Risk Insider: Joe Cellura

Made in America

By: | February 14, 2017 • 2 min read
Joe Cellura is President, North American Casualty, at Allied World, responsible for for the production and profitability of Primary Casualty, Excess Casualty, Environmental, Surety, Primary Construction and Programs. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

Made in America: What does that mean once you get past the patriotic slogan? How does the insurance industry prepare for potential upswings in manufacturing on its own soil?

President Trump has been quite vocal about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. U.S. manufacturing jobs declined from 17.3 million in 2000 to 12.3 million in 2015. Industry innovation and technology significantly reduced the workforce, but clearly, many jobs also moved overseas.

The Wall Street Journal’s recent analysis of S&P 500 company communications found that many companies are speaking with investors about the impact of President Trump’s priority to “increase U.S. manufacturing employment.”

Opening new plants is not as easy as purchasing an empty manufacturing plant, and hanging your sign on the door. There are a host of environmental concerns whether a company chooses to build new or to renovate an old plant.

CEOs are strategizing about this policy priority, and the insurance and risk management community must work alongside the C-suite as a critical part of the strategic process, assessing the new risk picture and preparing to manage these risks.

Preparing the Insurance Industry

A manufacturing workforce shift would require top-notch leadership and risk management focus. Insurance underwriters will be assessing the risk by looking at a company’s management leadership qualities and their ability to recruit and train quality employees.

Evaluating this changing risk picture should include a detailed look at exposures related to physical plants, the workers, the product and the bottom line. This requires a look across the full spectrum of risks.

For example, what are the liability issues that might arise from an untrained workforce?  What are the construction risks involved in renovating old or building new manufacturing plants?

Consider the environmental exposures. Opening new plants is not as easy as purchasing an empty manufacturing plant, and hanging your sign on the door. There are a host of environmental concerns whether a company chooses to build new or to renovate an old plant.

Even with mothballing, which ensures that plants that have been out of use are still ready and safe to reopen, there is concern that old plants will not be up to safety and quality standards. There are an abundance of unused manufacturing plants all over the U.S. that are gathering dust. Companies are trying to unload, clean-up and reuse them.  If old or new plants have any proximity to waterways and wetlands, executives need to think about the possibility of exposing those habitats to contaminants.

Changing Risk Assessments

For companies that have been out of the U.S. manufacturing world for some time, how will they manage these operations?

The insurance industry, along with manufacturers, will need to build a new model for this era of manufacturing risk. Standards must be set and manufacturers must meet them for underwriters to properly assess premiums. Precedent would be helpful, but too much time has passed since the 1950’s U.S. manufacturing zenith, when workers were not joined by robots on the assembly lines.

Manufacturing risk assessments changed when companies moved overseas because brokers and insurers could not physically go to the plants and assess risks on-site.  With the possibility of companies moving back, the insurance industry has to be prepared to walk the floors and understand what they are seeing.

The insurance industry, like the manufacturers, will need to enhance its focus from foreign risk control and liability underwriting to the complex domestic landscape. This domestic operating theater will present a myriad of legal, environmental and management challenges. The opportunity lies in meeting those challenges.

As we anticipate change on the horizon, we must take a broad look at the risk picture and begin to lay a foundation for a smooth transition to more American production. The first building blocks need to be safety. Risk management planning will protect manufacturers and their shareholder value.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Maila Aganon is the personification of the American dream. The vice president of treasury and risk for Caesars Entertainment Corp. immigrated from the Philippines and worked her way to the top.
By: | October 12, 2017 • 4 min read


R&I: What was your first job?

I actually had three first jobs at the same time at the age of 16. I worked as a cashier in a fast-food restaurant, a bank teller and a debt collector for an immigration law firm.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have a few. The first one would be the first risk manager I reported to. He taught me the technical part of the job, risk financing, captives and insurance. I am also privileged to be mentored by Lori Goltermann (CEO of U.S. Retail for Aon Risk Solutions).  From her I learned to be resilient and optimize life/work balance. Then of course I also have a circle of ladies at work who I lean in to!

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

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I was once a bank teller and had a client who was an insurance agent. He would come in every day to make deposits. One day, he offered me a job. He said, “How would you like to have your own desk, your own phone and your own computer?” And I said, “When do I start?” I worked for this personal lines insurance company for six years.

R&I: Did you take to it immediately?

Yes, I did sales, claims and insurance accounting. I left for a couple years and that is when AAA came calling, which was my first introduction to risk management. I didn’t know there was such a thing as commercial insurance. They called me and the pitch was “how would you like to run a captive insurance company?”

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

It is not so much the job but I say that I am the true product of the American Dream. I came to the U.S. when I was 16. I worked three jobs because I didn’t want to go to high school (She’d already graduated high school in the Philippines.) I spoke very little English, and due to hard work, grit and a great smile I’m now here working with all of you!

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

In movies, it is a toss-up between Gone with the Wind and Big Daddy.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

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I like anything sweet. If you liquify a dessert that’s my perfect drink.

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

This is easy because I just got back from Barcelona on a side trip. I visited the Montserrat Monastery, which is a thousand-year old monastery. It was raining and foggy. I hiked for three hours and I didn’t see a single soul. It was a very peaceful place.

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

This is going back to working at a fast food chain when I was young. I worked in a very undesirable location in San Francisco. At 16 I used to negotiate with gang members so they wouldn’t rob me during my shift. I had to give them chicken so they wouldn’t rob me.

Maila Aganon, VP, Treasury and Risk, Caesars Entertainment Corp.

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

I can’t say me. They have to be my kids Kyle and Hailey. They can make me laugh and cry within a half-minute of each other. Kyle is 10, a perfect Mama’s boy. Hailey is seven going on 18.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I think the most fulfilling part is how you build relationships with people and then after a while they become your friends.

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

Risk managers do a great job of networking. They are number one. Which is not a surprise because the pillar of our work is building a relationship with underwriters, clients and brokers.

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

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I am experiencing that right now; talent.  We need to a better job in attracting and retaining talent. Nobody knows about what we do. You tell someone ‘I’m as risk manager’ and they give you a blank look. What does that mean?

We’re great marketers and we should use this skill set in attracting talent. We should engage our universities, our communities, even our yoga groups and talk to them about the exciting world of risk. It is an exciting career because there is nothing like it.

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

It would have to be the increasing cyber risk and the interdependency of systems.

R&I: What does your family think you do? 

I took my seven year old daughter once to an insurance event that had live music, dancing and drinks. She thinks that whenever I go to an insurance meeting, I’m heading to a party.




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