Anne Freedman

Anne Freedman is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

2016 Risk All Stars

Empowered Risk Management

The 2016 Risk All Stars deployed creativity and passion to add value to their organizations.
By: | September 14, 2016 • 2 min read
Modern business woman finishing a phone conversation with a colleague

The best risk managers are inquisitive and tenacious. They possess the drive to help their organizations prosper, even if C-suite executives don’t initially grasp risk management’s scope or potential.

Superior risk managers proactively engage with colleagues and corporate leaders to identify the risks and challenges they face: They listen more than they talk. They delve into the details. They consider exposures and how they can be mitigated. They consider the upside of risk as well as its downside. They put their creativity and passion to work.

AllStars2016v1oThe 2016 Risk All Stars exemplify ingenuity and resourcefulness in problem solving. They demonstrate the power of their profession to make a profound difference.

For some, like James Colorado Robertson, making a difference meant starting from scratch. Before he even graduated from LSU, he created an enterprise risk management plan for the university. Then he helped build the first stand-alone public higher education insurance program in the state.

For Christopher de Wolfe, the challenge was that company leaders at Mars Inc. didn’t always recognize the integral role of risk management. It was an afterthought. That’s no longer the case. Not only did de Wolfe revamp the risk management program at Mars, he was so successful at promoting its services with colleagues that they now frequently seek advice on improving resilience and minimizing risk.

The 2016 Risk All Stars exemplify ingenuity and resourcefulness in problem solving. They demonstrate the power of their profession to make a profound difference.

The best risk managers seek out possible exposures and offer solutions. For Susan Hiteshew at Under Armour Inc., that meant building a “playbook” the fast-growing company uses to add value to projects when business lines, projects or acquisitions are discussed.

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“In a young company that grows as quickly as we do, you can’t wait for things to happen — you have to be proactive,” she said.

When unforeseen changes hit, that’s when the best risk managers display their talent for thinking outside the box.

When Scott Clark, who recently retired from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, learned that FEMA substantially reduced the level of assistance it would provide to storm-damaged properties, he worked with Swiss Re on an innovative parametric storm solution to address the shortfall.

It is that creativity, passion and determination that marks each of the 11 Risk All Stars honored this year. They devised solutions that added value to their organizations and empowered the role of risk management. We hope their achievements offer encouragement and guidance to others striving to do the same. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2016 Risk All Stars.

Anne Freedman is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]
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2016 Risk All Star: Chauncey Fagler

An ERM Mantra

Patient, persevering and persistent. Chauncey Fagler, executive director of the Florida College System Risk Management Consortium, is all of those things.

Chauncey Fagler, executive director, Florida College System Risk Management Consortium

Chauncey Fagler, executive director, Florida College System Risk Management Consortium

Whether it’s spending $175,000 to audit property in an initiative that ended up saving consortium members $3 million each year in premium costs, or persuading more of the consortium’s 28 member colleges to participate in a health benefits program, Fagler is always searching for great risk management solutions.

Giving the college system “the best consortium” possible is his mantra, he said.

“Change is always hard. It’s just helping members to see that making changes will be of benefit to them and their colleges,” he said.

His most recent challenge was convincing more colleges to join with the 20 colleges already in the consortium’s health plan. That effort required multiple presentations to HR and business officers of the colleges as well as their boards of trustees.

Fagler is a “trusted adviser,” said Greg Ferguson, corporate account executive, Florida Blue (Blue Cross/Blue Shield).  “He leads them down the path to reason to make decisions for the right reasons,” he said.

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Fagler’s achievement in keeping consortium’s health care premium costs substantially lower than the market for more than 10 years was a key selling point.

“We have been very fortunate when you compare the consortium to the marketplace,” Fagler said.

He credits his team, the effectiveness of the consortium’s negotiating abilities, and the “outstanding job” that participating colleges do in communicating to employees about cost-savings activities. Two more colleges agreed to participate, resulting in a 30 percent increase in the number of employees protected by the consortium’s health benefits.

