Risk Insider: Carolyn Snow

Engaged Risk Management – Beyond The Desk

By: | May 5, 2015

Carolyn Snow is director of risk management at Humana and served as president of RIMS in 2014. She can be reached at [email protected]

Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

Engaged – the state and art of being actively involved and having an in-depth understanding

Engaged Risk Management – the state and art of getting out from behind the desk and having face to face interaction with others on their domain

Both of these definitions are from my personal Guide to Risk Management.  Intellectually we all know the best risk management is active and engaged risk management yet sometimes it is hard to move beyond the safety barrier of our desk.

There are lots of logical reasons for this as we are overrun with mundane tasks like completing applications, reviewing policies, managing claims, handling invoices, countless emails, phone calls and the list, like the beat, goes on.

Engaged risk management requires energy, planning and even taking some personal risks. It takes a little courage to put ourselves into the organization’s operations, perhaps inviting ourselves to meetings, offering to make presentations, maybe even being viewed as interfering in. the business of others.

I would much rather be viewed as a consultant, supporter and partner and not as a barrier.

Engaged risk management means building networks within our organization and being open to questions and inquiries when people are still in the planning stages of new programs and events.

I would much rather be viewed as a consultant, supporter and partner and not as a barrier. I like being treated as a professional and even as expert and as a result I become a better and more effective risk manager.

As an engaged risk managers I should not only know my company, I should know my industry. One of the more basic best practices is having an annual meeting with our underwriters, which gives me the opportunity to tell the underwriters why my company is the diva while the others in our industry should only sing back-up in the chorus. Why I should get the better rate and coverage conditions.

Being an engaged risk managers is also more fun.  We have several clinics in South Florida that primarily care for Medicare members. I understood the operation on paper but after visiting and seeing our members greeted with hugs and affection by the staff and seeing them bring small homemade gifts for the physicians and others, I really understood the clinics on a much deeper level.

Seeing the distribution line at our mail order pharmacy allows me to explain the operations in better detail to our industry partners. Meeting our business areas leaders helps me understand their concerns, which are much broader than my risk management view.

Getting out and getting involved is way more interesting than sitting around answering emails and it helps me to continually refresh my risk management skills.

After all of the risk management steps and processes, the reality is that our real purpose is to support the company’s business goals.  If we get lost in the theory, in the paperwork, in the everyday, we risk losing sight of the most important things.  So let’s get up, get out, get moving, and get engaged.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]