2014 Risk All Star: Dan Holden

Doing More With Less

Dan Holden often jokes that risk managers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the corporate world, failing to get significant respect and recognition for what they do.

Dan Holden, manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance Daimler Trucks North America

And yet Holden — who joined Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) in 2007 just as the financial crisis was about to hit — has earned a good deal of admiration from his colleagues all the same.

When the only other risk manager within his division retired several months after his arrival, the work of two people fell squarely on Holden’s shoulders. He needed to figure out how to do more with less, and he needed to do it fast.

That meant leaning more heavily on his brokers, TPAs, and other vendors, while simultaneously working to save on insurance costs by increasing deductibles and self-insured retentions (SIRs), among other things.

“During the economic downturn our sales decreased just like the rest of the U.S.,” Holden said. “[But] I was able to negotiate a significantly reduced product liability insurance premium by emphasizing not only that we were manufacturing less trucks — thus decreasing the product liability exposure — but also by asking the carrier to team-up with us … and help us weather the storm.”

The changes to DTNA’s 2009-2010 product liability program reduced costs to the company by roughly 25 percent, saving several million dollars.

“We also increased deductibles on other programs to lower premiums resulting in several hundred thousand in savings, and non-renewed some policies effectively going self-insured,” said Holden.

“This required implementing some internal risk management checks and balances.”

Holden has had to step back from handling initial claim reporting, and instead directs claims directly to Gallagher Bassett, DTNA’s auto and general liability claims administrator.

He has also reconfigured the DTNA employee website so employees can directly report auto claims, print auto insurance ID cards, and request certificates of insurance.

Ray Courtien, executive vice president with the global services division at broker Frenkel & Co., said that he was impressed with how quickly the risk manager picked up the reins for both for DTNA LLC and Detroit Diesel.

Courtien, who has been on the DTNA account since 1981, said that, given the company’s German parent and vendors nationwide, Holden has a seriously long day, needing to be on top of matters occurring on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe, simultaneously.

“He’s got a lot of different balls to juggle and he’s learned to juggle them pretty well, said Courtien. “So you have to be on your toes all the time.”

Shon DeVries, senior vice president with the construction practice at Marsh Risk Consulting, said that Holden recently brought him in to consult on a major construction program. Holden had previously served as a workers’ compensation claims executive at Marsh.

“He’s had a long-standing relationship with Frenkel, and he was very upfront that he wouldn’t do anything to break that relationship,” said DeVries.

Nevertheless, Holden realized that additional construction expertise was needed, so he was willing to listen to what DeVries had to say about the work being done at the company’s new headquarters in Portland.

“He appreciates the importance of relationships as well as good advice,” said DeVries.

Responsibility Leader

Dan is also being recognized as a 2014 Responsibility Leader.

Taking on a Mighty Challenge

You sign on to share the burden of managing risk for a high-profile $15 billion company. Months down the road, you’re bidding “Happy Retirement” to half of your team and wondering how you’re going to manage it all alone. That scenario could send a chill down the spine of any seasoned risk professional.

Holden made a critical assessment of his responsibilities. He carved out the pieces that needed his attention most, and sought alternative means to get the rest accomplished, like relying more heavily on the company’s TPA and on the company’s existing online portal.But Dan Holden took on the challenge, and he thrived —identifying multiple savings opportunities in the insurance and risk management programs of Daimler Trucks North America.

He also skillfully leveraged his resources, tapping into the expertise of his brokers, other vendors, and former colleagues to gather the tools he needed to succeed.
Taking on the work of two men, Holden persevered by looking at the big picture and restructuring his priorities.

That freed him up get creative in making adjustments to DTNA’s insurance program, negotiating better policy terms by highlighting the impact of the economic downturn. The determination to rise above every challenge is what makes Holden a Responsibility Leader®.


350px_allstarRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2014 Risk All Stars.

Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find  practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

Read more about the 2014 Responsibility Leaders.

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