A Message from our new ARIA President, Anne Kleffner

Our first virtual meeting – WRIEC 2020 – was a great success! Ty Leverty and Marty Grace went above and beyond the call of duty to make it possible and make it work. I am very grateful for all of their efforts.

As we look forward to the year ahead—in the midst of COVID-19 and all of the uncertainty that it brings–it is a good time to consider ARIA’s Vision and Mission.  Our Vision states that our members continually contribute to solving the world’s biggest risk management challenges.  We are facing enormous risk management challenges: COVID-19, struggling energy markets, hurricanes, protests against ongoing racial injustice, etc.  As academics who study  risk management research, there are endless opportunities to inform business and public policy decisions. In addition, 2020 highlights the need for risk literate business graduates and decision makers who are able to make good decisions in the face of tremendous uncertainty.

COVID of course is just one example of the many risks we face as a society – and a reminder that “We’re in this all together.”  It is also a good reminder that the future will not look like the past. We don’t know what ARIA’s future will look like (nor what the future of RMI programs and professors will look like).  However, one thing will continue to be true: the world will always need help solving the biggest risk management challenges. And ARIA — and our members — has a niche in responding to that need.

As we look to 2021, in order to continue to deliver on Our Mission and our strategic plan, engaging our diverse membership and drawing on individual and collective resources is essential.

Our Mission states that: “We are a community committed to improve the public’s understanding of how risk can be more effectively managed, and to support the adoption of new findings by the risk management profession. ARIA is dedicated to the expansion and improvement of academic instruction to students of risk management and insurance, providing networking, information and support.”

We know that there are many things outside of our control as an organization. What IS within our control is developing more resilience by building on three characteristics of resilience that ARIA already exemplifies:   Being diverse, being inclusive, and being resourceful.

One of ARIA’s strengths is our diversity, which is a key characteristic of resilience.

We have incredible diversity in our membership. Consider individuals’ educational backgrounds, expertise, talent, and passions– we are a very interesting group!

This year we want to continue to build on our diversity by engaging our current members, and attracting more interesting people to our organization. Without diversity, or “requisite variety”, we lack the capacity to evolve quickly as we have too few things to build on.  Conformity and consensus are the enemy of managing under conditions of uncertainty.”

Another strength of ARIA is being Inclusive, which means we do not define ourselves too narrowly. As an association we do a good job welcoming new people. I have heard so many stories over the years about people’s first ARIA meeting and how welcome they felt and that is why they kept coming back.  This speaks to our core values of Community. We believe that an inclusive, active community that embraces open collaboration improves our members’ work, our industry and society as a whole.

And we want to continue to attract more members and partners to ARIA. We want to expand our network and develop partnerships with industry, government, and other stakeholders interested in RMI research and education.  If you have ideas about how we can do this please share them with the board. ARIA has substantial financial resources that can be used to create initiatives that will help us promote the association and further our mission.

The third characteristic of resilience is being resourceful. We have financial resources, and our most valuable resource is our members. How can we engage our members in new ways to achieve our goals and to help further the objectives of ARIA? How can we creatively use our resources to continue to expand awareness of ARIA and the impact that members of ARIA make? We have a great deal of talent in both research and teaching and our members produce research that helps guide decisions of policymakers and practitioners. What opportunities are there for leveraging what we are already doing to improve the management of risk in the face of challenging problems related to racial injustice, business continuity, healthcare, cyber risk, and catastrophes?

The board has been working hard on these goals and a lot has happened over the last 2 years in terms of implementing ARIA’s strategic plan. The last ARIA newsletter provides a reasonable snapshot of some of the noteworthy accomplishments and our ongoing initiatives: Hiring the new ARIA communications executive, Nicolette, to promote ARIA and increase awareness of what we do has been a big win. Promoting our journals and the research of our members is key to achieving success. And further evolution of RITS as a valuable resource for those teaching in and managing RMI programs is another important ongoing initiative. Recognizing the importance of diversity and how we can improve will be an ongoing effort and contribute to the success of ARIA.

I am interested in your ideas regarding new initiatives or new approaches to existing initiatives for the coming year as we continue to build on our successes and amplify ARIA’s impact.

ARIA’s Key Goals:


Increase Membership

  • From very high research active Universities
  • International membership
  • PhD candidates from general PhD programs
  • Retain members by providing value

Increase the breadth of topical focus leveraging ARIA’s reputation in insurance economics

  • Identify and attract scholars working on risk-related topics closely related to insurance economics

Confidently promote the association

  • Continue to implement coordinated strategic marketing plan to multiple target audiences
  • Highlight to all constituencies the impact members of ARIA make and/or the programs that the association sponsors
  • Ensure all branding, messaging etc. are consistent with ARIA’s core values
  • Expand awareness of ARIA through social media channels

Expansion and improvement of academic instruction to RMI students

  • Further development of RITS and resources for teaching RMI and managing RMI programs