Or are we once again forced to
chalk up this event as a random act of
murder? Or are these events simply
As a tenacious risk professional, I
hate conceding to this notion. But this
event has brought me to my knees on
The city will likely install more
concrete bollards and other structures
to make it harder to recreate this act.
But common sense says it is next to
impossible to fortress a city fully to
protect its populace.
And now I question if this is even
the right approach. Is this the right risk
management investment? I question a
lot since this happened.
I grieve the loss of my neighbors. I
grieve for the loss of innocence of my
I grieve for the loss of the perceived
effectiveness of risk management, a
profession and practice that I commit
myself to and very much believe in.
I will get past this, but I wonder —
where do we go from here? &
JOANNA MAKOMASKI is a specialist in
innovative enterprise risk management
methods and implementation techniques.
She can be reached at email@example.com.
Imagine taking a stroll down a city block on a sunny afternoon. As you walk the sidewalk, you pass restaurant
patios, beauty salons, coffee spots and pet shops. You see
we marched today.
It took seven minutes. Seven
minutes changed the lives of so many.
Seven minutes allowed for the
senseless murder of 10 and injuries
to many more. These seven minutes
gutted me and made me question
whether risk management was just
an illusion when it comes preventing
these mass murdering attacks.
This type of attack is an assault
of the imagination for anyone with
normal sensibilities. How can anyone
of sound mind imagine a driver
jumping the sidewalk of a busy city
street, veering on and off the sidewalk
at high speed and deliberately gunning
for innocent pedestrians; including
the most vulnerable from a local
With time the flowers will wilt, and
the memorials will be relocated. The
city will eventually make claims for the
damaged bus shelter, post boxes and
Risk managers with the local
businesses and residences will claim
their physical losses; but what can we
say to employees or residents?
Are the risk managers changing
their risk registers to include the threat
of this act in the future? Should they?
along with us. Choirs sang. Mountains
of flowers, candles, cards and drawings
lay at every location where our
neighbors were killed along this stretch
of road, equivalent to two subway stops
The march down Toronto’s Yonge
Street brought together thousands who
are still reeling after that murderous
day in late April. It was a show of
respect, unity and shared sorrow. A
show of resilience. #TorontoStrong.
Anne Marie, Ji Hun, Andrea, So
He, Geraldine, Renuka, Chul Min,
Dorothy, Munir and 94-year-old Mary
Elizabeth are dead.
They were deliberately run down
by a speeding van driven by a killer
who drove down the same sidewalks
students waiting for buses; folks taking
lunch. Near the retirement home, you
pass elderly residents moving along
slowly, aided by walkers.
Now imagine walking this same
block a few days later, but this time
with the knowledge that just a few days
ago your neighbors lay dead along
I took this walk in Toronto, together
with thousands of fellow residents, first
responders, dignitaries and neighbors.
Beautiful vigils and interfaith services
were held in honor of those killed and
affected by the horrific van attack that
took place here on April 23, 2018.
Makeshift memorials expanded
with every hour. Banners — “Love for
all. Hatred for none” — were carried
The Power of
BY ROBERTO CENICEROS
My favorite family photo shows Mexican men in worn hats, barefoot children, resolute-looking women in
long, plain dresses, and a goat, all standing under a
damage following the arrest of the
two black men legitimately sitting in
the Philadelphia store waiting for a
Many corporations, including some
in workers’ compensation, have already
started down the diversity path.
Liberty Mutual, for instance,
maintains an Office of Diversity and
Inclusion, recognized for its initiatives,
including assuring employees that
despite the nation’s current political
climate, the insurer continues to
welcome all viewpoints.
It was noticeable, though, that while
RIMS’ diversity meet-up occurred on
a Sunday inside San Antonio’s Henry
B. Gonzalez Convention Center,
working-class Latino families crowded
adjacent park facilities.
Many more Latinos strolled along
San Antonio’s nearby River Walk and
packed local restaurants, enjoying
Sunday family time. The 2010 U.S.
Census shows Hispanics or Latinos
made up 63 percent of San Antonio’s
population. Their numbers have
probably grown considerably since.
Their ethnic concentration
contrasted sharply with the mostly
white and older demographic
makeup of RIMS attendees inside the
first faced backlash from two black men
arrested for trespassing in one of its
The meet-up, whose speakers
included Robert Cartwright Jr., RIMS’
first African-American president, drew
a largely student crowd. They discussed
how businesses gain competitive
advantages, expand their talent pool,
and improve marketing opportunities
by retaining employees from diverse
Participants mentioned the
assumptions commonly made when
we encounter others different from
Employee awareness about
those types of assumptions might
have prevented Starbucks’ brand
Shot in the early 1900s on a ranch
near San Antonio, I’ve always imagined
it could have served as a realistic setting
for the 1960 film “The Wild Bunch,”
with Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson,
Yul Brynner and four other white men
riding in to save a village from the
stereotypical Mexican bandits.
Perhaps because of those roots,
the “diversity and inclusion” themes
unexpectedly encountered in San
Antonio during the Risk and Insurance
Management Society Inc.’s annual
conference in April grabbed my
The conference sponsored a
“Diversity and Inclusion Meet-up,”
coincidentally held when Starbucks
BY JOANNA MAKOMASKI
So, it caught my attention when
a source volunteered during a
RIMS interview that a Travelers’
initiative to hire Hispanic adjusters
and nurse case managers mirroring
the populations the insurer serves
produced an 80 percent year-over-year, overall improvement in workers’
compensation claims outcomes.
The impressive results show that
claimants are less likely to welcome
attorney representation when someone
understanding their language and
cultural sensitivities services their claim.
A longer-term result of such efforts
may be the eventual diversification
of the population attending RIMS
Me, I enjoyed thinking how mind-blowing it would be for my ancestors
in that old photo if they could have
envisioned one of their offspring well
dressed and holding meetings inside
San Antonio’s modern-day convention
ROBERTO CENICEROS is senior editor at
Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National
Workers’ Compensation and Disability
Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at