A day in the life of: a Head of Risk Management & Insurance

Daniel Buciu 200X200Daniel Buciu, CertIRM, Cert CIIMIRM
Head of Risk Management & Insurance
OMV Petrom, Romania

How did you get your job?

My first interaction with risk management took place 12 years ago in 2004 when I started selling retail insurance products as an agent for Allianz Romania in one of their branches – this was my first encounter with the art of persuading clients to take wise decisions with regard to their risks and their future.

I changed for two years to the advertising industry where I continued to develop my skills to convince corporate clients how to read and convince customers then moved back to insurance at Lukoil Group and worked for two years in one of their captive insurance companies on product and market development as they were branching out to other customers.

Seven years ago I was employed by OMV Petrom (part of OMV Group) as a risk & insurance specialist responsible for downstream risks and insurances (refinery, filling stations, etc.). As I am a curious, competitive and passionate person I read and learned a lot on the job and on my own and while doing that I acknowledged three things: the assurance of having your risks within acceptable limits is a highly valuable commodity especially in high risk industries, the market for this type of professionals is lacking supply and to have success is critical to a solid professional expertise as well as communication skills to convince people to consciously assess and decide how to mitigate their risks/

To fully develop myself for all risk management sub disciplines required in Oil & Gas I went on and did the Cert CII and Cert IRM programs as well as Master Degree in Financial Risk Mgmt. After finishing my studies, I was promoted twice and now four years later I am the heading the Risk & Insurance Practice for my company and happy to say with great feedback from my internal clients.

What’s a typical day like as a Head of Risk Management & Insurance?

My typical day begins with coffee and a review of the “TO DO” list and meetings for the day. In this time of year I spend half of my time on face-to-face risk communication (which involves engaging senior executives and heads of other departments, presenting company risk reports to their teams and having conversations with them about their contribution and feedback) as well as progressing or contributing to risk related projects (e.g. developing new methodologies to measure impact of FX risk, improving how we assess reputational consequences of our risks, contributing to development of Business Continuity Plans, etc.). In 80% of the cases I always have lunch with my team and the remaining time I distribute between discussions with my team on their individual initiatives and approvals, e-mails, phone calls and keeping up with the latest news.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best part of my job is the constant interaction with people across the company, the overview that you get from knowing the entire company and the possibility that together with top executives to really influence what our company does today to thrive in the future.

What are the challenges?

I am lucky to have a great team and support from our CFO and CEO - this makes the job easier but not easy. Besides oil price which is not helpful these days, our main challenge is to keep the process relevant & valuable at all hierarchical levels throughout the company and last but not least making sure that the process remains practical (e.g. decisions are taken and implemented in line with the risk assessments).

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

Besides professional recognition, I learned a lot from the Certificate in Risk Management training course and am happy to say that I am using all of the knowledge received in there. One example which received excellent appreciation is taking the LILAC (leadership, involvement, learning, accountability and communication) approach for a sound risk culture, developing a risk culture survey to measure the risk culture, implementing a companywide risk culture development campaign and seeing the results after three years when we re-measured the risk culture with the same survey.

No company is perfect but when you are using the instruments, do the efforts and see the improvement is definitely nice.

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

In my opinion, IRM is definitely the best choice in the world when it comes to risk management education. Risk management is all about taking wise decisions. Harvesting the future for opportunities as a business or an individual requires the best of risk management and this requires having a crystal clear, logical and sound approach to managing risks. This is what I got from the IRM training programs.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role developed significantly after my affiliation and training with the IRM and even if my current role still keeps me motivated and the future of the oil and gas industry remains risky definitely in terms of career ambitions I am looking forward to bigger professional challenges. I am passionate about what I do and I hope my career will give me the possibility to add value at a much larger scale and with international impact in the near future.

Top Tips

For someone who’s at the beginning of their career I would say:

1. persuasion and communication are key both for successful Risk Managers as well as for any business professional, make sure you develop this part as well

2. always keep the risk management proportionate, relevant and valuable for your beneficiary

3. be honest, passionate and share your success with others