2018 Risk All Star: Elizabeth Queen

With 19,000 People in 40 Countries, This Risk Manager Made Crisis Preparedness Her Mission

Elizabeth Queen led the development of a best-in-class incident management program that protects both employees and clients, earning her a 2018 Risk All Star award.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read

How do you make sure that 19,000 people in 40 different countries are ready to react effectively to a catastrophic event?

This is the task in front of Elizabeth Queen, the vice president of risk management at Wolters Kluwer, the software services group.  Queen does more than face the challenge; she embraces it.

Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer

The successful roll-out of the Dutch multinational’s Incident Management Capabilities program has earned this vice president of risk management a Risk All Star award in 2018.

Queen travels around the world to set up quick-reaction teams at each location, to explain standard procedures to be followed during a crisis and to define the roles to be played by assigned staff members if an event takes place.

A global mass communications tool has been set up to enable employees at local offices to immediately contact divisional managers and the corporate headquarters in times of emergency, and the whole structure is overseen by a military-style incident command system.

“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone,” said Queen, a lawyer by background, who led the enterprise risk management function at an insurance company before she signed on with Wolters Kluwer.

As the incident management structure is implemented, strong emphasis is put on training to ensure that everyone is on their toes when necessity arises.

A section on incident management has been added to the mandatory annual compliance training, and war-room simulations of terrorist incidents, cyber attacks, data breaches and other events are organized to show how mutual trust is essential for effective reaction.

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“We put people in a pressure cooker situation and make it as realistic as possible,” Queen said.

“There has been a huge demand for training in our company.

“Everyone who has taken the training comes out feeling stronger and wanting more.”

The introduction of the incident management system is in the second year of a three-year plan, but it has already been put to test.

It was triggered, for example, during the hurricane season in 2017, when several employees in the U.S. had to be evacuated from their homes and temporarily relocated to other areas.

“Our incident management capability really helped us to act quickly for them,” she said.

“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone.” — Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer

“The feedback was positive, and we received thank-you notes for reaching out to people who lived in affected areas just to ask them if they were OK.”

Which brings us to one of the greatest benefits of investing in such a program: People acknowledge when companies show real care for them.

Queen and her team understand that what they’re achieving is just good business, and it demonstrates to clients that they can count on the firm to be on their side no matter what happens.

“Side-by-side with our customers, our work at Wolters Kluwer helps protect people’s health, prosperity, safety and legal rights,” Queen said.

“Our incident management program empowers us to deliver deep impact when it matters most.” &

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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.

Rodrigo Amaral is a freelance writer specializing in Latin American and European risk management and insurance markets. He can be reached at [email protected]

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.

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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.

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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. &

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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]