Risk in Focus: Abdelghani Rehal, GradIRM, Senior Manager Technical Inspection and Risk Prevention, African Reinsurance Corporation, Lagos
Abdelghani Rehal, GradIRM
Senior Manager Technical Inspection and Risk Prevention
African Reinsurance Corporation, Lagos, Nigeria
How did you get your job?
After Industrial Engineering studies at the National Polytechnic School of Algiers (Algeria) and Finance and Insurance studies at IFID (Tunisia), I had worked in several insurance companies in Algeria for 15 years, mainly in reinsurance and underwriting positions where I led teams of underwriters and reinsurance executives, contributed to the startup of a new company and the implementation of some IT tools and systems.
Then, I joined the Casablanca regional office of Africa Re in 2016 in charge of treaty and facultative underwriting and marketing activities for two markets. During that period, I have learnt a great deal of the peculiarities of the local markets and the differences in the risk management practices at some large industrial risks in North Africa.
After that, I have joined Central operations in Lagos to take part in technical inspection and risk prevention missions where I am contributing to the improvement of internal controls and the monitoring of some regions.
I have started to show an interest in the holistic management of risk due to the nature of my organization and further to reflection on some past events where large financial and underwriting losses impacted across organizations. Therefore, I decided to embark in a passionate and enduring ERM learning journey with the IRM which has delivered my expectations.
Moreover, studying at the IRM has been a significant contributor to my continuous professional development.
What’s a typical day like as a Senior Manager Technical Inspection and Risk Prevention?
Actually, every day is rich in knowledge and insight about different risks accepted in a particular region or reinsurance claims related to different lines of business. In other words, different risk portfolios, cultures and practices could exist.
Working in a continental organization allows the practice of isomorphism learning where similar patterns of risks and losses may be spotted and interesting approaches could be shared for an improved management of risk by all stakeholders.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
This is an important control function that contributes to the system of defense against risk. I greatly enjoy playing my role of advising and challenging risk owners, checking compliance with the guidelines and directives and drawing Managers’ attention to potential deviations or emerging risks, on one hand and the unique learning experience, on the other hand.
What are the challenges?
Firstly, the main challenge is to demonstrate to risk owners that they are the key beneficiaries of our work’s outcomes and that our common aim is to improve the technical performance of the corporation as a whole.
Secondly, many risk owners are often busy and overwhelmed by operational activities and few of them may not give due importance to requests and follow up actions.
In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?
IRM qualifications provide the academic and practical background so that individuals interested in risk will be able to understand the enterprise risks, their potential interconnectedness and how they are currently being managed. Nevertheless, they are hard to earn and demand a high degree of commitment, patience and discipline.
Moreover, as organisations and governments are increasingly undertaking risk assessments before making critical decisions and ERM standards are being adopted, IRM qualifications are major tools to acquire and apply knowledge in practice.
What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?
In order to improve corporate governance in developing countries especially in Africa where ERM is either lacking or lagging behind international standards in many countries, I strongly encourage university graduates and professionals to delve into the field of ERM. The IRM is a recognized learning institution for that.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?
It is undeniable that I have developed professionally to a great extent during the last 20 years and I wish to play significant roles in the near future. Being able to grasp risk management knowledge and apply it in current or future responsibilities is a critical challenge that I am determined to achieve.
State your motivations and realistic objectives, plan your studies properly, read extensively beyond essential readings, use social media, consult the risk factors section of the annual reports of large corporations, dedicate sufficient time and effort while enjoying balanced family and professional lives.