The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asks its members what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they'd share with people looking to move into the industry.


Felix Kahembe CFIRM

Assistant Vice President, Senior Global Services Executive FM Global    


How did you get your job?  


I started my career in risk with a broking firm – CT Bowring in Harare, Zimbabwe. It was then that I learnt that insurance is a sub-set (risk financing) which sits under the risk management umbrella and only kicks in after risks have been identified, analysed and quantified. It was then I sought to get involved in the initial processes to risk management.


What’s a typical day like as a Assistant Vice President?


For you to understand a typical day in the life of a Global Services Executive, one must step back a bit and understand who FM Global are and what makes them unique and special…


FM Global is a Fortune 1000 mono-line property insurance company headquartered in Johnston, Rhode Island, USA. It is a mutual company. Unlike most conventional insurance companies, FM Global puts loss prevention first as we believe the majority of loss is preventable.


I am an advisor and trusted consultant to several stakeholders both internal and external. We have a handful of licences worldwide and yet can issue admitted insurance policies in over 138 countries worldwide. My role is to ensure we deliver contract certainty as well as operate in a compliant manner and provide a stable platform for our clients to put in place the necessary the risk transfer strategies in EMEA. The company has Global Services hubs in the Americas and Asia Pacific as well that look after clients’ interests there.


My day may start with an analysis of one of our partner’s latest annual report to getting an early phone call from a partner to alert me of some regulatory changes which can range from increased tax to mandatory local retention or the imposition of a rating tariff. Lately most of the changes have centred around the adoption of risk-based capitalisation and various adaptations of Solvency II regime.


What do you enjoy most about your job?


No two days are the same. If I could single out just the one thing, I enjoy the most is interacting with different cultures and the fact that I am always learning something new!


What are the challenges?


It is a fast pace environment. One must embrace change and be a willing fast learner to be of use to the many stakeholders or the knowledge base becomes dated very quickly


In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?


I sit as an equal and discuss with colleagues from account engineering, business development, client servicing, claims, business risk consulting and our insurance partners on a variety of topics. The various modules offered enable me to think strategically as a business person as well as ask the right questions


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


I highly recommend that path! Apart from the knowledge one gains, it offers an opportunity to make new friends and life-time networks that come in handy as one progresses in their career.


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


I started out placing client risks with various insurance companies without necessarily looking at the big picture. It was more like bargain hunting for clients then.


Now I am on the other end of the fulcrum where client resilience in the face of adversity is what my employers are about and what IRM drives for.


IRM enables me to access leading-edge articles on risk and my interactions with fellow IRM members is a source of continuing professional development. If I do not know something, I know where to turn to find the solution and it is invariably from fellow professionals and that is always reassuring to know that I have help all around me.


Top tips:


  • Join the IRM and start immediately on the path to their professional qualification. Do not give up when setbacks happen it is all worth it.
  • Be a life-long learner
  • Look up FM Global career page for possible openings. If there is strategic fit, you will not regret it…