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.


“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. &


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 Stars

The 2016 Risk All Stars

Creativity and a passion for risk management mark the winners of the 2016 Risk All Star award.
By: | September 14, 2016 • 3 min read

Scott Clark: Withstanding the Storm

09152016_1CS_AllStars_SClarkRisk and Benefits Officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (recently retired)

When FEMA reduced assistance, Scott Clark put together a new storm policy that protected his school district and saved money as well.

Christopher de Wolfe: Risk Management’s Sweet Spot

09152016_1CS_AllStars_CdeWolfeGlobal Director of Risk Management, Mars Inc.

Christopher de Wolfe leveraged his company’s marketing savvy to help the organization buy in to the risk management mission.

Carlos Dezayas: Freeing Cargo From Captivity

09152016_1CS_AllStars_CDezayasSenior Manager, Corporate Risk Management, The Kraft Heinz Co.

When a captive structure didn’t serve the needs of a post-merger cargo program, Carlos Dezayas built a new one.

Timothy Fischer: Managing U.S. Nuclear Fuel Risks

09152016_1CS_AllStars_TFischerChief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Timothy Fischer makes the complicated job of managing risk for the sole producer of nuclear fuel to the U.S. government look easy. It’s not.

James Colorado Robertson: A-Plus in Risk Management

09152016_1CS_AllStars_CRobertsonAssistant Director, Risk Management, Louisiana State University

James Colorado Robertson used innovation, persistence and love of his alma mater to help create Louisiana State University’s risk management program.

Susan Hiteshew: A Winning Strategy

09152016_1CS_AllStars_HiteshewSenior Manager, Global Insurance and Risk Financing, Under Armour Inc.

Susan Hiteshew built a risk management playbook to stay ahead of Under Armour’s challenges and fast growth.

Chauncey Fagler: An ERM Mantra

09152016_1CS_AllStars_CFaglerExecutive Director, Florida College System Risk Management Consortium

Chauncey Fagler’s risk management successes stem from his conviction to create “the best consortium” for Florida colleges.

Susan Tukel: Revolutionizing the Organization

09152016_1CS_AllStars_STukelPresident, Locomotive Engineers and Conductors Mutual Protective Association

Susan Tukel brought her 100-year-old organization back from the brink.

David Jewell: Balancing Act

09152016_1CS_AllStars_JewellVice President-Risk Management, Dollar Tree

David Jewell’s focus and experience helped guide a successful $9.2 billion acquisition, despite a staggering array of obstacles.

Kristy Harris: Flipping Coverage on Its Head

09152016_1CS_AllStars_KHarrisRisk Manager, Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s Kristy Harris engages underwriters as she searches for creative solutions during a soft market.


Michael Brown: Looking at the Upside

09152016_1CS_AllStars_MBrownVice President and Property Department Manager, Golden Bear Insurance Co.

Michael Brown brought enterprise risk management to his company, while working to close the talent gap facing the industry.

The R&I Editorial Team may be reached at [email protected]
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Sponsored: Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Why Marine Underwriters Should Master Modeling

Marine underwriters need better data, science and engineering to overcome modeling challenges.
By: | October 3, 2016 • 5 min read

Better understanding risk requires better exposure data and rigorous application of science and engineering. In addition, catastrophe models have grown in sophistication and become widely utilized by property insurers to assess the potential losses after a major event. Location level modeling also plays a role in helping both underwriters and buyers gain a better understanding of their exposure and sense of preparedness for the worst-case scenario. Yet, many underwriters in the marine sector don’t employ effective models.

“To improve underwriting and better serve customers, we have to ask ourselves if the knowledge around location level modeling is where it needs to be in the marine market space. We as an industry have progress to make,” said John Evans, Head of U.S. Marine, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.

CAT Modeling Limitations

The primary reason marine underwriters forgo location level models is because marine risk often fluctuates, making it difficult to develop models that most accurately reflect a project or a location’s true exposure.

