Governance and culture take center stage at The Risk Institute’s Annual Conference

Conversation surrounding governance and culture recently took center stage at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, as The Risk Institute explored the impacts of the two key aspects of business at its Annual Conference. The two-day conference brought together Risk Institute members, business leaders, experts and faculty thought leaders from Fisher for an in-depth examination of the risk management and strategic implications of governance and culture.

Phil Renaud and Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams discuss maintaining culture through crisis.

Phil Renaud and Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams discuss maintaining culture through crisis.

Considering the various sides of governance and culture is critical to understanding how to leverage risk management to create value for an organization. The conference featured four keynote speakers, Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines; Cameron Mitchell, founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants; Randall Kroszner, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System; and David Gebler, author of best-selling book The 3 Power Values.

Bethune opened the conference and focused on his experience turning around Continental Airlines over a decade, which is detailed in his book, From Worst to First. He emphasized the importance of building accountability between employees and the organization saying, “What gets measured and rewarded, gets done.”

Mitchell is a self-described serial entrepreneur who understands that taking risks is necessary to be successful in business saying, “I may shoot myself in the foot and walk with a limp, but I’ll never shoot myself in the head and make a fatal mistake.”

Academic Director Isil Erel speaking at Annual Conference 2016.

Academic Director Isil Erel speaking at Annual Conference 2016.

During his time with the Federal Reserve System and as a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, Kroszner never imagined he would be helping guide America’s economy through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He discussed the potential ramifications of the Fed keeping interests rates at historic lows since 2008 saying, “When your short-run policy becomes a long-run policy, you will always run into unintended consequences.”

Named one of America’s top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior, Gebler is an innovator of new approaches that integrate culture, ethics, values and performance. His talk detailed how to know if your organization’s culture is a risk factor utilizing the three power values— integrity, transparency and commitment.

In addition to the keynotes, the third-annual conference brought together business leaders and experts for a series of RISKx presentations and panel discussions on women in risk, governance and culture related to business. The culture discussion explored  employees’ attitudes toward risk, mergers and acquisitions, maintaining culture through crisis, and emerging risks in the energy industry.

The Risk Institute’s Executive Education Series will resume November 15 with a discussion on Political Risk.


Leveraging Cross Sector Collaboration for Enhanced Risk Management

Keith Goad

By  Keith Goad
Associate Vice President, Office of Corporate Strategy


In the 21st century global economy, continuing education is critical for the professional that deals with risk in order to maintain an effective leadership position. In some fields, for example accounting, you are required to take ongoing education so as to keep a current CPA license. You could make the argument that accounting changes very little over time and is very episodic when it does. For a risk practitioner it is the opposite: the landscape is constantly changing for organizations.

Because of this ever-changing risk landscape and the evolving approaches to risk management Nationwide took great interest in supporting the formation of The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

Daily, Nationwide helps our members manage and mitigate the diverse risks they face. When you look at risks businesses face, there is a tendency to focus solely on the traditional risk of their industry sector. Increasingly we are seeing that risk is evolving and that there are commonalities of risk among different business sectors. For example, all organizations face risks related to cyber security, reputation, catastrophic disruption, and some form of supply chain disruption.


Digital Disruption – January 2016

Among this myriad of risks facing organizations, The Risk Institute provides opportunities through executive education sessions and conferences for business professionals to think through risk and bounce ideas off one another. What makes The Risk Institute’s approach unique is that they focus on current and emerging risks from the perspective of different industries and backgrounds. The diversity of the types of businesses that are involved in this venture as well as their size allows for a richness of perspective through the exchange of ideas and information.

If, as an organization, you are stuck in a silo of where your company operates, you may totally miss new or emerging risks that another company may have already dealt with or on which there is already a perspective. They may not be a business or sector competitor, and may in fact be from a different industry, but their experience can help you gain an advantage by seeing how they would handle a similar situation and allow you to adopt proven best practices.

In terms of continuing education in the area of risk management, it may be difficult to find training courses for the practitioner or the leader of a company. The Risk Institute is filling this critical void.


Risk Modeling: The Past & The Future – March 2016

The differentiator is that The Risk Institute isn’t entirely focused on providing insight to the C-suite where the knowledge goes back to the company and might stay at that level. It is important that you have practitioners at different levels in a company who have the same opportunity to learn and understand along these dimensions, which truly embeds this approach and understanding within the culture of the organization. For the C-suite executive, events like the annual conference offer a comprehensive exchange of ideas. The Risk Executive Education Series is focused on those more on the front lines of managing the risk, and provides insight on emerging risks and proven strategies.

