FERMA announces the death of immediate past-president Jo Willaert


The Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) has announced the death of its immediate past-president, Jo Willaert. He was president of FERMA from 2015 to November 2019 when he handed over to the current president, Dirk Wegener.

Dirk Wegener said: “We, the FERMA team and the entire European risk manager community, were shocked by the news that our dear friend, colleague and comrade Jo Willaert had passed away.

“Over the weekend, we received numerous messages from people expressing their dismay, grief and sadness, but also full of thankfulness and appreciation for his dedicated service to FERMA and our community. I, as well as many others, have lost a friend.”

Willaert chose education, leadership and communication as the themes of his FERMA presidency, and they have been the driving forces behind what FERMA accomplished during his mandate as president and continues to do.

“It is a fine record to reflect on. We are grateful to Jo for his enormous contribution to FERMA and the risk management community.” said Wegener.

During Willaert’s time as president, FERMA showed leadership in representing risk management and risk managers with European institutions and OECD on issues like natural catastrophe, EU General Data Protection Regulation, non-financial reporting, Solvency II and digital transformation.

FERMA has collaborated with other organisations including Insurance Europe, the brokers’ organisation BIPAR and the internal auditors in ECIIA to improve communication about risk. Education was one of Willaert’s passions, and among his accomplishments with the FERMA board was the creation of the first European risk management certification, Rimap, starting in 2015.

FERMA CEO Typhaine Beaupérin said: “We have all benefited from Jo’s skills, his time and his enthusiasm. He had a wonderful way of bringing people together, and he did so over his four years at FERMA President. He was a strong advocate for risk management and a friend to many. We will miss Jo very much and always remember him with gratitude and affection.”

A law graduate, Willaert spent the first part of his career in broking with companies which eventually became part of Marsh and later with Aon. He joined the imaging solutions group Agfa-Gevaert in 2001, where as corporate risk manager he was in charge of the design of worldwide enterprise risk management and insurance programmes.

Willaert served as a board member of the Belgian risk management association and he was president of the International Federation of Risk Management Associations (IFRIMA) for from 2017 to 2019.

A facility will be available on the FERMA website to leave tributes and memories of Willaert.

FERMA, Risk management, Insurance, Reinsurance, Jo Willaert, Dirk Wegener, Europe

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