Risk Insider: Dwayne Eastwood

Stand Up for Health

By: | August 14, 2014 • 2 min read
Dwayne M. Eastwood, MBA, ARM, CSP, CFPS, CEAS III, is the risk manager for McCoy’s Building Supply, a building supply retailer with 87 locations. He received a B.S. in Fire Protection and Safety from Oklahoma State University and earned his MBA from Howard Payne University. He can be reached at [email protected]

I first noticed someone standing at a desk a couple years ago. At the time, the practice seemed unusual, but many studies have reported the health benefits of standing versus sitting.

As early as 1953, British researchers found that bus drivers were twice as likely to die of heart attacks as standing trolley operators. This is an alarming statistic considering society is more sedentary today than it was 60 years ago!

The Centers for Disease Control conducted a seven-week study of workers with sedentary jobs. CDC researchers added a device to workers’ desks that allowed the employee to sit and stand. The Take-a-Stand Project reduced sitting by 66 minutes per day, resulting in 54 percent less upper back and neck pain and improved moods.

The American Journal of Epidemiology found in a 2010 study that women who sit for more than six hours a day versus three hours a day had an approximately 40 percent higher all-cause death rate, and men had an approximately 20 percent higher death rate. This association was independent of the amount of physical activity the study subjects engaged in for the rest of the day.

As a society, we are sitting more, resulting in a sedentary lifestyle.

“As early as 1953, British researchers found that bus drivers were twice as likely to die of heart attacks as standing trolley operators.”

There are more televisions and computers in the average household than ever before. In the 1960s, the average household contained only one television. Today, a television in every room is not uncommon.

The number of home computers, tablets and smart phones continue to rise. In addition, more workers are working in offices.

Lack of activity is one contributing factor to coronary artery disease, caused by plaque buildup that may require surgery to bypass. Coronary artery bypass surgery costs approximately $100,000 in the U.S. The average cost for people diagnosed with diabetes in 2012 was $13,700 per year.

The sit-stand path to improved health is compelling. It can be hard to place a hard number on ROI, but if you consider the reduction in medical expenses for employees that may have an obesity problem, diabetes, coronary artery disease, etc. it’s easy to see that there would be a long-term ROI.

For an office with 200 workers, assume that 10 percent choose the sit-stand option. There are a couple of very versatile devices on the market that can be added to a desk that cost an average of $600. Twenty workers times $600 equals $12,000.

That amount is inexpensive compared to the cost of serious medical treatment. The return on investment could be measured by the cost of one coronary bypass surgery or one year of diabetes treatment. Not to mention improved productivity and happier workers.

Top management support is absolutely necessary for the installation of sit-stand desks to be successful. Someone within the company should be responsible for knowing the options and assisting with adjustments. If the devices are not adjusted properly, the user may experience discomfort.

Some view a sit-stand desk option as a fad. But that’s neither true or on-point.

Our emphasis should be on improving employee health and reducing the risk factors associated with the calamities of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

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.


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.


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]