2018 RIMS

5 Must-See Sessions at RIMS

Five sessions in San Antonio that should pack them in.
By: | April 10, 2018 • 5 min read

A session on drones and drones risk management is among the more tantalizing agenda items at the RIMS annual conference.


Attendees to the RIMS annual conference in San Antonio April 15 through April 19 will open their program guides and see a number of educational sessions to choose from. Here are five the Risk & Insurance® edit team thinks would be time well-spent. The listings below are taken directly from the RIMS session guide, with some additional commentary from R&I in italics. All times are central.

Cyber as a Peril: Understanding How Multiple Insurance Policies Intersect with Cyber Risk

 Monday, April 16 — 3 pm to 4 pm

Wrap your head around cyber risk dynamics. Consider the new risks presented by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the interconnectedness of multiple technology systems. Examine the different ways network security failures can affect your organization. Determine the insurance coverages that might apply. Build your understanding of the impact of unforeseen consequences of cyber events on different policies.

Category: Cyber Risk Management (CRM)

Room: Hemisfair Ballroom C3

Learning Objectives:

  • Cite the physical and nonphysical damages that arise from cyber incidents
  • Establish which potential coverages may apply to specific cyber incident damages
  • Shape your strategic approach to addressing emerging cyber risks


  • Jean Nkamdon, Risk Management and Compliance Manager, The Washington Post
  • Shiraz Saeed, National Practice Leader-Cyber Risk, Starr Companies

Nkamdon and Saeed have both produced or contributed to compelling content for R&I. Couple that with the fact that risk managers everywhere are struggling with how to incorporate cyber coverage into their overall insurance programs and this should be a good one.

Where in the World? International Risk Professionals Roundtable Session

Tuesday, April 17 9:15 to 10:45 am

Join a roundtable discussion to openly share experiences, challenges, ideas and best practices related to global risk management. Submit topics you would like to debate ahead of time. Network and review international risk management issues in a collegial environment. This session is hosted by the RIMS International Committee.

Category: Emerging Risks (EMR)

Room: 220-Global Lounge

Learning Objectives:

  • Network with risk professionals from around the globe
  • Compare insights on how risk management is conducted in different parts of the world
  • Answer your vital questions with fellow risk professionals’ experience and knowledge


  • Hailey Aldren, Director – Risk, MAXIMUS
  • John Mayfield, Senior Director of Risk Management, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Santiago Garcia, Global Insurance Manager, Caterpillar Inc.

Risk managers and their carrier partners are all in a race to build the best multinational risk and insurance programs. This is a well-timed session that should be well attended.

Sky-High Drone Growth Presents Challenges and Opportunities

Tuesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am

From local, line-of-sight inspections to international cargo delivery, early drone — or UAS, unmanned aircraft system—adoption presents myriad uses as well as risks. Examine accident frequency and causes. Look at the technology’s influence on risk-related outcomes. Determine how you can manage risk around flight operations and privacy and what insurance is available. And consider whether you could lose the long-term UAS support network you had envisioned.

Category: Emerging Risks (EMR)

Room: 303A-C

Learning Objectives:

  • Detail the current restrictions regarding Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Explain how the insurance industry addresses common exposures from UAS
  • Differentiate UAS coverages from aviation and property and casualty insurance markets


  • Vincent Monastersky, Vice President, Risk Management, Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
  • Chris Proudlove, Senior Vice President, Underwriting Executive, Product Development & UAS, Global Aerospace Inc.

Drones are being employed in a myriad of risk management applications. But they could also be a risk in and of themselves.

Active Threat and Workplace Violence on Campus: Preparedness, Response and Recovery

Tuesday, 1:15 to 2:45

From random to sophisticated attacks, make sure you know why violent events require forethought, understanding and recovery coping mechanisms. Prepare your organization by identifying threat indicators and potential in order to shape responses. Familiarize yourself with techniques for getting everyday citizens trained, equipped and empowered to help. Discuss preparations for immediate postevent management and crisis support as well as recovery.

Category: Risk Control (RIC)

Room: Hemisfair Ballroom C1

Learning Objectives:

  • Link vulnerabilities and threat indicators to appropriate postincident responses
  • Assemble best practices for violent incident preparation and response
  • Identify key crisis management sources of response support, internally and externally


  • Paul Mills, Global Kidnap Prevention Manager, AIG
  • Craig McAllister, Director, Risk Mgmt. & Insurance, Cornell University
  • Kendall Moore, Senior Vice President, The Abernathy MacGregor Group

Getting risk management right in this area is perhaps one of the most pressing needs organizations face.

Hot Topic: New Perspectives on Sexual Harassment Claims and Risk Management

Wednesday, 11 am to noon.


A tidal wave of sexual harassment claims has been unleashed across news and social media with related discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation and sexual assault allegations also coming to the forefront. Determine the long-term economic and brand damage that could result from the consequent business disruption and marred reputations. Explore the risk from insurance, legal and corporate perspectives as well as transfer and mitigation opportunities.

Category: Emerging Risks (EMR)

Room: 303A-C

Learning Objectives:

  • Plan ways you can limit reputational and brand harm from sexual harassment risk
  • Clarify the role of employment practices liability and other coverages for this risk
  • Determine how to ensure best practices to prevent sexual harassment are implemented


  • Carrie Kurzon, National EPL Practice Leader, The Hartford
  • Meredith Cavallaro, Partner, Paduano & Weintraub LLP
  • Brett Harvey, Vice President, Employee and Labor Relations, SP+
  • Kelly Thoerig, Senior Vice President, Marsh

Another topic where the risk has clearly outrun mitigation and where corporations and other entities are searching for answers. &

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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Focus: Workers' Comp

Do You Have Employees or Gig Workers?

