, who can discuss emerging best practices that help insurers operationalize new processes and maximize ERM value within their organizations, as well as insights into current ERM topics that are prioritized by member companies at educational events.

“The expectations for insurers to raise the risk management game is accelerating due to improving best practices and National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) regulators stepping up requirements,” Simpson told Insurance Networking News.

Emerging issues that risk officers are concerned with include the NAIC’s Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA), which includes a report documenting an insurers’ internal processes.

“There’s more benchmarking becoming available and boards have higher expectations while ratings agencies, led by S&P and A.M. Best, are increasing their scrutiny of risk management practices,” said Simpson.

Risk professionals can join immediately here, or by attending one of Towers Watson’s conventions. CRO Network’s inaugural conference will be held in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10 and 11, 2012.

“The CRO Network is for companies that want to be proactive and further develop their risk management programs,” Simpson said. “It’s as much for small insurers as it is for large companies because there’s opportunity to improve the program at all phases of development.”

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