Risk Insider: Emily Cummins

Building Cyber Resilience

By: | November 5, 2014 • 2 min read
Emily Cummins is director of tax and risk management for the National Rifle Association, the global leader in firearms safety, education, and training. She is a past chair of the RIMS technology council and continues to promote RIMS as the most valuable society for risk professionals. She can be reached at [email protected]

The National Rifle Association of America — primarily an education, safety, and training organization — faces many of the same enterprise risks you face. You may find our association relatable in spite of other principled differences.

Risk managers recognize that the expense of risk financing adds to, not replaces, continuous investment in the defense in depth of a mature cybersecurity program. The NRA is in the estimated 30 percent of U.S. organizations already purchasing cyber insurance.

Factors contributing to growth in the cyber insurance marketplace include cyber loss headlines, improving education and awareness, and requirement by a third party such as a vendor contract. The new Advisen/PartnerRe cyber insurance market trends survey also points out that first party data breach response, such as notification and forensics, continues to be the most important coverage driver for cyber buyers.

Training individuals to see themselves as data guardians includes a dialogue that helps them make sense of our complicated and overexposed world.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) identifies four pillars of effective cyber risk cultures to build resilience in private and public sector partners: engaged executive leadership, targeted cyber risk management education and awareness, cost-effective technology investments tailored to organizational needs, and relevant risk information-sharing.

On October 28, 2014, DHS cybersecurity strategist and counsel Tom Finan explained the resilience mission to Advisen’s cyber risk insights conference in New York. The shared vision is for a safe, secure, resilient infrastructure where the American way of life can thrive.

The clarity of this statement has value for risk managers. We collectively struggle to translate the insurance industry’s data security and privacy liability lingo and the security sector’s language into a simple, accessible perspective for individuals, namely the internal and external stakeholders we must train.

Present on cyber risk and reinforce regularly to “bring it home” within your own organization. At its best, training individuals to see themselves as data guardians includes a dialogue that helps them make sense of our complicated and overexposed world. In addition, coaching and encouragement build end users’ confidence in being able to follow the spirit and letter of security policy guidelines.

While this Risk & Insurance® series intends to demonstrate how much our association has in common with other enterprises, there is a reason a mission-based organization inevitably stands out from the crowd. Our workforce is voluntarily united by a compelling central purpose and conviction.

Based on my professional observations in-house, the best character traits recognized by human resources serve to promote enterprise risk management as well. Protecting personally identifiable information and corporate intelligence is essential to our mission as a membership association and civil rights advocate.

Read all of Emily Cummins’ Risk Insider contributions

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Risk Management

The Profession: Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?


I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?


Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?


A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]