“Change is always hard. It’s just helping members to see that making changes will be of benefit to them and their colleges.” — Chauncey Fagler, executive director, Florida College System Risk Management Consortium

Matthew Snook, a partner at Mercer, said Fagler “has really developed and fleshed out the concept of enterprise risk management at the consortium. … Chauncey has a degree of credibility that has made it easier for his team to take this thing they have created and bring others into it,” he said.

“The more bodies they bring in, the more effective they are.”

Fagler’s leadership and problem-solving abilities were also needed a few years back when RMS modeling software changed the consortium’s 250-year probable maximum loss (PML) from $216 million to $436 million.

“That was a big challenge needing a solution,” he said.

Here’s how he found one:

The consortium hired an outside appraisal firm for $175,000 to identify all underwriting data for the covered buildings, which reduced the PML from $436 million to $244 million. Since then, the consortium has saved, on average, $3 million a year on its property program because of the accurate underwriting data.

“We are always asking, ‘Can we show you the benefits of being in the consortium?’ Once the colleges see the benefit to their bottom line, it makes financial sense to be a part of the consortium.” &

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AllStars2016v1oRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2016 Risk All Stars.

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2016 Risk All Star: Susan Tukel

Revolutionizing the Organization

Claims to cover wage losses for disciplined union transportation workers were ramping up, and LECMPA’s reserves were dwindling — from $10 million to about $5.5 million.

Susan Tukel, president, Locomotive Engineers and Conductors Mutual Protective Association

Susan Tukel, president, Locomotive Engineers and Conductors Mutual Protective Association

“The trend was so dire, I was concerned we would run out of money,” said Susan Tukel, president of the nonprofit Locomotive Engineers and Conductors Mutual Protective Association (LECMPA).

Adding to the troubles, Union Pacific, employer of the majority of LECMPA members, had increased its discipline for safety violations from about five days’ suspension to a minimum of 180 days.

A more thorough risk management approach was needed, and Tukel’s approach revolutionized her industry.

“She brought an awful lot of foresight to bear to position a 100-year-old organization for the long-term,” said Rod Bloedow, a trustee of the organization. “Susan is clearly a terrific leader.”

LECMPA not only had to increase prices, but Tukel decided it had to begin differentiating its coverage based on frequency and severity of claims as well as by job function. At the time, LECMPA had no writing groups and all members paid the same premium.

The riskiest workers — conductors, engineers, dispatchers and crew callers — would be offered newly created Group A coverage. It was more costly and provided expansive coverage for disciplinary days. Group A workers also had the option to purchase a lower cost policy that would provide fewer benefits.

Newly created Group B policies would be offered to railroad workers with less risk of discipline, those in communications and signals, and maintenance.

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About 75 percent of the members fell into Group A, and the decision wasn’t popular. It also wasn’t popular with the nonprofit’s salespeople, who feared decreased commissions.

“It was very controversial,” Tukel said. “We lost about 5,000 members. It was very scary. I probably didn’t sleep the entire year. Everybody was angry with me.

“But the next year, we operated at a profit. We had fewer members but we operated more profitability. Bigger isn’t always better. I learned that that year.”

“It was very scary. I probably didn’t sleep the entire year. Everybody was angry with me.” — Susan Tukel, president, Locomotive Engineers and Conductors Mutual Protective Association

And later that year, some of those 5,000 members who left for a competitor asked to return when the competitor raised its prices.

They were surprised when LECMPA turned them down, Tukel said.

“We decided to use this as an opportunity to do some housecleaning,” she said. “We had paid some big claims, $70,000, $80,000 claims, and then they left. And then they wanted to come back.”

Since then, she has reached out to transportation and logistics union workers to expand membership, introduced a loyalty program for retiring members, and enhanced both Group A and Group B benefits at either the same or lower price due to improved underwriting.

“She’s done an excellent job for her clients,” said David Duthie, chair, Vistage Michigan, a peer-to-peer business organization that honored Tukel with a “Soaring Eagle” award in 2015.

“She’s taken that nonprofit organization from not being as well financed as it should be to being comfortably financed as far as reserves and a growing client base and coming up with a variety of new products,” he said.

At its high point, LECMPA had 32,500 members. After seeing the huge loss of members, it now has 30,200. And its reserves are about $53 million. &

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AllStars2016v1oRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2016 Risk All Stars.

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