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Sandra Said, IRMCert: Risk Oversight Lead EMEA, RGA UK Services Ltd

Sandra Said, IRMCert

Risk Oversight Lead EMEA

RGA UK Services Ltd

 

How did you get your job? 

I’ve been with RGA since June 2016. Prior to that I spent nine years at Munich Re accommodating various roles in middle management.

What’s a typical day like as Risk Oversight Lead EMEA?

My responsibilities span Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEA).

I contribute to the implementation and enhancement of the EMEA ERM Framework (which links to the corporate ERM framework development) by working closely with the relevant risk owners in building key risk indicators, risk control self-assessments, incident reporting framework and quarterly risk assessment process.

I also support the ERM Infrastructure enhancements (this covers taxonomy, committees, KRI’s, incident reporting, emerging risks, dashboard creation & risk limits and appetites) as needed 

To this end I facilitate Risk Identification Workshops. I also build various PowerPoint presentations to transfer knowledge, build a risk-awareness culture and conduct a number of surveys to determine the effectiveness of the ERM process.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with people on various aspects:

  • Transferring knowledge
  • Building a risk aware culture
  • Facilitating the identification, assessment and management of risks to name but a few.

What are the challenges?

Some of the challenges I face on a day-to-day basis are summarised below:

  • Demonstrating ERM value due to resourcing and cost constraints
  • Common language of risk throughout the enterprise is sometimes lacking
  • Lack of clarity of roles & responsibilities hinders the ERM process

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

The various roles I have accommodated over the past 10 years have always had a strong element of risk management; however this was predominantly focused on 1st line of defence. My current role is purely 2nd line. The IRM qualifications enable students to learn the tools and techniques required to perform a job in whichever line of defence they may find themselves. In many ways the IRM reference books have also endorsed what I have thought was good risk management anyways, so in some ways the qualifications are also a means of ensuring that what we do as risk managers is appropriate and reasonable and the right way to operate.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

Studies towards completion of the Diploma is enabling me to read a varied amount of risk management books and articles which I have found very interesting, even if just as reading material. I find myself referring to a number of study books in the course of my day-to-day activities so it really is one of those qualifications that are very useful in the working environment too and not just a tick-box exercise! 

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

My role began to develop within six months of joining RGA. It has become slightly more strategic and creative in nature and I look forward to expanding on this with a view to showcase my work on a more global level. My interactions have also evolved throughout this period – collaborating with a wider group of more senior stakeholders, a number of which are very competent in the risk management/ERM arena so my studies are providing me with the knowledge I require to this end to be effective. IRM publications are also a useful source of information.

Top tips:

If I were asked this question I would say:

  • First off you need to make sure you really want to “get into/work as/become a” – hard work is involved!
  • Study has always been a big feature for me – whatever I embarked on doing, study towards achieving the required qualifications to be as effective as one can be in the role is important.
  • Speak with people/colleagues who have become a../are involved in … they might be able to provide you with information you haven’t thought of.
  • Look around you – role models/colleagues, etc – are there any qualities you can learn from them that will assist you in achieving your goals?

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