For any company that seeks to learn about and respond to our changing business landscape, the opportunity to take advantage of The Risk Institute is a gift.

The Risk Institute thanks Nationwide, a founding member, for their ongoing support.  To find out more about programs and events at The Risk Institute (including executive education), or how your company can become involved, visit The Risk Institute website.

Brexit’s Anticipated Impact on U.S. Middle Market Businesses

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


Despite the clear vote by British voters to exit the EU, the impact of the vote on both Britain and the European Union is anything but clear. Policymakers are now required to focus attention on some very uncertain and unsettling repercussions.

In what is very likely the earliest data anywhere about the impact of Brexit on U.S. companies, the National Center for the Middle Market at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, has just released the results of its survey studying the impact of Brexit on companies within the Middle Market segment. The results have indicated the following:

  • About half of middle market companies say Brexit would have little or no impact on their business.
  • The other half, however feel that they will be impacted. One in eight companies foresee an extremely significant impact.
  • Manufacturers will be impacted more than the market as a whole.
  • Approximately 28% of Middle Market companies say they will reduce investment in the U.K., while approximately 21% will reduce investment elsewhere in the E.U.
  • Much of that money will remain in the U.S., with approximately 26% say they will increase investment in the homeland. Likewise, Asia may also be a direct beneficiary of investment.
  • The study also revealed that an impact on sales and procurement may be seen. Companies have indicated that they will purchase less from Britain given the reduction in British Sterling.
  • An expectation also may exist that increased “red tape” may be an indirect result of Brexit. Questions remain about any changes to customs, tariff on imported goods, quota restrictions, etc., as well as overall changes in import/export trade regulation in the short and longer term.

The complete study can be found at

NCMM Brexit Survey 2016

We are appreciative of our partnership with the National Center for the Middle Market and for their foresight and timing in issuing this informative finding.

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business brings together practitioners and researchers to engage in risk-centered conversations and to exchange ideas and strategies on integrated risk management.  Visit The Risk Institute website for more information about how you can join the conversation about enterprise risk management.

Zika – Can We Predict the Next Outbreak? (Pt 2)

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


With regard to the Zika virus, The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations have called for top level meetings to address the virus and its worldwide impact. The WHO has recently warned that the virus could potentially spread to every country in the Americas.


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We need not think beyond the last few years where we saw SARS (2003), Influenza H1N1 (2009) or Chikungunya (2014) to understand that there is a great need for businesses to think about proper planning and dealing with the potential impact upon business and society. Central to risk mitigation is learning as much as possible about Zika and its potential impact to your organization.

On June 13, 2016, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business brought together a group of professionals representing a diverse assortment of job responsibilities and

industries to discuss the impending Zika virus and pandemic planning from an enterprise perspective. The discussion centered on four topics:

  • Evolutionary Ecology and Viruses
  • Pathogens and Pandemics: Emerging Viruses including Zika
  • Pandemic Planning
  • Learning from Pandemic Events: From SARS to Zika

Conversation was energetic as we explored the factors that are driving emerging infectious disease including host shifting, the emergence of drug resistant pathogens, and insect/tick pathogens combined with rapid population growth.  This, coupled with greater urbanization, increased global travel and global climate change, creates an environment where we will most likely see an increase in emerging infectious diseases.

With this information present and the summer months now upon us, companies need to focus on mitigating the risk of Zika within the workplace. Does your company have employees in infected regions? Do you have employees that travel to infected regions? Do you have the correct information to inform employees about how to limit the spread and contraction of the disease? Employers also will need to be flexible and prepare to possibly to delay trips to infected areas, hold virtual meetings, etc.

Global Air Travel Kilpatrick and Randolph

To the extent that your organization has developed a business continuity plan, risk managers must ask if the plan is sufficient to deal with a pandemic threat in addition to the more traditional exposures present. Once you are comfortable that the plan is robust enough, it will need to be tested to respond to geographic specific exposure that could have wider impact upon the business and it customers.

Nancy Green from Aon pointed out that organizations should also conduct a review of their insurance portfolio. For example, within the firm’s property coverage, does the coverage extend to the cost of sanitizing and testing? What about the cost of evacuation of an insured property? How about the resulting loss of income from the closure of a hotel (if your business includes that exposure) during sanitization, or loss of guests due to identification of the virus at the insured premises.  What about contingent business interruption or extra expense due to the closure of a key facility of a key customer or supplier.  Green also stressed the importance of making considerations for Worker’s Compensation and Liability claims, as well as reviewing your company’s health insurance coverage. All valid and very important checks and balances to consider as we think through the enterprise-wide impact on an organization.

