Risk Insider: Emily Cummins

Are You All In?

By: | July 16, 2014

Emily Cummins is director of tax and risk management for the National Rifle Association, the global leader in firearms safety, education, and training. She is a past chair of the RIMS technology council and continues to promote RIMS as the most valuable society for risk professionals. She can be reached at [email protected].

Does the evidence show that your grocery products deliver a balance of nutritional health and affordable value? Do reports verify that your mining and mineral processing operations have improved safety and health conditions in the mines? Does over a century’s track record demonstrate that your organization’s safety, education, and training programs have successfully trained millions of people?

In other words, are you proud of your mission? Do you believe in what you do?

No matter your own line of business, you know why personally investing in your organization’s success makes a difference in the risk and insurance industry. Authenticity bolsters your credibility, while insincerity can undermine your reputation. Risk managers play a uniquely personal role in representing their organization’s risks to brokers and underwriters. Working closely with these partners will reveal you to be either genuine or artificial.

Cyber risk illustrates this theme. The complex web of data security, and privacy liability law and regulation drives organizations to manage cyber risk through an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework. In addition, enterprisewide dialogue about cyber risk management serves to highlight an organization’s own privacy philosophy. Safeguarding the personally identifiable information (PII) of our members and supporters demonstrates a commitment to privacy inherent to our mission as a membership association and civil rights advocate.

Such focus on security and privacy explains why we supported the American Civil Liberties Union with a friend of the court brief in their lawsuit over government surveillance through telephone metadata. The ACLU’s view is that certain mega-surveillance may strike at the core of Americans’ rights to privacy, free speech, and association.

Our brief in the ACLU matter argued that the government’s broad interpretation of its authority to collect information from private entities could effectively override legislative protections for privacy, such as provisions intended to block gun registration. Our lawyer, John Frazer of Virginia, also referred to potential abuse of data mining. Aggregating forms of data to perform inference analysis about individuals and portray their connections and networks could allow the easy identification of our members and other gun owners for unlawful purposes.

Respecting your own organization’s mission requires true understanding based on a risk manager’s independent professional judgments. To the skeptics who meet me through industry networking and continuing-education events, I can respond sincerely: If I did not believe in my association, I would not have invested such a significant portion of my career and life there.

Are YOU all in? If you are unable to answer that question as sincerely as we can, take the time to explore what motivates you when you wake up every morning.

Read all of Emily Cummins’ Risk Insider contributions

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