2015 Winners List

2015 Risk All Stars

Topics: Risk All Stars

Angeli Mancuso: On a Mission to Revitalize (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_2_MancusoManager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System

By getting the board of directors behind a goal to decrease patient-handling injuries, Angeli Mancuso has improved employees’ quallity of life.

Timothy Fischer: With Military Precision (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_8_FischerChief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Tim Fischer was given nine months to address the risk implications of a sizable spin-off.

 

Tim Kirsch: Keeping the Budweiser Moving, Safely

09012015_All_Stars_1_KirschSafety Director, Schilling

Tim Kirsch overhauled his company’s safety mission, protecting drivers on the road while slashing workers’ comp claims costs.

Martin Brady: A Better Mousetrap

09012015_All_Stars_9_BradyExecutive Director, Schools Insurance Authority

The urgent need for a creative solution inspired one Risk All Star to create a unique excess casualty program with benefits on several levels.

Jennifer Cable: Composing the Grand Opera

09012015_All_Stars_3_CableClaims Manager, Balfour Beatty Construction

Jennifer Cable’s degree is in opera performance. She is also a risk management maestro.

 

Tracey Gasper: Service Centered (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_4_GasperRisk Manager, TBC Corp.

This risk manager’s savings for her company can be measured in the millions.

 

Elizabeth Queen: Building a Unified Travel Program (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_5_QueenVice President of Risk Management, Wolters Kluwer

With an existing program now spread enterprise-wide, traveling employees have an improved experience, while the company enjoys lower costs and reduced risk.

Michael D. Payne: All the Right Moves

09012015_All_Stars_6_PayneOrganizational Resilience Manager, iJET International

One Risk All Star took on the daunting challenge of quickly relocating a sprawling headquarters, and without a single moment of down time.

David Brooks: Putting ERM on Offense

09012015_All_Stars_7_BrooksSVP, ERM, head of man-made catastrophe, XL Catlin

David Brooks quantifies and manages risks across every industry and product offered by XL Catlin.

 

Brent Cooley: Shakespeare Minus the Tragedy (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_10_CooleyArts Health and Safety Advisor, University of California, Santa Cruz

A series of potentially high-severity events drove the push to launch a safety organization that will help keep theater students safe for years to come.

Kris Finell: Doing What Needs to Be Done

09012015_All_Stars_11_FinellChief Risk and Administrative Officer, Rytec Corp.

New to her position in risk management, Rytec’s Kris Finell set about correcting just about everything she could get her hands on.

Albert Fierro: The Fruits of Long, Hard Labor (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_12_FierroDirector, Risk Management, AARP Andrus Insurance Fund

With decades of expertise in captive insurance, Albert Fierro was the ideal person to help AARP rein in its rising workers’ compensation costs.

Renee Crow: Playing the Part

09012015_All_Stars_13_CrowVice President, Risk Management, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

Adding role playing to training efforts helped Kimpton Hotels’ risk manager teach employees how to avoid mistakes that drive up the cost of claims.

Todd Chirillo: Turning Risk Inside Out

09012015_All_Stars_14_ChirilloDirector, Cash & Risk Management and Global Real Estate, Treasury, Meritor

Treasury now drives risk management throughout Meritor’s business units, thanks to the efforts of Todd Chirillo.

Jeannie Garner: A Firm Hand at the Wheel

09012015_All_Stars_15_GarnerDirector of Insurance and Financial Services, Florida League of Cities

Florida’s insurance pool members can rest easy that, thanks to Jeannie Garner’s initiative, they can bounce back in the face of severe storms.

Amanda Lagatta: Making It Work

09012015_All_Stars_16_LaggatGroup Manager, Insurance, Target

When staff reductions and organizational change made strong leadership imperative, Amanda Lagatta rose to the challenge.

Robotics Risk

Rise of the Cobots

Collaborative robots, known as cobots, are rapidly expanding in the workforce due to their versatility. But they bring with them liability concerns.
By: | May 2, 2017 • 5 min read

When the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto hired mobile collaborative robots to bolster security patrols, the goal was to improve costs and safety.

Once the autonomous robotic guards took up their beats — bedecked with alarms, motion sensors, live video streaming and forensics capabilities — no one imagined what would happen next.

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For some reason,  a cobots’ sensors didn’t pick up the movement of a toddler on the sidewalk who was trying to play with the 5-foot-tall, egg-shaped figure.

The 300-pound robot was programmed to stop for shoppers, but it knocked down the child and then ran over his feet while his parents helplessly watched.

Engaged to help, this cobot instead did harm, yet the use of cobots is growing rapidly.

