2017 NWCDC

The Power of Community

After a catastrophic injury, this real-life robocop was able to walk again thanks to a strong support system.
By: | December 8, 2017 • 2 min read

When a catastrophic injury knocks a worker down, it takes a village to pick them back up. Physicians, therapists, adjusters, employers, nurse case managers — all key players in recovery.

“I found it hard to be separated from that brotherhood with my coworkers,” said Jeremy Romero, a retired deputy with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico. Romero spoke at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo on Dec. 7, detailing his own journey of injury and recovery.

Jeremy Romero, retired deputy, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office

Romero was paralyzed after he lost control of his patrol car and crashed. His injuries were extensive, but Genex Services provided him with a case manager who really got Romero going again.

She was stern and told Romero that she wasn’t giving up on him, Romero said.

“The case manager said, ‘You are not giving up on yourself, you’re not giving up on your family, and you’re not giving up on your career,’ ” said Romero. “It really motivated me.”

From there, Romero began researching ways to walk again. He found the ReWalk — an exoskeleton suit geared toward paraplegics. He showed his case manager, and she took the reins.

“She came prepared,” said Trish Elizalde, branch manager, Genex Services.

She presented her own research and helped the team feel confident that the benefits of the machine were both medically sound and financially worth it. It was approved by insurance in under a month.

The ticket price on a ReWalk is $95,000, which may seem like a steep price to pay. But Elizalde shared with attendees that, on average, medical costs for a spinal cord paraplegic patient can be upwards of $200,000 per year due to infection, pressure ulcers, respiratory problems and other ailments.

“The case manager said, ‘You are not giving up on yourself, you’re not giving up on your family, and you’re not giving up on your career.’ It really motivated me.” — Jeremy Romero, retired deputy, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office

Romero said having the case manager advocate for his mobility really made this a success story.

“She didn’t allow me to feel defeated. She became a part of my family.”

Now that Romero has been through the gauntlet, he strives to give others in similar positions the community they need. Recently, he reached out to two police officers, who were also paralyzed on the job, to share his experience with them and listen to theirs.

“If it means me being in a wheelchair,” said Romero, he’s happy that he can help teach and give back to his fellow officers. &

Autumn Heisler is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

As a professor of business, Jack Hampton knows firsthand the positive impact education has on risk managers as they tackle growing risks.
By: | April 9, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Ellen Thrower, president (retired), The College of Insurance, introduced me to the importance of insurance as a component of risk management. Further, she encouraged me to explore strategic and operational risk as foundation topics shaping the role of the modern risk manager.

Chris Mandel, former president of RIMS and Risk Manager of the Year, introduced me to the emerging area of enterprise risk management. He helped me recognize the need to align hazard, strategic, operational and financial risk into a single framework. He gave me the perspective of ERM in a high-tech environment, using USAA as a model program that later won an excellence award for innovation.

Bob Morrell, founder and former CEO of Riskonnect, showed me how technology could be applied to solving serious risk management and governance problems. He created a platform that made some of my ideas practical and extended them into a highly-successful enterprise that served risk and governance management needs of major corporations.

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


From a background in corporate finance and commercial banking, I accepted the position of provost of The College of Insurance. Recognizing my limited prior knowledge in the field, I became a student of insurance and risk management leading to authorship of books on hazard and financial risk. This led to industry consulting, as well as to the development of graduate-level courses and concentrations in MBA programs.

R&I: What was your first job?

The provost position was the first job I had in the industry, after serving as dean of the Seton Hall University School of Business and founding The Princeton Consulting Group. Earlier positions were in business development with Marine Transport Lines, consulting in commercial banking and college professorships.

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

Creating a risk management concentration in the MBA program at Saint Peter’s, co-founding the Russian Risk Management Society (RUSRISK), and writing “Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management” and the “AMA Handbook of Financial Risk Management.”

A few years ago, I expanded into risk management in higher education. From 2017 into 2018, Rowman and Littlefield published my four books that address risks facing colleges and universities, professors, students and parents.

Jack Hampton, Professor of Business, St. Peter’s University

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

The Godfather. I see it as a story of managing risk, even as the behavior of its leading characters create risk for others.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Jameson’s Irish whiskey. Mixed with a little ice, it is a serious rival for Johnny Walker Gold scotch and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

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

Mount Etna, Taormina, and Agrigento, Sicily. I actually supervised an MBA program in Siracusa and learned about risk from a new perspective.

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


Army Airborne training and jumping out of an airplane. Fortunately, I never had to do it in combat even though I served in Vietnam.

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

George C. Marshall, one of the most decorated military leaders in American history, architect of the economic recovery program for Europe after World War II, and recipient of the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize. For Marshall, it was not just about winning the war. It was also about winning the peace.

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

Sharing lessons with colleagues and students by writing, publishing and teaching. A professor with a knowledge of risk management does not only share lessons. The professor is also a student when MBA candidates talk about the risks they manage every day.

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

Sensitizing for-profit, nonprofit and governmental agencies to the exposures and complexities facing their organizations. Sometimes we focus too much on strategies that sound good but do not withstand closer examination. Risk managers help organizations make better decisions.

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


Developing executive training programs to help risk managers assume C-suite positions in organizations. Insurance may be a good place to start but so is an MBA degree. The Risk and Insurance Management Society recognizes the importance of a wide range of risk knowledge. Colleges and universities need to catch up with RIMS.

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

Cyber risk and its impact on hazard, operational and financial strategies. A terrorist can take down a building. A cyber-criminal can take down much more.

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

My family members think I’m a professor. They do not seem to be too interested in my views on risk management.

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