Our session also focused on valuable lessons  learned from past events and how they can be used to provide valuable insight for the present and future. As put forth by Tom Hopkins of Sherwin-Williams, key to his organization dealing with previous pandemics were:

  • Identification of all relevant stakeholders
  • Develop both plans and processes to address issues
  • Identify resources needed locally and globally
  • Think global, act local
  • Have communication platform in place, and stress test it in non-critical situations
  • Have senior management alignment in place to enact a “Analysis & Action Now, Evaluation Later” methodology
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity

The Risk Institute is thankful for the informed leadership of our session experts, Professor Steve Rissing (Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University), Julie E. Mangino MD, FSHEA (Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, The Ohio State University and Medical Director, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, OSU Wexner Medical Center), Nancy Green CPCU, ARM (Executive Vice President, Aon Risk Solutions) and Thomas E. Hopkins, (Retired SVP Human Resources, The Sherwin–Williams Company).

The session provided thought provoking ideas and advanced The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential for competitiveness and growth.

On June 13, 2016, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business presented the first session of its 2016-2017 Executive Education Risk Series, Zika – Can We Predict the Next Pandemic Outbreak? For more information on this and future events, please visit


Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPreteIsil Erel
Academic Director, The Risk Institute
Professor of Finance
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


One of the primary functions of The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business is to serve as a conduit between academic research and practitioners of risk management.  New research insights, the advancement of theory, and top-tier empirical studies are at the foundation of our mission, but we also want to see the utilization and implementation of our research findings.

We often reference that The Risk Institute exists at the intersection of academia and practice of risk management. It is at this intersection where we facilitate the translation of academic research into practical application. The challenge most busy industry practitioners face is that high level research is written in the unique language of academia and their busy schedules don’t afford them the discretionary time to tackle a lengthy thesis of academic research on the off chance it might contain a relevant insight or two.

risk3TwitterThe Risk Institute is meeting the need by bridging the gap with The Risk Institute Research Translation Series – a curated collection of insightful one-page practitioner focused translations of relevant research topics. Written from the perspective of a practitioner for a practitioner this one page overview goes beyond an executive summary and focuses on the substantive insight of the research in a concise and efficient manner. A practitioner can supplement their knowledge of the latest research in a matter of minutes. Should a topic resonate, the opportunity exists for more in depth reading as well as engaging the researchers through The Risk Institute.

New translations will be coming online and I encourage you to frequently consult our digital library for new offerings. Of particular note will be the translations from each of our academic grants for research from last year, which will be available later this summer.

Risk is an ever-evolving field and we are confident that The Risk Institute can play a vital role with these translations in advancing the knowledge base and practice of enterprise risk management.

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business brings together practitioners and researchers to engage in risk – centered conversations and to exchange ideas and strategies on integrated risk management. Through the collaboration of faculty, students and risk management professionals, The Risk Institute addresses risk at a broad cross section of industries and is dedicated to developing leading – edge approaches to risk management.


The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Releases its Second Annual Survey on Integrated Risk Management

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPreteIsil Erel
Academic Director, The Risk Institute
Professor of Finance
The Ohio State University Fisher College of BusinessRisk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete


Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

On June 1, 2016, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business unveiled findings from its second Annual Survey on Integrated Risk Management. The research initiative focuses on how U.S. companies view the role of risk management, how it is structured and the ways it is integrated to support business decisions. Senior leadership from more than 530 financial (23 percent) and non-financial (77 percent) companies both public and private were surveyed for the report.

This year’s survey has demonstrated that risk management continues to evolve and firms are creating holistic and organization wide risk management functions. The survey highlights how integrating risk management plays a key role in a firm’s ability to remain competitive and create sustainable value in the current business and economic climate.  

Respondents of the survey deliver insights across five key areas:

  • Organizational structure and tone at the top
    • Firms are moving toward a more centralized approach to risk management, as it is a source of both growth and value. In fact, half of the firms surveyed shared that senior leadership is allocating more funds for external and internal resources.
  • How risk management is integrated into business processes
    • To effectively integrate risk management into business decisions, firms must recognize business processes. The three leading processes reported by survey participants were:
      • Compliance
      • Strategic Planning
      • Operational Business Planning and Management
  • The scope of risk management
    • The survey highlighted that to limit risk taking by employees in financial and non-financial firms, management extensively takes steps to limit sales at risk (or similarly cash flow at risk). They also require use of financial instruments (e.g. derivatives) as hedges rather than speculative tools, set size limits on projects permissible without limits, and use financial hurdle rates to adjust for risk.
  • Risk management process
    • While many respondents believe risk management is integrated across the firm, they also report that only a subset of business functions are actively involved in identifying, measuring and managing major risks.
  • Disruption
    • Approximately 80 percent of firms participating did not experience a disruptive event in the last year. If they did, most reported that the disruptions were related to regulations, cyber theft of confidential information and or systems failure.