The number of gig economy workers is growing in the U.S. But their classification as contractors leaves many without workers’ comp, unemployment protection or other benefits.
By: and | July 30, 2018 • 5 min read

A growing number of Americans earn their living in the gig economy without employer-provided benefits and protections such as workers’ compensation.


With the proliferation of on-demand services powered by digital platforms, questions surrounding who does and does not actually work in the gig economy continue to vex stakeholders. Courts and legislators are being asked to decide what constitutes an employee and what constitutes an independent contractor, or gig worker.

The issues are how the worker is paid and who controls the work process, said Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law with a client roster in the trucking industry.

The common law test, he said, the same one the IRS uses, considers “whose tools and whose materials are used. Whether the employer is telling the worker how to do the job on a minute-to-minute basis. Whether the worker is paid by the hour or by the job. Whether he’s free to work for someone else.”

Legal challenges have occurred, starting with lawsuits against transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. Several court cases in recent years have come down on the side of allowing such companies to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors.

Those decisions are significant for TNCs, because the gig model relies on the lower labor cost of independent contractors. Classification as an employee adds at least 30 percent to labor costs.

The issues lie with how a worker is paid and who controls the work process. — Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney

However, a March 2018 California Supreme Court ruling in a case involving delivery drivers for Dynamex went the other way. The Dynamex decision places heavy emphasis on whether the worker is performing a core function of the business.

Under the Dynamex court’s standard, an electrician called to fix a wiring problem at an Uber office would be considered a general contractor. But a driver providing rides to customers would be part of the company’s central mission and therefore an employee.

Despite the California ruling, a Philadelphia court a month later declined to follow suit, ruling that Uber’s limousine drivers are independent contractors, not employees. So a definitive answer remains elusive.

A Legislative Movement

Misclassification of workers as independent contractors introduces risks to both employers and workers, said Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust.

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered.”

Misclassifying workers opens a “Pandora’s box” for employers, said Richard R. Meneghello, partner, Fisher Phillips.

Issues include tax liabilities, claims for minimum wage and overtime violations, workers’ comp benefits, civil labor law rights and wrongful termination suits.

The motive for companies seeking the contractor definition is clear: They don’t have to pay for benefits, said Meneghello. “But from a legal perspective, it’s not so easy to turn the workforce into contractors.”

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered in the eyes of the state.” — Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

It’s about to get easier, however. In 2016, Handy — which is being sued in five states for misclassification of workers — drafted a N.Y. bill to establish a program where gig-economy companies would pay 2.5 percent of workers’ income into individual health savings accounts, yet would classify them as independent contractors.

Unions and worker advocacy groups argue the program would rob workers of rights and protections. So Handy moved on to eight other states where it would be more likely to win.


So far, the Handy bills have passed one house of the legislature in Georgia and Colorado; passed both houses in Iowa and Tennessee; and been signed into law in Kentucky, Utah and Indiana. A similar bill was also introduced in Alabama.

The bills’ language says all workers who find jobs through a website or mobile app are independent contractors, as long as the company running the digital platform does not control schedules, prohibit them from working elsewhere and meets other criteria. Two bills exclude transportation network companies such as Uber.

These laws could have far-reaching consequences. Traditional service companies will struggle to compete with start-ups paying minimal labor costs.

Opponents warn that the Handy bills are so broad that a service company need only launch an app for customers to contract services, and they’d be free to re-classify their employees as independent contractors — leaving workers without social security, health insurance or the protections of unemployment insurance or workers’ comp.

That could destabilize social safety nets as well as shrink available workers’ comp premiums.

A New Classification

Independent contractors need to buy their own insurance, including workers’ compensation. But many don’t, said Hart Brown, executive vice president, COO, Firestorm. They may not realize that in the case of an accident, their personal car and health insurance won’t engage, Brown said.

Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

Workers’ compensation for gig workers can be hard to find. Some state-sponsored funds provide self-employed contractors’ coverage.  Policies can be expensive though in some high-risk occupations, such as roofing, said Bollinger.

The gig system, where a worker does several different jobs for several different companies, breaks down without portable benefits, said Brown. Portable benefits would follow workers from one workplace engagement to another.

What a portable benefits program would look like is unclear, he said, but some combination of employers, independent contractors and intermediaries (such as a digital platform business or staffing agency) would contribute to the program based on a percentage of each transaction.

There is movement toward portable benefits legislation. The Aspen Institute proposed portable benefits where companies contribute to workers’ benefits based on how much an employee works for them. Uber and SEI together proposed a portable benefits bill to the Washington State Legislature.


Senator Mark Warner (D. VA) introduced the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act for the study of portable benefits, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D. WA) introduced a House companion bill.

Meneghello is skeptical of portable benefits as a long-term solution. “They’re a good first step,” he said, “but they paper over the problem. We need a new category of workers.”

A portable benefits model would open opportunities for the growing Insurtech market. Brad Smith, CEO, Intuit, estimates the gig economy to be about 34 percent of the workforce in 2018, growing to 43 percent by 2020.

The insurance industry reinvented itself from a risk transfer mechanism to a risk management mechanism, Brown said, and now it’s reinventing itself again as risk educator to a new hybrid market. &

Susannah Levine writes about health care, education and technology. She can be reached at [email protected] Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]