Risk Insider: Emily Cummins

Building Cyber Resilience

By: | November 5, 2014 • 2 min read
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]

The National Rifle Association of America — primarily an education, safety, and training organization — faces many of the same enterprise risks you face. You may find our association relatable in spite of other principled differences.

Risk managers recognize that the expense of risk financing adds to, not replaces, continuous investment in the defense in depth of a mature cybersecurity program. The NRA is in the estimated 30 percent of U.S. organizations already purchasing cyber insurance.

Factors contributing to growth in the cyber insurance marketplace include cyber loss headlines, improving education and awareness, and requirement by a third party such as a vendor contract. The new Advisen/PartnerRe cyber insurance market trends survey also points out that first party data breach response, such as notification and forensics, continues to be the most important coverage driver for cyber buyers.

Training individuals to see themselves as data guardians includes a dialogue that helps them make sense of our complicated and overexposed world.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) identifies four pillars of effective cyber risk cultures to build resilience in private and public sector partners: engaged executive leadership, targeted cyber risk management education and awareness, cost-effective technology investments tailored to organizational needs, and relevant risk information-sharing.

On October 28, 2014, DHS cybersecurity strategist and counsel Tom Finan explained the resilience mission to Advisen’s cyber risk insights conference in New York. The shared vision is for a safe, secure, resilient infrastructure where the American way of life can thrive.

The clarity of this statement has value for risk managers. We collectively struggle to translate the insurance industry’s data security and privacy liability lingo and the security sector’s language into a simple, accessible perspective for individuals, namely the internal and external stakeholders we must train.

Present on cyber risk and reinforce regularly to “bring it home” within your own organization. At its best, training individuals to see themselves as data guardians includes a dialogue that helps them make sense of our complicated and overexposed world. In addition, coaching and encouragement build end users’ confidence in being able to follow the spirit and letter of security policy guidelines.

While this Risk & Insurance® series intends to demonstrate how much our association has in common with other enterprises, there is a reason a mission-based organization inevitably stands out from the crowd. Our workforce is voluntarily united by a compelling central purpose and conviction.

Based on my professional observations in-house, the best character traits recognized by human resources serve to promote enterprise risk management as well. Protecting personally identifiable information and corporate intelligence is essential to our mission as a membership association and civil rights advocate.

Read all of Emily Cummins’ Risk Insider contributions

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]