The Risk Institute is excited to continue to participate in the conversation around the evolution of risk management within business, from an integrated perspective of academia and practice. Stay tuned as we dig deeper into the survey results in future posts, and feel free to contact us to continue the conversation or explore ways to engage with us on this mission.

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Risk Modeling: The Past and the Future

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


No one can foresee the future, but risk managers are tasked with anticipating and using all resources at their disposal to predict what lies ahead. Risk modeling, based on data analytics, is one of the critical tools any risk practitioner can employ. However, like all things, modeling has undergone a transformation in recent years as more data is available upon which to base the models.

With risk modeling playing an increasingly crucial role in risk management, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University focused its March Executive Education Session on Risk Modeling: The Past and the Future. Over 70 attendees were at the program from 27 companies and universities that gathered for the presentations and insightful Q&A on the topic.IMG_4839 Crop

The half-day session included a three-person panel of experts moderated by The Risk Institute Academic Director, Dr. Isil Erel. The panel was comprised of:

  • Rongsheng Gong, Vice President, Head of Risk Modeling and Analytics, Huntington National Bank
  • Al Schulman, Vice President (retired), Enterprise Risk and Capital Management, Nationwide

The session focused on the essential nature of risk modeling as a risk management tool and its role for both financial and nonfinancial firms. The speaker presentations centered on how risk models have changed as business, regulatory and economic environments have evolved over time. The impact of the recent financial crises was cited numerous times during the discussion as the speakers highlighted how previous risk models created by industry, banking and government failed to identify the magnitude of the risk impact to multiple business sectors.

The trio of presenters went in-depth for session attendees to understand the evolving, complex and at times volatile economic conditions impacting a firm’s markets and operations.IMG_4971 Crop

According to our speakers, five key lessons on effective risk modeling include:

  1. The financial crisis has led to both an increased knowledge of risk models and a decreased confidence in those same models.
  1. Since the crisis, new model considerations include counterparty risk, funding liquidity, regime-switching and government guarantees.
  1. The current system of banks, insurance companies and nations is highly and dynamically connected.
  1. Managing model risk includes multiple levels of validation for every step of its development.
  1. No matter how sophisticated the risk model, the human element is still the most important.

The session emphasized how financial firms since the recession have adapted their risk models to the changing business, economic and regulatory environments. Additionally the speakers focused on the interconnectedness of institutions (banks, insurers and government) and how that plays a vital role in managing how risk is modeled.

The session proved thought-provoking and demonstrated The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential as a tool for competitiveness and growth.

For more information about upcoming events, our students, partners or research, visit our website:

Growing My Professional Skills and Continuing My Buckeye Pride

Johnson Ainslee 2.2016By Ainslee Johnson
Senior Risk Analyst
American Municipal Power



I am a proud 2007 graduate of The Ohio State University and the Fisher College of Business. Saying you’re a proud graduate of OSU is most closely associated with cheering on the Buckeyes on Saturdays in the fall. While that still holds true, my sense of OSU pride soared to new heights in 2015. It was not because of the national football title, but because I discovered The Risk Institute at the Fisher College of Business.

I knew I wanted to be involved in the OSU center of learning, not because of my Buckeye pride, but because as a risk professional for American Municipal Power, I saw the value of this center for my professional growth. I attended my first Risk Institute Executive Education session in the spring, which focused on risk as it relates to Cyber Security. What I experienced at the session was a collaboration between academics and practitioners that benefits both those who study risk and those who practice it. I’ve witnessed how Fisher students are participating in these interactions and better preparing themselves for their careers in risk management.

As a Fisher student, I majored in finance and used that as my springboard to finding context around corporate data. My strong analytical background drew me to the risk models of organizations and a career in risk management. My time at Fisher taught me to be a lifelong learner, and I truly appreciate how Fisher is supporting o-h-i-omy continued growth even after graduation through the resources of The Risk Institute.

