Risk Insider: Eric Copple

6 Ways to Fight Risk Management Muscle Atrophy

By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read
Eric B. Copple CIC, CRM is a risk management adviser for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Throughout his 20 years of brokerage experience, he has helped clients build effective risk management systems to stay on the road to success. He can be reached at [email protected]

Businesses often suffer from a condition I like to call “risk-management muscle atrophy.”

The ideas, processes, systems, and energy within these businesses were effective at one time, but the leadership stopped emphasizing and implementing them somewhere along the way. As a result, they became ineffective.

If your company is going through the business equivalent of a mid-life crisis, you might need to work toward recuperating long-unused muscle. How can you make that happen?

There are six key factors needed to re-strengthen atrophied business muscle:

1. Analysis

Begin with an analysis of where your business stands currently: how much muscle power has been lost? Using the appropriate weight-room equipment – Data Audits, Procedures Audits, Internal surveys – your business can begin to plot the path back to full strength.

2. Time

This return to good muscle health is going to take time. Determine just how important it is for you to get your program back in fighting form: how much time needs to be dedicated to this process?


3. Consistency

Hire the equivalent of a personal trainer, someone who knows what methods work because they have personally witnessed their effects on other people. The right trainer can also help your business stay on track through behavioral consistency and regular exercises to help regrow those muscles.

4. Prioritization

To achieve your mission, it is vital that the people who are tasked with carrying it out on a daily basis believe in it. They must understand that in the current prioritization of tasks, the muscle health of the business is the number one focus.

5. Accountability

To ensure that the changes your business is making are long-lasting, you must sell the employees on the importance of this new workout initiative. Creating accountability among employees will be achievable if they love the idea of the desired outcome.

6. Motivation

Accountability will also increase company-wide motivation to succeed. This means making sure that you are hiring people who can align this idea with their personal goals or see this as a worthy use of their time.

When was the last time you reviewed your hiring process? How are you communicating your goals and vision? What questions are you asking the applicant to identify their personal goals? And as new hires settle in to the corporate structure, are you meeting with individual employees to ask questions that will discern whether or not they are thinking positively and are aligned with the change?

It’s time to get your risk-management muscle back. Let’s do the work to achieve good business health.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2018 Risk All Stars

Stop Mitigating Risk. Start Conquering It Like These 2018 Risk All Stars

The concept of risk mastery and ownership, as displayed by the 2018 Risk All Stars, includes not simply seeking to control outcomes but taking full responsibility for them.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 3 min read

People talk a lot about how risk managers can get a seat at the table. The discussion implies that the risk manager is an outsider, striving to get the ear or the attention of an insider, the CEO or CFO.


But there are risk managers who go about things in a different way. And the 2018 Risk All Stars are prime examples of that.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Goodyear’s Craig Melnick had only been with the global tire maker a few months when Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rainfall on Houston.

Brilliant communication between Melnick and his new teammates gave him timely and valuable updates on the condition of manufacturing locations. Melnick remained in Akron, mastering the situation by moving inventory out of the storm’s path and making sure remediation crews were lined up ahead of time to give Goodyear its best leg up once the storm passed and the flood waters receded.

Goodyear’s resiliency in the face of the storm gave it credibility when it went to the insurance markets later that year for renewals. And here is where we hear a key phrase, produced by Kevin Garvey, one of Goodyear’s brokers at Aon.

“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership,” Garvey said, in what may be something of an understatement.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Dianne Howard, a 2018 Risk All Star and the director of benefits and risk management for the Palm Beach County School District, achieved ownership of $50 million in property storm exposures for the district.

With FEMA saying it wouldn’t pay again for district storm losses it had already paid for, Howard went to the London markets and was successful in getting coverage. She also hammered out a deal in London that would partially reimburse the district if it suffered a mass shooting and needed to demolish a building, like what happened at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

2018 Risk All Star Jim Cunningham was well-versed enough to know what traditional risk management theories would say when hospitality workers were suffering too many kitchen cuts. “Put a cut-prevention plan in place,” is the traditional wisdom.

But Cunningham, the vice president of risk management for the gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, wasn’t satisfied with what looked to him like a Band-Aid approach.


Instead, he used predictive analytics, depending on his own team to assemble company-specific data, to determine which safety measures should be used company wide. The result? Claims frequency at the company dropped 60 percent in the first year of his program.

Alumine Bellone, a 2018 Risk All Star and the vice president of risk management for Ardent Health Services, faced an overwhelming task: Create a uniform risk management program when her hospital group grew from 14 hospitals in three states to 31 hospitals in seven.

Bellone owned the situation by visiting each facility right before the acquisition and again right after, to make sure each caregiving population was ready to integrate into a standardized risk management system.

After consolidating insurance policies, Bellone achieved $893,000 in synergies.

In each of these cases, and in more on the following pages, we see examples of risk managers who weren’t just knocking on the door; they were owning the room. &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]