RIMS’ annual conference is still scheduled to go ahead in early May despite mounting fears of the potential impact of the COVID-9 coronavirus and steps by the big three brokers and a number of carriers to restrict non-essential travel, The Insurer can reveal.

RIMS logo

The vast industry gathering brings together well over 10,000 risk managers, brokers, underwriters, claims specialists and service providers from more than 70 countries to a different US city each year. 

This year, RIMS 2020 is due to be held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, Colorado between 3 May and 6 May.

In a statement to The Insurer, a RIMS spokesperson said: “RIMS 2020 is scheduled as planned for Denver in two months.

“The safety and well-being of our attendees is a priority. We are taking the potential impact of COVID-19 virus very seriously and are working with local agencies and partners to ensure that we deliver a safe and productive environment.”

RIMS’ confirmation that it still plans to host its 2020 conference comes as a number of industry participants have begun to cancel events in light of the spreading coronavirus.

Risk modeller AIR Worldwide and parent company Verisk were due to host a series of Cyber/Casualty and Life Seminars in New York City next week, but have decided to instead change them to virtual events.

“We are doing so out of an abundance of caution over the global spread of the novel coronavirus,” the company explained in an email to attendees.

As The Insurer reported earlier on Thursday, a host of London Market companies have revised business travel guidelines in the wake of growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

A number of EC3’s broker and underwriters have also implemented mandatory working from home policies as well as travel bans as fears grow over a widespread infection in London.

Global brokers Aon, Marsh & McLennan Companies and Willis Towers Watson have warned staff against all but essential travel.

The restrictions are understood to apply to London and the US at the global brokers, as well as other impacted geographies.

All three broking houses are major sponsors of the RIMS conference. 

Corona virus

Although it is understood the temporary travel restrictions put in place by a number of the event’s sponsors are currently set to expire before RIMS begins, sources have said a deterioration in the situation could lead to them being extended.

Aon has told staff to limit non-essential travel accompanied by an assurance that it has “many other ways” to connect with and serve clients, as well as postponing some of its events. The broking powerhouse said it would continue to review procedures in line with public health body guidance.

Marsh has confirmed that any conferences it hosts and sponsors will be postponed, with the broker also reconsidering any large internal meetings or gatherings, in line with guidance from local health authorities. 

Marsh has also put restrictions around travel to infected areas and any employees that have travelled to such places are being advised to work from home for 14 days.

Willis has put in place travel restrictions and mandatory work from home policies for any potentially impacted colleagues.

In the US there has also been anecdotal evidence from market sources of a number of carriers including WR Berkley limiting nonessential travel for staff.

Another of RIMS 2020’s major sponsors is claims management specialist Sedgwick, and in a statement to this publication, a spokesperson said the company is “staying apprised of all current events regarding COVID19-virus”.

“The health and safety of our 27,000 valued colleagues is our highest priority, and we are taking the steps necessary to protect our colleagues and their families.

“We are aware that a widespread outbreak will cause our clients to require a high level of support from Sedgwick in meeting the escalating needs of their employees and customers, and we are committed to maintaining all services critical to the welfare of our clients and their people.”