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Risk Insider: Warren Berey

‘Easy’ Is Rarely ‘Right’

By: | March 13, 2018 • 2 min read
Warren Berey is SVP of Multinational Insurance at Generali Global Corporate & Commercial U.S.A., overseeing the development of international casualty and package insurance solutions for U.S. companies and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies. He can be reached at [email protected]

There’s a right insurance solution for every buyer.  Finding it becomes a matter of making sure all parties in the buying decision are aligned on what “right” means.

Many companies are, unfortunately, focused on finding the cheapest solution and are therefore willing to change their programs as often as necessary to maintain the lowest price point.  While this may seem reasonable up front, it misses out on the real point of buying insurance.

Buyers shouldn’t look at insurance as merely an expense item on their income statement, but rather a safeguard for when something goes wrong.  Granted, we all hope nothing ever goes wrong, but if it does, that’s when you truly know if you’ve made the “right” decisions.

So, what does “right” look like if you are not solely focused on price?  The answer, or course, is: “right” is in the eye of the beholder.

If you value your company, you should look for an underwriter who values theirs. And, more importantly, an underwriter who is willing to value yours at the same level that you do.

No two companies are exactly the same, and insurers that try to fit yours into a specific box or formula won’t be able to manage a steady continuity of your program when losses arise. As a multinational company, you should be partnering with a global insurance organization who truly understands the importance of operating on a global scale.

If you value your company, you should look for an underwriter who values theirs. And, more importantly, an underwriter who is willing to value yours at the same level that you do.

Recognizing your underwriter’s understanding of your company may seem difficult to measure – but the best way to do so is to ask your broker to meet your underwriter (if your underwriter hasn’t already asked to meet you).  Is your underwriter experienced at evaluating company risk and structuring long-term solutions?

If you have been with the same insurer for a while, have you had the same underwriter? Has the insurer’s management team remained intact? Companies that remain consistent to the same core strategies are usually more successful over time at developing risk expertise, which will come in handy later when you truly need it.

So, let’s not evaluate insurance solutions by prioritizing what comes easy. Instead, build personal value by looking closely at your company’s potential exposure to future claims and find an insurance solution from an underwriter that shares your philosophies and values, takes the time to get to know you, and has the staying power and focus to be with you — especially during the most difficult times.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2018 Risk All Stars

Masters of Risk

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]