Take for example builder’s risk, an inland marine static risk whose value changes throughout the life of the project. The value of a building will increase as it nears completion, so its risk profile will evolve as work progresses. In property underwriting, sophisticated models are developed more easily because the values are fixed.

“If you know your building is worth $10 million today, you have a firm baseline to work with,” Evans said. The best way to effectively model builder’s risk, on the other hand, may be to take the worst-case scenario — or when the project is about 99 percent complete and at peak value (although this can overstate the catastrophe exposure early in the project’s lifecycle).

Warehouse storage also poses modeling challenges for similar reasons. For example, the value of stored goods can fluctuate substantially depending on the time of year. Toys and electronics shipped into the U.S. during August and September in preparation for the holiday season, for example, will decrease drastically in value come February and March. So do you model based on the average value or peak value?

“In order to produce useful models of these risks, underwriters need to ask additional questions and gather as much detail about the insured’s location and operations as possible,” Evans said. “That is necessary to determine when exposure is greatest and how large the impact of a catastrophe could be. Improved exposure data is critical.”

To assess warehouse legal liability exposure, this means finding out not only the fluctuations in the values, but what type of goods are being stored, how they’re being stored, whether the warehouse is built to local standards for wind, earthquake and flood, and whether or not the warehouse owner has implemented any other risk mitigation measures, such as alarm or sprinkler systems.

“Since most models treat all warehouses equally, even if a location doesn’t model well initially, specific measures taken to protect stored goods from damage could yield a substantially different expected loss, which then translates into a very different premium,” Evans said.

Market Impact

That extra information gathering requires additional time but the effort is worth it in the long run.

“Better understanding of an exposure is key to strong underwriting — and strong underwriting is key to longevity and stability in the marketplace,” Evans said.

“If a risk is not properly understood and priced, a customer can find themselves non-renewed after a catastrophe results in major losses — or be paying two or three times their original premium,” he said. Brokers have the job of educating clients about the long-term viability of their relationship with their carrier, and the value of thorough underwriting assessment.


The Model to Follow

So the question becomes: How can insurers begin to elevate location level modeling in the marine space? By taking a cue from their property counterparts and better understanding the exposure using better data, science and engineering.

For stored goods coverage, the process starts with an overview of each site’s risk based on location, the construction of the warehouse, and the type of contents stored. After analyzing a location, underwriters ascertain its average values and maximum values, which can be used to create a preliminary model. That model’s output may indicate where additional location specific information could fill in the blanks and produce a more site-specific model.

“We look at factors like the existence of a catastrophe plan, and the damage-ability of both the warehouse and the contents stored inside it,” Evans said. “This is where the expertise of our engineering team comes into play. They can get a much clearer idea of how certain structures and products will stand up to different forces.”

From there, engineers may develop a proprietary model that fits those specific details. The results may determine the exposure to be lower than originally believed — or buyers could potentially end up with higher pricing if the new model shows their risk to be greater. On the other hand, it may also alert the insured that higher limits may be required to better suit their true exposure to catastrophe losses.

Then when the worst does happen, insureds can rest assured that their carrier not only has the capacity to cover the loss, but the ability to both manage the volatility caused by the event and be in a position to offer reasonable terms when renewal rolls around.

For more information about Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance’s Marine services, visit https://bhspecialty.com/us-products/us-marine/.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (www.bhspecialty.com) provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, surety, travel, programs, medical stop loss and homeowners insurance. The actual and final terms of coverage for all product lines may vary. It underwrites on the paper of Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity group of insurance companies, which hold financial strength ratings of A++ from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s. Based in Boston, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Ramon, Stevens Point, Auckland, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto. For more information, contact [email protected].

The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service. Any description set forth herein does not include all policy terms, conditions and exclusions. Please refer to the actual policy for complete details of coverage and exclusions.



This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (www.bhspecialty.com) provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, surety, travel, programs, medical stop loss and homeowners insurance.
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