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Janet Aschkenasy

Janet Aschkenasy is a freelance financial writer based in New York. She can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.

2014 Risk All Star: Janine Pitocco

Do It Safely or Don’t Do It

When industrial property insurer FM Global blows things up or sets them on fire to learn how to mitigate client losses, someone needs to be looking out for the company’s scientists, loss prevention engineers and technicians.

That someone is Janine Pitocco, FM Global environmental, health and safety manager at the company’s research campus in West Glocester, R.I.

Janine Pitocco, health and safety manager with FM Global

Janine Pitocco, health and safety manager with FM Global

During the past 10 years, under Pitocco’s watch, the number of OSHA-reportable injuries at the carrier’s testing site has been reduced by 70 percent.

That’s been achieved through her emphasis on safety and training programs that emphasize early reporting of unsafe conditions and potentially dangerous acts, said her supervisor, Lou Gritzo, a vice president and research manager with FM Global.

Gritzo said that helping people to work safely — and not cut corners when no one’s around to see it — is simply part of Pitocco’s DNA.

“She makes it part of her colleagues’ as well,” he said.

Pitocco’s job requires expertise and precision.

It also calls for social skills that Pitocco exhibits on a daily basis, said Richard Chmura, the FM Global research campus manager in West Glocester.

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Not every environmental, health and safety manager is able to work side by side with lab floor personnel without getting in the way of the operations people, Chmura said.

“It’s imperative to gain the acceptance and cooperation of the operations staff and Janine has the unique ability to do that,” he said.

“We have to ensure,” said Pitocco, “that all of our staff know and believe their personal safety is our highest priority regardless of what challenges are presented.”

“If it can’t be done safely, it won’t be done,” she said.

Pitocco was recently instrumental in creating a safe environment for testing the flammability and toxicity of stored lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries.

Use and storage of the lightweight, rechargeable batteries is ubiquitous. They are used in cell phones, laptop computers, power tools, and other hand-held devices.
FM Global conducted the testing in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association.

To aid safer research into the risks, Pitocco put together a safety program that protected scientists, engineers and test personnel.

As a result of the testing, FM Global scientists and engineers can now impart the following information to clients and to the business world at large.

• Gases produced as a by-product of a li-ion battery fire required scientists working near the test fire — as well as fire suppression personnel — to wear breathing respirators.

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• Those same by-products of combustion also warrant that fire suppression personnel wear chemical resistant suits, boots and gloves during post-fire cleanup.

• Li-ion batteries present several unique fire hazards when involved in a fire, due to an ignitable electrolyte liquid contained within such products.

• When bulk-stored in corrugated board cartons, early fire extinguishment and cooling of the li-ion batteries — using sprinkler systems, in particular — is imperative to properly protect a facility.

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350px_allstarRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2014 Risk All Stars.

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2014 Risk All Star: Dan Holden

Doing More With Less

Dan Holden often jokes that risk managers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the corporate world, failing to get significant respect and recognition for what they do.

Dan Holden, manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance Daimler Trucks North America

And yet Holden — who joined Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) in 2007 just as the financial crisis was about to hit — has earned a good deal of admiration from his colleagues all the same.

When the only other risk manager within his division retired several months after his arrival, the work of two people fell squarely on Holden’s shoulders. He needed to figure out how to do more with less, and he needed to do it fast.

That meant leaning more heavily on his brokers, TPAs, and other vendors, while simultaneously working to save on insurance costs by increasing deductibles and self-insured retentions (SIRs), among other things.

“During the economic downturn our sales decreased just like the rest of the U.S.,” Holden said. “[But] I was able to negotiate a significantly reduced product liability insurance premium by emphasizing not only that we were manufacturing less trucks — thus decreasing the product liability exposure — but also by asking the carrier to team-up with us … and help us weather the storm.”

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The changes to DTNA’s 2009-2010 product liability program reduced costs to the company by roughly 25 percent, saving several million dollars.

“We also increased deductibles on other programs to lower premiums resulting in several hundred thousand in savings, and non-renewed some policies effectively going self-insured,” said Holden.

“This required implementing some internal risk management checks and balances.”

Holden has had to step back from handling initial claim reporting, and instead directs claims directly to Gallagher Bassett, DTNA’s auto and general liability claims administrator.

He has also reconfigured the DTNA employee website so employees can directly report auto claims, print auto insurance ID cards, and request certificates of insurance.

Ray Courtien, executive vice president with the global services division at broker Frenkel & Co., said that he was impressed with how quickly the risk manager picked up the reins for both for DTNA LLC and Detroit Diesel.

Courtien, who has been on the DTNA account since 1981, said that, given the company’s German parent and vendors nationwide, Holden has a seriously long day, needing to be on top of matters occurring on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe, simultaneously.

“He’s got a lot of different balls to juggle and he’s learned to juggle them pretty well, said Courtien. “So you have to be on your toes all the time.”

Shon DeVries, senior vice president with the construction practice at Marsh Risk Consulting, said that Holden recently brought him in to consult on a major construction program. Holden had previously served as a workers’ compensation claims executive at Marsh.

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“He’s had a long-standing relationship with Frenkel, and he was very upfront that he wouldn’t do anything to break that relationship,” said DeVries.

Nevertheless, Holden realized that additional construction expertise was needed, so he was willing to listen to what DeVries had to say about the work being done at the company’s new headquarters in Portland.

“He appreciates the importance of relationships as well as good advice,” said DeVries.

Responsibility Leader

Dan is also being recognized as a 2014 Responsibility Leader.

Taking on a Mighty Challenge

You sign on to share the burden of managing risk for a high-profile $15 billion company. Months down the road, you’re bidding “Happy Retirement” to half of your team and wondering how you’re going to manage it all alone. That scenario could send a chill down the spine of any seasoned risk professional.

Holden made a critical assessment of his responsibilities. He carved out the pieces that needed his attention most, and sought alternative means to get the rest accomplished, like relying more heavily on the company’s TPA and on the company’s existing online portal.But Dan Holden took on the challenge, and he thrived —identifying multiple savings opportunities in the insurance and risk management programs of Daimler Trucks North America.

He also skillfully leveraged his resources, tapping into the expertise of his brokers, other vendors, and former colleagues to gather the tools he needed to succeed.
Taking on the work of two men, Holden persevered by looking at the big picture and restructuring his priorities.

That freed him up get creative in making adjustments to DTNA’s insurance program, negotiating better policy terms by highlighting the impact of the economic downturn. The determination to rise above every challenge is what makes Holden a Responsibility Leader®.

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350px_allstarRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2014 Risk All Stars.

Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find  practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

Read more about the 2014 Responsibility Leaders.

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2014 Risk All Star: Steve Stoeger-Moore

Alternative Vision Saves Millions

Steve Stoeger-Moore saved Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges $10 million in premium over the past 10 years.

He did it by helping to create an alternative insurance system whereby the schools obtain nine varieties of coverage — including general liability, auto liability, workers’ compensation, property, violent acts, and most recently, cyber risk — via a mutual municipal insurance company.

Steve Stoeger-Moore, president, Districts Mutual Insurance

Steven Stoeger-Moore, president, Districts Mutual Insurance

That company is Districts Mutual Insurance (DMI). The mutual taps reinsurance markets including Gen Re and Fireman’s Fund, to obtain coverages above retention layers held by the individual colleges.

Most of the time, DMI also holds a retention layer.

The alternative insurance structure was devised in the midst of the hard markets of 2001-2003, when a few of the schools’ finance professionals wondered whether there might be a better way to go, said Stoeger-Moore.

At the time, he said, the Wisconsin Technical Colleges — which had been purchasing their needed insurance products as a consortium — were reeling from annual rate increases year after year.

“The schools had been seeing double-digit increases in premium for three straight years as of 2003, with compounded increases of 20 percent each year during ’01, ’02, and ’03 — all driven by market conditions, not losses,” Stoeger-Moore said.

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In fact, he said, the schools’ loss ratio over the three-year period was just 27 percent.

“The coverages appropriate to higher education had become more and more restricted. Carriers were selectively writing various businesses, and M&A activity among insurers was taking a lot of options off the table,” he said.

“No college pays for a loss suffered by another college. And no college pays a premium based on a loss at another college.” — Steven Stoeger-Moore, president, Districts Mutual Insurance

Meanwhile rates were going up and up and up every year, Stoeger-Moore said.

The solution: DMI.

Before the mutual was formed, Stoeger-Moore served as risk manager for the Milwaukee Area Technical College, one of only a few state technical schools that had a risk manager in place.

As the market hardened, school finance officials approached Stoeger-Moore, who developed the blueprint for DMI and agreed to take on the insurer’s day-to-day operations.

“It’s an insurance carrier that has no employees,” he said.

On the other hand, via independent vendors, DMI has experts working as third-party claims administrators, accountants, and auditors, besides commercial insurance carriers like London-based Beazley, which is now partnering with DMI in underwriting a cyber breach response program.

Stoeger-Moore said that it is illegal for insurers to pool their exposures, payments, or reserve funds under Wisconsin state law.

“No college pays for a loss suffered by another college,” he said.

“And no college pays a premium based on a loss at another college.”

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Stoeger-Moore has his share of fans. “Steve is really the most knowledgeable insurance technical person I’ve ever met. He created this whole thing,” said Joe DesPlaines, DMI’s business continuity and crisis response consultant.

DesPlaines said Stoeger-Moore envisioned that the mutual would offer insurance coverage as well as risk management consulting including crisis response planning, employee health and safety, and security assessments.

DMI’s budget is derived from college premium payments, said Stoeger-Moore.

Linda Joski, area vice president for Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. in Wisconsin, which brokers all reinsurance coverages for DMI, said that Stoeger-Moore is one of a kind.

“He is innovative and creative and works so well with these colleges,” she said.

Responsibility Leader

Steven is also being recognized as a 2014 Responsibility Leader.

Creating His Own Solution

When the 16 institutions comprising Wisconsin Technical Colleges faced persistent problems obtaining insurance coverage suited to their unique needs, Steven Stoeger-Moore didn’t just find the solution — he created it.

Stoeger-Moore helped to establish Districts Mutual Insurance (DMI) in 2004 to represent the colleges and provide better insurance and risk management services.

Under his self-implemented “Rule of 16,” he ensures that if any school has a problem, all 16 colleges benefit from DMI’s solution. That dedication led to the development of comprehensive risk management programs — provided to each school at no cost — for electrical and fire safety inspections, emergency response planning, legal consultations, and employee health and safety consultations, among many others.

And when those programs were tested, Stoeger-Moore sprang into action. In the past 10 years, the Wisconsin Technical College System has weathered both a tornado and a major fire. Both times, he was at the scene within 24 hours of the event, providing claims and insurance guidance as well as comfort for shaken colleagues.

Stoeger-Moore has also worked to bolster the industry’s future by encouraging young people to consider a career in risk management. Through DMI, he creates opportunities for young people to learn about the colleges’ unique challenges and the programs created to meet them.

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350px_allstarRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2014 Risk All Stars.

Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find  practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

Read more about the 2014 Responsibility Leaders.

Share this article: