Risk Insider: Emily Cummins

Never Let Them Hear You Sigh

By: | January 5, 2015

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]

Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

“National shooting championships? Sounds dangerous,” an insurance industry colleague commented skeptically, as I headed out on an annual trip to the world series of shooting sports at Camp Perry, Ohio.

A risk manager’s responsibility includes patient education of underwriters, brokers, lawyers, and other opinion makers.

Improving their understanding of your organization measurably accomplishes more tailored and cost-effective risk financing, along with reputation and brand management.

For NRA risk management, that means regularly clarifying outsiders’ misapprehensions about an organization dedicated to world-class firearms education and gun safety.

Every opportunity to share knowledge is a wonderful chance to win a new convert, or at least to open a mind.

Every opportunity to share knowledge is a wonderful chance to win a new convert, or at least to open a mind.

Experience gained in the field tends to endure in a potential agent’s or underwriter’s mind. Shared memories of building relationships in person bring to life the words and numbers on a risk manager’s insurance policy applications.

The hunting and shooting sports are among America’s safest and most fulfilling pastimes.

When you know you are about to fire, the moment crystallizes. You have trained your heartbeat to slow and your focus to block out all distractions.

The rules of safe gun handling are ingrained, and your training and practice have earned muscle memory.

Of course, eye protection and hearing protection are required in competitive shooting (and are a well-developed habit for all other shooters as well).

As ArsTechnica writer Lee Hutchinson remarked, “stepping up to a firing line without my [hearing protection] Peltors on felt a lot like driving without a seatbelt or going to the grocery store without any pants on.”

As you enter your new year of policy renewals, your new year of claims management, and your new year of industry networking, you can reframe your role as an educator. See yourself as an ambassador for your own organizational mission.

But at minimum, no matter what questions or comments you encounter, keep your risk manager’s game face on. Never let them hear you sigh.

Read all of Emily Cummins’ Risk Insider contributions

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