By Dan Reynolds
Masters of Risk
The concept of risk mastery and ownership, as displayed
by the 2018 Risk All Stars, includes not simply seeking to
control outcomes but taking full responsibility for them.
People talk a lot about how risk managers can get a seat at the table. The discussion implies that the risk manager is an outsider, striving to get the ear or the attention of an insider, the CEO or CFO. But there are risk managers who go about things in a different way. And the 2018 Risk All Stars are prime examples of that. These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any
notion that they are anything other than key players.
Goodyear’s Craig Melnick had only been with the global tire maker a few months when
Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rainfall on Houston.
Brilliant communication between Melnick and his new teammates gave him timely and
valuable updates on the condition of manufacturing locations. Melnick remained in Akron,
mastering the situation by moving inventory out of the storm’s path and making sure
remediation crews were lined up ahead of time to give Goodyear its best leg up once the
storm passed and the flood waters receded.
Goodyear’s resiliency in the face of the storm gave it credibility when it went to the
insurance markets later that year for renewals. And here is where we hear a key phrase,
produced by Kevin Garvey, one of Goodyear’s brokers at Aon.
“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership,” Garvey
said, in what may be something of an understatement.
Dianne Howard, a 2018 Risk All Star and the director of benefits and risk management
for the Palm Beach County School District, achieved ownership of $50 million in property
storm exposures for the district.
With FEMA saying it wouldn’t pay again for district storm losses it had already paid
for, Howard went to the London markets and was successful in getting coverage. She also
hammered out a deal in London that would partially reimburse the district if it suffered a
mass shooting and needed to demolish a building, like what happened at Sandy Hook in
2018 Risk All Star Jim Cunningham was well-versed enough to know what traditional
risk management theories would say when hospitality workers were suffering too many
kitchen cuts. “Put a cut-prevention plan in place,” is the traditional wisdom.
But Cunningham, the vice president of risk management for the gaming company
Pinnacle Entertainment, wasn’t satisfied with what looked to him like a Band-Aid approach.
Instead, he used predictive analytics, depending on his own team to assemble company-specific data, to determine which safety measures should be used company wide. The result?
Claims frequency at the company dropped 60 percent in the first year of his program.
Alumine Bellone, a 2018 Risk All Star and the vice president of risk management for
Ardent Health Services, faced an overwhelming task: Create a uniform risk management
program when her hospital group grew from 14 hospitals in three states to 31 hospitals in
Bellone owned the situation by visiting each facility right before the acquisition
and again right after, to make sure each caregiving
population was ready to integrate into a standardized
risk management system.
After consolidating insurance policies, Bellone
achieved $893,000 in synergies.
In each of these cases, and in more on the following
pages, we see examples of risk managers who weren’t
just knocking on the door; they were owning the