A career in risk has presented a new set of challenges and opportunities. I have a more broad view of the organization and work to use that knowledge base as a tool to overcome departmental barriers. The Risk Institute, with its foundation of collaboration, provides a unique and valuable forum for practitioners and academics to exchange ideas and learn from a broad cross section of industries. As new partners are added and sources of insight are brought into the discussion, the impact will grow.

The Risk Institute is a tremendous asset right in our backyard. I look forward to being active as both an alum – with the chance to give back and help mold the next generation of risk practitioners – and also as a risk manager – who sees a tremendous opportunity to identify and evolve best practices as well as expand my skill set.

Find out how you can get involved, by visiting

Who are Your Disrupters?

Jim McCormick photoBy Jim McCormick
Founder and President
Research Institute for Risk Intelligence



So, let’s say you’ve decided that you need to cause some disruption in your industry.  You have come to see the value of the mantra of The Risk Institute and want to “leverage risk to create value.”

Likely at the core of your decision is the need to strengthen your competitive advantage.  Perhaps you need to respond more quickly and effectively to changes in the competitive environment such as –

  • new competition from unexpected sources,
  • competitors with new products, offerings or distribution channels, or
  • competitors with cost structures you cannot currently match.

Or perhaps you need to be more responsive to changes in the marketplace like –

  • new payment methods,
  • generational preference changes, or
  • transient customers or clients with no loyalty.

It may be that you need to up your game on the innovation front and develop more new products, services and methods.

So, who do you put on the team that is going to drive the disruption?

  • All risk-takers so they will charge ahead?
  • Perhaps people who are all risk-adverse so they won’t do anything crazy?
  • Or a healthy mix to achieve some balance?

But how do you know even know the Risk Inclination of your people?

At the Research Institute for Risk Intelligence, we have spent a lot of time and effort studying personal risk inclination.  Because like The Risk Institute at Ohio State, we feel it is vital that organizations move away from conventional risk management and its emphasis on minimizing risk to the more current approach of utilizing risk.  And that process of utilizing risk to create or respond to disruption requires understanding the risk inclination of your people.

Because fueling innovation, inspiring initiative and attaining organizational agility are not just desirable – they are now mandatory if your organization is going to survive and prevail in today’s hyper-competitive, technology-accelerated, global world of business.

At The Risk Institute’s annual conference October 7 and 8 I will discuss these issues and provide insights that will help you answer these questions.  I will present insights based on our research into personal risk inclination that will help you better lead and persuade.


The Risk Institute 2014 Survey – Evolving the Conversation

minton bernadette 130x195By Professor Bernadette A. Minton
Academic Director, The Risk Institute
Arthur E. Shepard Endowed Professor in Insurance
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business 


Last week, The Risk Institute released its first annual Survey on Integrated Risk Management.  As my colleagues and I reviewed the survey results, we agreed that they provided insights into three aspects of risk management:

  • Senior executives’ views about the role of risk management in their firms
  • The structure of risk management functions
  • How firms integrate risk management into business decisions

Yet, we also agreed that the results raised several questions, including:

  1. Are firms’ risk management approaches really integrated or are they just aspirational? On the one hand, firms say they view their risk management approach to be integrated, meaning they stress its use across the firm and recognize it to be a source of growth opportunities and not just a reactive or defensive strategy. Yet, further survey questions about how they integrate risk management into business decision-making show that such integration is piecemeal and does not extend to all functional areas or units.
  2. If a firm reports the recognition of risk management as the source of growth and as the most important catalyst for their increased risk management efforts over the last three years, why does the audit committee have the primary responsibility for risk management? The executive committee and/or strategy committee of the board understand the drivers of firm value and set the corporate objectives to enhance firm value. However, firms rarely reported that these committees are responsible for risk management at the board level.
  3. Why are business functional areas like marketing, sales, human resources or research and development not more involved in risk management processes? These functional areas have large amounts of data that can help firms understand risks to their corporate objectives as well as help identify emerging risks.
  4. If balancing risks to create value means mitigating risks at times and leveraging risks at other times, why are firms not using mechanisms to set the scope of risk taking consistent with this view?

At The Risk Institute, we are dedicated to advancing the adoption of leading risk management strategies by leveraging the collaboration between academic scholars and RiskInstitute_block Dpractitioners. As we work to provide insights into the questions raised by the survey, we look forward to continuing the conversation on the evolving role of risk management through: new areas of research; translations of completed academic research for practical business applications; and educational programs for business professionals, undergraduate and graduate level students.  Through these dialogues, we can collectively advance our knowledge of risk management and influence adoption of leading risk management practices.

To learn more and access the complete 2014 Survey on Integrated Risk Management, visit: