With Military Precision
Six years in the Navy taught Timothy Fischer many lessons. A mission isn’t over until it’s accomplished. Work hard in the face of extremely tight deadlines. Empower subordinates to take action.
Fischer relied on all of those principles when faced with the daunting task of helping Babcock & Wilcox spin off its power generation company (renamed Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc.) from its nuclear and government operations company, which became BWX Technologies Inc. With just nine months before a $3 billion company became two publicly traded entities, Fischer — B&W’s director of insurance at the time — had to act fast.
“We were essentially splitting the baby in half,” said Fischer, named a 2015 Risk All Star for his efforts.
“Half of the business was very commercial — non-government work involving coal and waste-to-energy. The other half was more government and nuclear oriented — making reactor components and fuel for the U.S. Navy.”
Fischer helped the company separate its entire insurance portfolio — not an easy task considering the vastly different risk portfolios of each business unit. On one side, there’s the risk of a nuclear peril. On the other, protection was needed for catastrophic events at client locations.
“It was really almost starting from scratch as far as developing the insurance programs on each side,” said Fischer, who joined the company in August 2013 after six years at Marsh.
To make things even more complicated, the businesses shared a workers’ comp policy, risk management information systems, billing technology and a captive.
“If one company were to go under or bankrupt, you don’t want the carrier coming after the other company trying to recoup that cost,” said Fischer.
Given just nine months to complete the process, Fischer and his team did the hard work of determining which liabilities existed for each business unit, then utilized loss-modeling analysis to select appropriate D&O and excess liability limits, and casualty coverage — giving each company “a clean start.”
They also domiciled two new captives and secured new workers’ comp coverage after going through a long list of historic claims and identifying which business units they belonged to.
Fischer also saw the spin-off as an opportunity to get out of the company’s excess liability claims-made policy and into an occurrence policy. To make sure the company didn’t get hurt by any tail liability emerging from a claim during the transition period, Fischer secured “nose coverage” — which pulls into the first year’s occurrence policy all of the pre-spin-off incurred-but-not-reported claims.
He managed to pull that off with no premium increase, even though the company had seen a fairly steep price tag associated with such changes in the past.
“The overall success of the spin was absolutely phenomenal,” said Fischer.
He said that the overall cost of the spin-off program, when looking at the total insurance spend, “was only 10 percent to 15 percent higher. We thought the bill would be a lot higher with us losing our economy of scale and synergy.”
But it didn’t come without serious effort, as Fischer and his team frequently found themselves working through holidays and vacations.
“For nine months, our office was a 24/7 shop,” he said.
“You could almost go into the office any day, at any hour and find somebody working on this. I used to joke with my team that we were going to do everything you can do in risk management in nine months.”
In reflecting on the process, Fischer said his military experience was a vital backstop.
“What’s most important is mission accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how long it takes,” said Fischer.
Tim is also being recognized as a 2015 Responsibility Leader®.
The Entrepreneurial Gene
Tim Fischer and his risk management colleagues were given nine months to put all the pieces together to enable the spin-off of the power generation company Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises from the nuclear and governmental operations of BWX Technologies.
Plenty of work to do there. But Fischer was thinking much further down the road and even more expansively. Who was going to serve as the risk manager for the spun-off company?
Fischer had his eye on a candidate, Rachel Rozelle. He’d been bringing her along, mentoring her, and when the higher-ups were trying to decide who should manage the insurance program for the new company, Fischer thought it was time to make his voice heard in that regard.
He put his own reputation on the line and told the C-suites to look at Rozelle as a candidate.
“It took some pressure from my side to get the organization to recognize that they had a great internal candidate,” Fischer recalled.
That’s what we call the “entrepreneurial gene” — caring enough about the company and its outcomes to consider avenues that arguably could be well outside your job description. Going above and beyond, in other words.
We know Tim Fischer from the multiple times he won a Power Broker® designation when he worked at Marsh. We’re delighted to name him a Risk All Star and a Responsibility Leader®.