Faces of Risk Management: Hear from Larry Stephens, URMIA's First Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

By URMIA National Office posted 03-11-2019 09:00 AM

Larry Stephens speaks at podium while board members are being sworn in


This February, the URMIA Board of Directors announced the recipient of a brand new award honoring leadership and commitment to URMIA that goes far above and beyond. The URMIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Larry V. Stephens, Indiana University (IU), for his significance and involvement in URMIA, including giving our National Office its home in Bloomington, Ind., and providing tremendous support for many years to its staff. Congratulations and huge thanks to Larry for all he has done!

View the URMIA Lifetime Achievement Award  press release or read on to hear more of Larry's memories in his own words. 


Larry Stephens was director of insurance, loss control, and claims at Indiana University (IU), serving from 1985 until his retirement in early 2019. Larry served as URMIA’s president twice (from 1999-2001 and 2001-2002) and on URMIA’s Board of Directors. He established the URMIA National Office on the IU campus in 2005. Larry received URMIA’s Distinguished Risk Manager award in 2002 and URMIA's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for his contributions and leadership to the profession and the association.

Larry shares his memories in his "Faces of Risk Management" feature - some highlights:
  • "My message to the department has always been to be the solution to the problems people have. If we don’t have the answer, help them find who does. Be creative and agile. Sometimes the answer falls outside the comfortable sphere you’ve created, so you have to stretch and grow – take chances. Be a decision maker, not a muddler. Be the solution, not part of the problem. The IU community has learned they can call us, and we’ll do our best to help."
  • "URMIA has always played an important role in my risk management life. I can’t name everyone, but the list of URMIA members who helped me is a long one. URMIA and its members are the best resource higher education risk management has. The widening involvement and increased professionalism are amazing. The growth in both Larry Stephens stands with URMIA members John Watson and John McLaughlin and URMIA Executive Director Jenny Whittingtonmembership and the depth of resources and ambition to make a difference over my 30 odd years of membership is staggering. URMIA has evolved from a group of isolated insurance people trying to work together, to people with good ideas trying to foster cohesive solutions in an era of cautious improvement, to an organization that is forging ahead to make a substantial difference in how risk is managed in higher education."
  • "At the 2004 Annual Conference in Anchorage, the URMIA Board of Directors held a series of super-secret meetings discussing how to move forward with the association’s management. I suggested placing the office at a university, and Mary Breighner said, 'Tell us what you would do.' I did, and the URMIA National Office was born at IU, imbedded in space my office controlled. The creation of our National Office has been the greatest catalyst for change and improvement since those first meetings in the early 1960s."

Larry, your impact on URMIA cannot be overstated! All of us at URMIA wish you the best in your very well-deserved retirement.  

Larry Stephens stands in the foreground as URMIA 's Board of Directors is sworn in with hands raised

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