Column: Risk Management

If You Stay, You Should Pay

By: | October 12, 2017 • 2 min read
Joanna Makomaski is a specialist in innovative enterprise risk management methods and implementation techniques. She can be reached at [email protected]

We just recently witnessed historically large hurricanes and tropical storms. We also witnessed risk management at its best.

We saw in action brilliantly coordinated contingency plans and rescue operations. We saw mandatory evacuations, in several states in advance of the hurricanes, executed with consideration, dignity and respect. We saw the majority of residents prudently obeying evacuation orders to seek safe shelter — despite a few individuals who chose to resist.

Mandatory evacuations are used by emergency management officials to not only save the lives of inhabitants but also the lives of first responders.

But if one disobeys an order that is said to be mandatory, what kind of teeth does the word “mandatory” hold? What are the implications if you disobey such an order? What does it mean legally? Are there consequences attached to such defiance?

Each state has the statutory authority to implement emergency protocols during a disaster, including suspending some fundamental rights to enforce a mandatory evacuation.

It is my understanding that officials are not likely to ever arrest masses of people who disregard a mandatory evacuation order. But that said, these vigilantes ought to be prepared to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after the hurricane: surviving with no electricity, water, internet, phone, and — most importantly — no emergency response service of any kind.


Even faced with this dire possibility, we still see brave souls risk their lives to extract stranded and defiant individuals. It is at this point I ask: When does the duty of emergency responders to assure public safety outweigh a person’s liberty to refuse evacuation? Should officials push harder to ensure a full evacuation?

Each state has the statutory authority to implement emergency protocols during a disaster, including suspending some fundamental rights to enforce a mandatory evacuation.

The police have long been known to have the obligation to secure the public welfare including during an emergency. That’s no different than the widely accepted authority of a fire chief who can order the evacuation of a building.

Legally, resisting an evacuation order in certain states is a criminal offense. The police have the power to seize you and forcefully evacuate you. But this is reluctantly done. In the past, incredibly, officials have been sued for wrongful imprisonment, false arrest and civil rights infringement.

One wonders, are these people in denial? Do they have insider information on the storm? Or do they just think they’re luckier than the rest?

In any case, what should be done with them? It appears not much more can be done or should be done. In these instances, the safety of the responders has to override the life of any resisting individual.

In some states, they hit you in the pocketbook, making you liable for all emergency rescue costs if needed later. If you choose to stay, I think it’s only fair you pay.

I guess this adage holds true: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” — W. Edwards Deming. &

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Janet Sheiner, VP of risk management and real estate at AMN Healthcare Services Inc., sees innovation as an answer to fast-evolving and emerging risks.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

As a kid, bagging groceries. My first job out of school, part-time temp secretary.

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

Risk management picks you; you don’t necessarily pick it. I came into it from a regulatory compliance angle. There’s a natural evolution because a lot of your compliance activities also have the effect of managing your risk.

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


There’s much benefit to grounding strategic planning in an ERM framework. That’s a great innovation in the industry, to have more emphasis on ERM. I also think that risk management thought leaders are casting themselves more as enablers of business, not deterrents, a move in the right direction.

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

Justified or not, risk management functions are often viewed as the “Department of No.” We’ve worked hard to cultivate a reputation as the “Department of Maybe,” so partners across the organization see us as business enablers. That reputation has meant entertaining some pretty crazy ideas, but our willingness to try and find a way to “yes” tempered with good risk management has made all the difference.

Janet Sheiner, VP, Risk Management & Real Estate, AMN Healthcare Services Inc.

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

San Diego, of course!  America’s Finest City has the infrastructure, Convention Center, hotels, airport and public transportation — plus you can’t beat our great weather! The restaurant scene is great, not to mention those beautiful coastal views.

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

The emergence of risk management as a distinct profession, with four-year degree programs and specific academic curriculum. Now I have people on my team who say their goal is to be a risk manager. I said before that risk management picks you, but we’re getting to a point where people pick it.

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


The commercial insurance market’s ability to innovate to meet customer demand. Businesses need to innovate to stay relevant, and the commercial market needs to innovate with us.  Carriers have to be willing to take on more risk and potentially take a loss to meet the unique and evolving risks companies are facing.

R&I: Of which insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion?

Beazley. They have been an outstanding partner to AMN. They are responsive, flexible and reasonable.  They have evolved with us. They have an appreciation for risk management practices we’ve organically woven into our business, and by extension, this makes them more comfortable with taking on new risks with us.

R&I: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. health care industry and why?

I am very optimistic about the health care industry. We have an aging population with burgeoning health care needs, coupled with a decreasing supply of health care providers — that means we have to get smarter about how we manage health care. There’s a lot of opportunity for thought leaders to fill that gap.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Professionally, AMN Healthcare General Counsel, Denise Jackson, has enabled me to do the best work I’ve ever done, and better than I thought I could do.  Personally, my husband Andrew, a second-grade teacher, who has a way of putting things into a human perspective.

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

In my early 20s, I set a goal for the “corner office.” I achieved that when I became vice president.  I received a ‘Values in Practice’ award for trust at AMN. The nomination came from team members I work with every day, and I was incredibly humbled and honored.

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

The noir genre, so anything by Raymond Chandler in books. For movies,  “Double Indemnity,” the 1944 Billy Wilder classic, with insurance at the heart of it!

R&I: What is your favorite drink?


Clean water. Check out for how to help people enjoy clean, safe water.

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

Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing.

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

China. See favorite restaurant above. This restaurant had been open for 100 years in that location. It didn’t exactly have an “A” rating, and it was probably not a place most risk managers would go to.

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

Eating that duck at Liqun!

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

Dr. Seuss who, in response to a 1954 report in Life magazine, worked to reduce illiteracy among school children by making children’s books more interesting. His work continues to educate and entertain children worldwide.

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

They’re not really sure!

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