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Editor's Letter

Mastering Risk Management Requires Empowerment — Just Look at the 2018 Risk All Stars

By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read
Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

The term “empowerment” gets tossed around a lot. And not for the wrong reasons.

Victims should feel empowered to speak out against their oppressors. Voters should feel empowered to throw out elected officials who breach the trust contract.

Risk managers need to be empowered to make the vital decisions that save money and keep companies and their employees safe.

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Unfortunately, from our conversations with brokers and others, we know many risk managers are not empowered. They lack the juice, the connections, the will perhaps, to take ownership of the risk mitigation processes they know they need to implement to save property, human life and greenbacks.

The September 15 Issue’s award-winning Risk All Stars don’t have an empowerment problem.

These risk managers, like Pinnacle Entertainment’s Jim Cunningham, are masterful enough to iron out safety training inconsistencies company-wide, driving down worker injuries and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Like Rosa Royo of the Miami-Dade Public School District, they are willful and masterful enough to tackle a systemic problem — physicians over-prescribing medications — and control it, implementing measures that not only save money but also cut down on the national scourge of opioid addiction.

Like Rebecca Cady of the Children’s National Medical Center, they had the will to govern physicians and educate them on the fact their actions or inactions have a direct impact on patient safety — not to mention professional liability premium rates.

We call them Risk All Stars. But there is another good name, too. These risk managers are risk masters. &

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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]