Cobots are the fastest growing segment of the robotics industry, which is projected to hit $135.4 billion in 2019, according to tech research firm IDC.

“Robots are embedding themselves more and more into our lives every day,” said Morgan Kyte, a senior vice president at Marsh.

“Collaborative robots have taken the robotics industry by storm over the past several years,” said Bob Doyle, director of communications at the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

When traditional robots joined the U.S. workforce in the 1960s, they were often assigned one specific task and put to work safely away from humans in a fenced area.

Today, they are rapidly being deployed in the automotive, plastics, electronics assembly, machine tooling and health care industries due to their ability to function in tandem with human co-workers.

More than 24,000 robots valued at $1.3 billion were ordered from North American companies last year, according to the RIA.

Cobots Rapidly Gain Popularity

Cobots are cheaper, more versatile and lighter, and often have a faster return on investment compared to traditional robots. Some cobots even employ artificial intelligence (AI) so they can adapt to their environment, learn new tasks and improve on their skills.

Bob Doyle, director of communications, Robotic Industry Association

Their software is simple to program, so companies don’t need a computer programmer, called a robotic integrator, to come on site to tweak duties. Most employees can learn how to program them.

While the introduction of cobots into the workplace can bring great productivity gains, it also introduces risk mitigation challenges.

“Where does the problem lie when accidents happen and which insurance covers it?” asked attorney Garry Mathiason, co-chair of the robotics, AI and automation industry group at the law firm Littler Mendelson PC in San Francisco.

“Cobots are still machines and things can go awry in many ways,” Marsh’s Kyte said.

“The robot can fail. A subcomponent can fail. It can draw the wrong conclusions.”

If something goes amiss, exposure may fall to many different parties:  the manufacturer of the cobot, the software developer and/or the purchaser of the cobot, to name a few.

Is it a product defect? Was it an issue in the base code or in the design? Was something done in the cobot’s training? Was it user error?

“Cobots are still machines and things can go awry in many ways.” — Morgan Kyte, senior vice president, Marsh

Is it a workers’ compensation case or a liability issue?

“If you get injured in the workplace, there’s no debate as to liability,” Mathiason said.

But if the employee attributes the injury to a poorly designed or programmed machine and sues the manufacturer of the equipment, that’s not limited by workers’ comp, he added.

Garry Mathiason, co-chair, robotics, AI and automation industry group, Littler Mendelson PC

In the case of a worker killed by a cobot in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2015, the worker’s spouse filed suit against five of the companies responsible for manufacturing the machine.

“It’s going to be unique each time,” Kyte said.

“The issue that keeps me awake at night is that people are so impressed with what a cobot can do, and so they ask it to do a task that it wasn’t meant to perform,” Mathiason said.

Privacy is another consideration.

If the cobot records what is happening around it, takes pictures of its environment and the people in it, an employee or customer might claim a privacy violation.

A public sign disclosing the cobot’s ability to record video or take pictures may be a simple solution. And yet, it is often overlooked, Mathiason said.

Growing Pains in the Industry

There are going to be growing pains as the industry blossoms in advance of any legal and regulatory systems, Mathiason said.

He suggests companies take several mitigation steps before introducing cobots to the workplace.

First, conduct a safety audit that specifically covers robotics. Make sure to properly investigate the use of the technology and consider all options. Run a pilot program to test it out.

Most importantly, he said, assign someone in the organization to get up to speed on the technology and then continuously follow it for updates and new uses.

The Robotics Industry Association has been working with the government to set up safety standards. One employee can join a cobot member association to receive the latest information on regulations.

“I think there’s a lot of confusion about this technology and people see so many things that could go wrong,” Mathiason said.

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“But if you handle it properly with the safety audit, the robotics audit, and pay attention to what the standards are, it’s going to be the opposite; there will be fewer problems.

“And you might even see in your experience rating that you are going to [get] a better price to the policy,” he added.

Without forethought, coverage may slip through the cracks. General liability, E&O, business interruption, personal injury, cyber and privacy claims can all be involved.

AIG’s Lexington Insurance introduced an insurance product in 2015 to address the gray areas cobots and robots create. The coverage brings together general and products liability, robotics errors and omissions, and risk management services, all three of which are tailored for the robotics industry. Minimum premium is $25,000.

Insurers are using lessons learned from the creation of cyber liability policies and are applying it to robotics coverage, Kyte said.

“The robotics industry has been very safe for the last 30 years,” RIA’s Doyle said. “It really does have a good track record and we want that to continue.” &

Juliann Walsh is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]