Risk Management

The Profession

Rite Aid's Ryan McGuinness sees reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy.
By: | October 15, 2014

R&I: What was your first job?

I was a claims examiner for former TPA GAB Robbins.


R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

My predecessor at Rite Aid was leaving for another position outside the company and thought I’d be a good fit for Rite Aid. That’s how it all started. I had been working locally with PMA Insurance at the time as a claims examiner. It was a job opportunity. When I first got here I worked as a claims manager. Quickly, my interest was sparked in risk management as I was exposed to all aspects of the industry.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Risk managers have continued to do a much better job at risk identification and quantifying risk. As a result, I’d say that, today, risk managers are in a much better position to analyze and mitigate risk.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Capitalizing on opportunities to develop stronger partnerships with business partners within our own organizations and helping to educate them on recognizing and avoiding loss.

R&I: What sorts of challenges have colleagues been able to help you tackle?

Ryan J. McGuinness, senior director risk management, Rite Aid Corp.

Ryan J. McGuinness, senior director risk management, Rite Aid Corp.

The insurance and broker communities have significantly evolved in developing innovative ways to help measure and quantify risk, which, in turn, helps risk managers respond to the changing insurance landscape.

R&I: What was the best location for the RIMS conference and why?

San Diego. It’s a really nice venue. The convention center is centrally located and the city itself seems uniquely capable of accommodating large crowds.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

The emergence of cyber risk and cyber liability.

R&I: Besides the cyber issue, what emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The rising cost of health care as it relates to workers’ compensation.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

I think the contingent commission controversy is past at this point and I have considered it to be overblown, yes.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?


R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

I am optimistic. Despite the news we see today, there are a lot of good signs the economy is returning. For instance, I think in the retail sector people are beginning to spend more money now than in years past.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

My favorite book is “Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper.

10152014_profession_sidebarR&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Ray’s at Killer Creek in Alpharetta, Ga.

R&I: What would you do if you weren’t a risk manager?

I would be a youth counselor and fish much more.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Jim Lott. He was the risk manager here at Rite Aid until 2004, when he retired. He’s the one who got me excited about risk and insurance. Through him, I learned about how the insurance procurement and placement process works, and really became interested in the business.


R&I: How many emails do you get in a day?

In the last 6 months I have received or exchanged over 8,000 emails.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

Derek Jeter. Simply, he exemplifies good values both on the field and off the field.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Bertchesgaden, Germany. It’s situated in the Alps, and very picturesque.

“I like working a project from start to end, and I like partnering with groups of people working towards a common goal and achieving the results we set out to accomplish.”

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Results. I like working a project from start to end, and I like partnering with groups of people working towards a common goal and achieving the results we set out to accomplish.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

They think I am just in insurance, although they have a remote understanding of what risk management actually entails.

Janet Aschkenasy is a freelance financial writer based in New York. She can be reached at [email protected]

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