1996 RIMS Compensation and Benefits Survey

Article excerpt

These are just a few of the insights that can be gleaned from the 1996 RIMS Compensation and Benefits Survey. A new product for the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS), this survey was published in March in response to a previous study of member needs conducted a year ago. "Members look to RIMS to provide definitive information for the risk management community. Compensation and benefit practices are at the heart of any profession," says Alicia Junta, associate director of risk management for Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley, New Jersey, and the chairman of the RIMS research committee, under the auspices of which the survey was conducted.

The findings of another RIMS study, the annual Cost of Risk Survey, has set a standard for the industry. "RIMS is a partner with Tillinghast-Towers Perrin for the Cost of Risk. Our members are the source for important data upon which the results are based," says Ms. Junta. Similarly, the RIMS Compensation and Benefits Survey, which will be updated biennially, will provide an important and accurate barometer for compensation and benefit practices in the United States and Canada. "This information should provide managers with valuable guidelines," says Ms. Junta. "Because organizational policies and practices will be influenced by a company's size, location, industry and other factors, absolute standards are impossible to set. Deviations are inevitable. However, depending on the degree of deviation, this study may indicate that additional scrutiny is warranted."

How RIMS Arrived at These Findings

A year ago, RIMS sought out members' input and suggestions in its member needs survey. One item that members were hungry for was data concerning how their companies' risk management departments stacked up to other organizations'. "Other firms in the past have provided some analysis in this area, but RIMS felt that we were uniquely suited to provide a snapshot for the industry," says Ms. Junta. Compensation levels and employee benefits practices are key elements of the study, although staffing and reporting structures have also been examined.

In the fall, RIMS commissioned Industry Insights, Inc., a research and consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio, that specializes in industry operating surveys, educational programs and customized research activities, to prepare the survey. The four-page questionnaire covered four basic areas: demographics; administration; compensation; and employee benefits. RIMS provided position descriptions for the eight most common job titles in the profession: Vice President, Director, Risk Manager, Employee Benefits Manager, Claims Manager, Safety Manager, Risk Management Analyst and Administrative Assistant. "We acknowledge that from company to company, job titles and responsibilities will vary. It was necessary therefore to identify the most common terms within which we could group meaningful data that would have broader implications," says Anita Benedetti, RIMS deputy executive director. A summary of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes was supplied by RIMS. Member organizations provided the rest.

Out of the more than 4,000 surveys mailed, just under 1,000 were returned, representing a response rate of 23.5 percent. "This is an excellent sample," says Shawn Six, a research director at Industry Insights. "Most response rates are between 10 and 15 percent." Of these, the majority (915) were submitted by U.S. members; 83 responses were received from Canadian members.

All data were checked manually and by a specially designed computer editing procedure. Forms received after the deadline or that were incomplete were not included in the tabulation. Strict confidence of survey responses was maintained throughout the course of the project.

On to the Findings

The report has been designed to allow organizations to easily compare their compensation levels and employee benefits with peer group companies. …