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 joseph.cellura@awac.com.

 

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

2017 Risk All Stars

Immeasurable Value

The 2017 Risk All Stars strengthened their organizations by taking ownership of improved risk management processes and not quitting until they were in place.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 3 min read

Being the only person to hold a particular opinion or point of view within an organization cannot be easy. Do the following sound like familiar stories? Can you picture yourself or one of your risk management colleagues as the hero or heroine? Or better yet, as a Risk & Insurance® Risk All Star?

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One risk manager took a job with a company that was being spun off, and the risk management program, which was built for a much larger company, was not a good fit for the spun-off company.
Rather than sink into inertia, this risk manager took the bull by the horns and began an aggressive company intranet campaign to instill better safety and other risk management practices throughout the organization.

The risk manager, 2017 Risk All Star Michelle Bennett of Cable One, also changed some long-standing brokerage relationships that weren’t a good fit for the risk management and insurance program. In her first year on the job she produced premium savings and in her second year is in the process of introducing ERM company-wide.

Or perhaps this one rings a bell. The news is trickling out that a company is poised to dramatically expand, increasing the workforce three- or four-fold. Having this knowledge with certainty would be a great benefit to a risk manager, who could begin girding safety, workers’ comp and related programs accordingly. But things sometimes don’t work that way, do they? Sometimes the risk manager is one of the last people to know.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance.

In the case of 2017 Risk All Star winner Steve Richards of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the news of an expansion spurred him to action. He completely overhauled the company’s workers’ compensation program and streamlined its claim management system. The results, even with a much higher headcount, were reduced legal costs, better return-to-work experiences for injured workers and a host of other improvements and savings.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance. Sometimes it took years for a particular risk solution, as promoted by a risk manager, to find acceptance.

In other cases a risk manager got so excited about a solution, they never even considered getting turned down. They just kept pushing until they carried the day.

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Butler University’s Zach Finn became obsessive about what he felt was a lackluster effort on the part of the insurance industry to bring in new talent. The former risk manager for the J.M. Smucker Co. settled on the creation of a student-run captive to give his risk management students the experience they would need to get hired right out of college.

The result was a better risk management program for the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and immediate traction in the job market for Finn’s students.

A few of our Risk All Stars told us that the results they are achieving were decades in the making. Only by year-in, year-out dedication to gaining transparency about her co-op’s risks and learning more and more about her various insurance carriers, did Growmark Inc.’s Faith Cring create a stalwart risk management and insurance program that is the envy of the agricultural sector. Now she’s been with some of her insurance carriers more than 20 years — some more than 30 years.

Having the right idea and not having a home for it can be a lonely, frustrating experience. Having the creativity, the passion and perhaps, most importantly, the perseverance to see it through and get great results makes you a Risk All Star. &

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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 2017 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at dreynolds@lrp.com.