ON THE JOB
R&I: What was your first job?
I was a clerk at my father’s video store. I got to learn firsthand the power
of customer service — we had to do it better to differentiate from the big
box stores just to survive. I don’t miss calling customers with outstanding
videos or informing them that they owed a rewind fee.
R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?
I took an introductory course in risk management taught by Professor
I was fortunate to attend an institution
that had such a wonderful and dedicated
risk management and insurance discipline.
Our professors were passionate about the
role of insurance whether it was in a social
or commercial setting and challenged us
to advance it.
R&I: What was the best location for the RIMS
conference and why?
San Diego, bar none. The location of the
convention center with all of the nearby
hotels, downtown and scenery make it
pretty hard to beat. Oh and the weather is
out of this world.
R&I: What emerging commercial risk most
R&I: How do you keep yourself educated about emerging risks like cyber? What
are your go-to resources?
I try to talk to our CISO [chief information security officer] every chance
I get. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and has line of sight
into the kinds of things we’re seeing every single day. Understanding what
keeps him up at night helps me think about our perils and how insurance
should respond to it.
R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?
Beazley. You have to have guts to insure a company like ours. You hear
buzz words like trust, commitment and partnership bandied about all the
time. Beazley breathes it. I’ve effectively had the same underwriter and
claims manager for more than 10 years.
We’ve had our ups and downs, like in any relationship, but we got
through them. And in so doing, it made our bond even stronger. In many
respects, Beazley is similar to our company. We say what we mean, we take
ownership in our work, and we follow through on our promises.
R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?
Yes it is. I’m not crazy about it, but it’s been around in our industry a long
time, and well before Mr. Spitzer made it a big deal. As risk managers,
we’ve always tried to be pragmatic about it. If brokers can keep us fully
informed of the contingent commission, then we don’t have to second
guess whether or not they are looking out for our company’s best interest.
R&I: Who is your mentor and why?
John Bradley, the risk manager of U.S. Bank. Every decision he makes is
rooted in the question, “What is best for my company?” He understands
insurance and people, and in this business, the latter is critical to success.
If he wasn’t so loyal to the Chicago Bears, I’d call him a friend.
R&I: What about this work do you find the
most fulfilling or rewarding?
I enjoy the interaction and collaboration
among my colleagues, insurance brokers
and insurers. We all come from such
different backgrounds, yet when we work
together to accomplish a single goal, it is
R&I: What do your friends and family think
My parents still think I sell personal lines
insurance, which is perfectly fine except
when their friends call me about getting
a quote for a homeowner’s policy.
My friends think I do what Ben Stiller
did in the movie “Along Came Polly” —
using the Riskmaster 9000 …
R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the
risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?
I’d have to say technology. Our industry was so paper intensive in the
past. I remember a time when we faxed insurance applications, insurance
certificates, insurance policies, etc.
Now most of the insurance policies are PDFs, searchable and largely
sent by email. I’m receiving claims notices by text from my insurer as it’s
reported in real time. We’ve come a long way. The challenge now is to
make sure we’re taking advantage of the efficiency for good.
R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?
“Tommy Boy” starring Chris Farley and David Spade. I’m not ashamed to
admit it either. It’s funny, touching and has tremendous replay value.
R&I: What is your favorite drink?
The Korean name for it is Makgeolli. It’s a rice wine that was popular
among farmers and the “working class” back in the day. It’s fermented rice
and tastes a little sweet, but it pairs nicely with just about any meat.
“I enjoy the interaction and collaboration among my colleagues,
After 20 years on the job, Joon Sung knows that risk
insurance brokers and insurers. We all come from such
different backgrounds, yet when we work together to
accomplish a single goal, it is incredibly gratifying.”
management success is based in part on the quality
of relationships with brokers, carriers and other risk
Years in risk management: 20
Previous position: AVP,
JP Morgan Chase
Place of Birth: Seoul,
Alma Mater: University of
Degrees and certifications: BBA-Risk Management