Risk Insider: Nancy Chambers

Sharing Knowledge and Experience

By: | August 9, 2016 • 2 min read
Nancy Chambers is the Director, Risk Management & Insurance for Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP, one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors, and a former RIMS president. She can be reached at [email protected]

While attending San Diego RIMS 2016, I met a lawyer who had been appointed risk manager for her company. I told her that involving myself with RIMS and professional risk management organizations was instrumental in my personal and professional development.

Risk managers who are new to the function or wish to develop their skills may see the same benefits I did.

Getting Involved

I attended a chapter meeting and was hooked! I served on chapter committees. I applied to speak at RIMS national and Canadian conferences. I took advantage of RIMS’ new officer training.

I then served on RIMS national education and conference committees. This gave me a broad view of the spectrum of issues important to risk managers as well as some effective ways to respond.

I was invited to serve on RIMS executive council as treasurer (two terms), VP conference, first VP audit and investments, president and past president.

During this time, I received invaluable executive training on many topics that help me in my professional career, including media, nonprofit board operations, budgeting, public speaking, dispute resolution, and so much more.

I learned from the best – my risk management colleagues and expert RIMS staff.


I also had the pleasure of serving on the Spencer Education Foundation Board and the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations (IFRMA). Representing RIMS worldwide, I traveled to Britain, France, Tasmania, and Japan, and attended chapter meetings and conferences throughout Canada and the U.S.

Getting Company Support

Getting the support of my company was very important. I took great care to ensure the senior executives understood and supported my involvement. I completed a trip report for every meeting … detailing location, attendees and agenda. I sent it to my director, CFO and board chair. These reports helped demonstrate the value of participation and the lessons I learned.

I used vacation and overtime to offset time out of office.

I copied every magazine article that named my employer, highlighting the publication and reference, and sent it to my CFO, board chair and mayor of Kitchener, Ontario. I facilitated greetings between the mayor and officials in Japan, which helped substantiate the benefit of RIMS membership and participation.

My involvement with RIMS enabled me to meet many influential people including Gen. Colin Powell, Sen. Robert Kennedy Jr., Lord Peter Levene, former chairman of Lloyd’s, U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, and U.K. Prime Minister John Major … to name a few.

Some other highlights included:

  • Socializing with some of the most senior insurance industry executives during a private, no-agenda breakfast at the Saint Regis Hotel in New York;
  • Meeting New York Insurance Commissioner Greg Serio during the contingency fee controversy;
  • Joined other risk managers for “RIMS on the Hill” in Washington to meet with U.S. senators and representatives;
  • Dined with representatives of the (then) newly formed Department of Homeland Security; and
  • Was the first woman and first risk manager to ever be invited to speak on a panel with Lord Levene.

These experiences gave me more insights and connections than I ever imagined. My advice for those entering risk management is to get involved with professional organizations. Get to know your risk management colleagues. Volunteer on a committee, or moderate or speak at a conference. Share experiences and put the best of them to use in your own organizations.

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]