GEMS recognised with Institute of Risk Management South Africa Award
IRMSA hails GEMS risk management strategy with award for medical schemes industry

The definitive industry body for risk management in South Africa, the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) has recognised the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) with an award in the industries category for outstanding risk management among medical schemes. 

“We are greatly honoured to receive this award from IRMSA in recognition of the hard work of our team, led by GEMS Senior Manager for Risk, Andre Cowley. This award recognises the Scheme’s efforts to manage risks effectively across strategic, tactical and operations levels, in the interests of our members and beneficiaries,” says Dr Guni Goolab, Principal Officer of GEMS, who accepted the award on Friday, 9 November 2018. 

GEMS was nominated for the award for the development and implementation of its Enterprise Risk Management Programme and the Scheme’s enhanced risk management capabilities. This involved designing the approach to enterprise risk appetite and tolerance, and enterprise risk universe, aligned with GEMS’ strategy and operating model. 

“Our approach to risk management is extremely practical and has a bearing on all important Scheme decisions. We do not see this merely as a compliance requirement, but as being absolutely essential for the sustainability of the Scheme. Furthermore, our risk management programme has been implemented at all levels, from the Board of Trustees, executive, divisional to operational aspects of our organisation,” he explains. 

The risk appetite framework was developed in such a way as to link GEMS strategic imperatives with the King IV Report on Risk Management’s requirements for active risk management and oversight decisions to improve the Scheme’s risk profile. 

“We consider risk management to be a continuous, proactive and systematic process, and have incorporated managing risk as a key aspect of informing our decisions and actions to deal with uncertainties that we may encounter. This has yielded many benefits for the Scheme so far, and it is also future-orientated in that GEMS as an organisation has developed a more ‘risk intelligent’ culture that influences decisions going forward,” Dr Goolab adds. 

“Whether an emerging potential risk may be financial, political, legal, regulatory, technological or health-related in nature, this framework enables the Scheme to manage our risk profile within the bounds of our appetite for risk, which drives a higher probability of successful outcomes.

“This award affirms our confidence that the risk management programme and strategy we have implemented will serve GEMS and its membership well as we navigate the risks that are always inherent in the medical schemes environment, as well as assisting us in addressing the more specific risk trends facing the wider healthcare industry over the medium to long-term,” Dr Goolab concluded.