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2016 Risk All Stars

Empowered Risk Management

The 2016 Risk All Stars deployed creativity and passion to add value to their organizations.
By: | September 14, 2016 • 2 min read

The best risk managers are inquisitive and tenacious. They possess the drive to help their organizations prosper, even if C-suite executives don’t initially grasp risk management’s scope or potential.

Superior risk managers proactively engage with colleagues and corporate leaders to identify the risks and challenges they face: They listen more than they talk. They delve into the details. They consider exposures and how they can be mitigated. They consider the upside of risk as well as its downside. They put their creativity and passion to work.

AllStars2016v1oThe 2016 Risk All Stars exemplify ingenuity and resourcefulness in problem solving. They demonstrate the power of their profession to make a profound difference.

For some, like James Colorado Robertson, making a difference meant starting from scratch. Before he even graduated from LSU, he created an enterprise risk management plan for the university. Then he helped build the first stand-alone public higher education insurance program in the state.

For Christopher de Wolfe, the challenge was that company leaders at Mars Inc. didn’t always recognize the integral role of risk management. It was an afterthought. That’s no longer the case. Not only did de Wolfe revamp the risk management program at Mars, he was so successful at promoting its services with colleagues that they now frequently seek advice on improving resilience and minimizing risk.

The 2016 Risk All Stars exemplify ingenuity and resourcefulness in problem solving. They demonstrate the power of their profession to make a profound difference.

The best risk managers seek out possible exposures and offer solutions. For Susan Hiteshew at Under Armour Inc., that meant building a “playbook” the fast-growing company uses to add value to projects when business lines, projects or acquisitions are discussed.

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“In a young company that grows as quickly as we do, you can’t wait for things to happen — you have to be proactive,” she said.

When unforeseen changes hit, that’s when the best risk managers display their talent for thinking outside the box.

When Scott Clark, who recently retired from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, learned that FEMA substantially reduced the level of assistance it would provide to storm-damaged properties, he worked with Swiss Re on an innovative parametric storm solution to address the shortfall.

It is that creativity, passion and determination that marks each of the 11 Risk All Stars honored this year. They devised solutions that added value to their organizations and empowered the role of risk management. We hope their achievements offer encouragement and guidance to others striving to do the same. &

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

See the complete list of 2016 Risk All Stars.

Anne Freedman is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She 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]