2016 Risk All Star: Christopher de Wolfe

Risk Management’s Sweet Spot

Mars Inc. is one of the biggest and most successful confectioners in the world.

Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, Mars Inc.

Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, Mars Inc.

But when Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, took over the corporate risk management (CRM) group at the start of this year, risk management was often the last thing on people’s minds.

Sites would only reach out with questions or issues immediately before insurance deadlines, or in many cases, after the event. The result was more time and energy spent on getting people to comply with the basics.

de Wolfe, who was with Aon prior to moving to the U.S. with Mars risk management, realized that he needed to educate his company on the integral role of risk management.

“The CRM group had a lot to offer but was severely underutilized, which led to high insurance premiums, a high risk profile, and a significantly reduced resiliency and recovery capability,” he said.

Reflecting on how Mars as a business became a major success, de Wolfe decided that he needed to market and promote his own department in the same way.

Partnering with Lootok, a risk management consultancy firm, he developed a strategy to engage with the employees in a fun yet educational way.

He devised a 5- to 10-year plan, broken into 12- to 18-month strategies and individual project plans by mapping out all of the products and services that risk management offers.

He conducted a perception survey and drew up a program based on the ABCs of risk management.

“The ABCs allowed people to understand that risk management not only provides insurance, but it also ensures that the business continues,” said de Wolfe.

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“Once this message was communicated, people became a lot more interested in what we do.”

de Wolfe used Mars’ marketing materials to develop a distinct brand for the risk management program.

“We created a logo, posters, stickers, catch phrases and other swag that created a fun, engaging, consistent, recognizable and highly visible face for the program,” he said. “By using games and activities instead of interviews and PowerPoint presentations, we were able to collect the data we needed, and keep people engaged and interested.”

“The cost of maintaining the program has decreased substantially per site, which allows us to focus on growing the program.” — Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, Mars Inc.

The results of the program have been outstanding, said de Wolfe.

“The cost of maintaining the program has decreased substantially per site, which allows us to focus on growing the program.

“Crucially, though, associates now involve us much earlier in the risk management process and contact us to let us know their risks, request help managing impending events, and help strategize ways to improve overall resiliency at their sites.”

Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, said of de Wolfe: “I’ve known Chris for 10 years and what differentiates him is that he treats his program as a business.

“He had a good program before but he wasn’t satisfied with it so he completely revamped it and is now reaping the benefits.” &

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AllStars2016v1oRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2016 Risk All Stars.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2018 Most Dangerous Emerging Risks

Emerging Multipliers

It’s not that these risks are new; it’s that they’re coming at you at a volume and rate you never imagined before.
By: | April 9, 2018 • 3 min read

Underwriters have plenty to worry about, but there is one word that perhaps rattles them more than any other word. That word is aggregation.

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Aggregation, in the transferred or covered risk usage, represents the multiplying potential of a risk. For examples, we can look back to the asbestos claims that did so much damage to Lloyds’ of London names and syndicates in the mid-1990s.

More recently, underwriters expressed fears about the aggregation of risk from lawsuits by football players at various levels of the sport. Players, from Pee Wee on up to the NFL, claim to have suffered irreversible brain damage from hits to the head.

That risk scenario has yet to fully play out — it will be decades in doing so — but it is already producing claims in the billions.

This year’s edition of our national-award winning coverage of the Most Dangerous Emerging Risks focuses on risks that have always existed. The emergent — and more dangerous — piece to the puzzle is that these risks are now super-charged with risk multipliers.

Take reputational risk, for example. Businesses and individuals that were sharply managed have always protected their reputations fiercely. In days past, a lapse in ethics or morals could be extremely damaging to one’s reputation, but it might take days, weeks, even years of work by newspaper reporters, idle gossips or political enemies to dig it out and make it public.

Brand new technologies, brand new commercial covers. It all works well; until it doesn’t.

These days, the speed at which Internet connectedness and social media can spread information makes reputational risk an existential threat. Information that can stop a glittering career dead in its tracks can be shared by millions with a casual, thoughtless tap or swipe on their smartphones.

Aggregation of uninsured risk is another area of focus of our Most Dangerous Emerging Risks (MDER) coverage.

The beauty of the insurance model is that the business expands to cover personal and commercial risks as the world expands. The more cars on the planet, the more car insurance to sell.

The more people, the more life insurance. Brand new technologies, brand new commercial covers. It all works well; until it doesn’t.

As Risk & Insurance® associate editor Michelle Kerr and her sources point out, growing populations and rising property values, combined with an increase in high-severity catastrophes, threaten to push the insurance coverage gap to critical levels.

This aggregation of uninsured value got a recent proof in CAT-filled 2017. The global tally for natural disaster losses in 2017 was $330 billion; 60 percent of it was uninsured.

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This uninsured gap threatens to place unsustainable pressure on public resources and hamstring society’s ability to respond to natural disasters, which show no sign of slowing down or tempering.

A related threat, the combination of a failing infrastructure and increasing storm severity, marks our third MDER. This MDER looks at the largely uninsurable risk of business interruption that results not from damage to your property or your suppliers’ property, but to publicly maintained infrastructure that provides ingress and egress to your property. It’s a danger coming into shape more and more frequently.

As always, our goal in writing about these threats is not to engage in fear mongering. It’s to initiate and expand a dialogue that can hopefully result in better planning and mitigation, saving the lives and limbs of businesses here and around the world.

2018 Most Dangerous Emerging Risks

Critical Coverage Gap

Growing populations and rising property values, combined with an increase in high-severity catastrophes, are pushing the insurance protection gap to a critical level.

Climate Change as a Business Interruption Multiplier

Crumbling roads and bridges isolate companies and trigger business interruption losses.

 

Reputation’s Existential Threat

Social media — the very tool used to connect people in an instant — can threaten a business’s reputation just as quickly.

 

AI as a Risk Multiplier

AI has potential, but it comes with risks. Mitigating these risks helps insurers and insureds alike, enabling advances in almost every field.

 

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