Risk Insider: Terri Nichols

Proactive Prevention

By: | January 26, 2015 • 2 min read
Terri Morris-Nichols is system director of risk management at PeaceHealth, a not-for-profit health care system with 10 hospitals and medical facilities in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. She is a registered nurse with a master's degree in health administration. She can be reached at TNichols@peacehealth.org.
Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

As a nation, we have watched the health care landscape change.  Not only have we seen dramatic events that have shaped our processes and systems, but the appetite for accompanying risks has shifted as well.

When we think about the transition of thought that occurred as a result of the threat related to Ebola, we have seen health care organizations accepting greater risks on behalf of those they care for, and showing greater effort in mitigating risk to those who serve.

We saw organizations holding practice sessions for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment in order to protect their employees.

We saw coordination of communications with key partners to educate patients and the public about the risk to the community.

And, we saw an exponential increase in resources used to be ready for what came next.

How can we optimize resources used along a continuum to mitigate risk and protect patients, employees and the public?

It is interesting that the risk presented itself in some cases before the magnitude of the impact was imaginable. Whoever thought that a ride on the teacups at Disneyland would warrant a rapid response from the health care community due to the ever-increasing number of Measles infections?

We must ask ourselves then, how do we create a culture where risks are identified earlier, and processes and systems put in place with greater ease?  How can we optimize resources used along a continuum to mitigate risk and protect patients, employees and the public?

Of course, you can’t have been in risk management or health care for that matter, without understanding that events or issues are standing at the front door waiting to come in without warning.

However, when we use risk maps or other tools to understand the risks to the organization, we must challenge ourselves to broaden our thinking to include those risks that are on the horizon across the nation and globe.

Why must the risk present itself before we launch good, solid processes to mitigate the impact to our valued team members?

We have the tools, know what the culture should look like, and have amazing partners to begin this broader conversation.  Let’s get started!

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Risk Insider: Tony Boobier

Is Risk in Need of a Makeover?

By: | January 26, 2015 • 2 min read
Tony Boobier holds a WW Executive role at IBM, focusing on solutions for Risk and Finance, and was previously IBM Insurance Analytics leader for EMEA. He can be reached at boobier@uk.ibm.com.
Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

According to some commentators, the 10 top things we should be frightened about in business in 2015 are, in no particular order:

• Cyber risk — that someone will put a ghost into the machine.

• Strategic risk — that the C-team get it badly wrong.

• Mis-selling — that we sell something we don’t have, or customers don’t really want or need.

• City failure — that London, New York, Paris or wherever, grind to a stumbling halt.

• Conduct risk — that we aren’t good boys and girls.

• Long duration scandals — that we discover skeletons in the cupboard.

• Illicit transactions — that we have been caught conducting business under the table.

• Model risk — that the real situation is worse than our wildest dreams.

• Physical security — that the locks on the windows aren’t strong enough.

• Social media — that we haven’t covered ourselves in glory, and now everybody knows about it.

These are my definitions, not their’s.

Each of these are bad enough in isolation, but the problems really stack up when you put a few of these together, especially in the same organisation. As we try and put controls around some or all of these things, I wonder if we shouldn’t put a little more emotion into the job?

Isn’t “fear” a much more compelling description, one which appeals to our basic instincts, and threatens our security

I’m intrigued by the use of the term “risk management,” which to me seems a calm expression for anticipating, and subsequently being in control of an event or combination of events that might happen.

But does it really adequately convey the seriousness of the problems? Let’s turn up the heat a little more. Why not call it “fear management?”

At least it gives a greater sense of proportion to the impact of getting it wrong on lives, jobs, finances, homes, and other very important things.

Isn’t “fear” a much more compelling description, one which appeals to our basic instincts, and threatens our security

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” said President Franklin Roosevelt.

Actually, I think he was probably wrong.

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Sponsored: Liberty International Underwriters

From Coast to Coast

Planning the Left Coast Lifter's complex voyage demands a specialized team of professionals.
By: | January 7, 2015 • 5 min read

The 3,920-ton Left Coast Lifter, originally built by Fluor Construction to help build the new Bay Bridge in San Francisco, will be integral in rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge by 2018.

The Lifter and the Statue of Liberty

When he got the news, Scot Burford could see it as clearly as if somebody handed him an 8 by 11 color photograph.

On January 30,  the Left Coast Lifter, a massive crane originally built by Fluor Construction to help build the new Bay Bridge in San Francisco, steamed past the Statue of Liberty. Excited observers, who saw the crane entering New York Harbor, dubbed it the “The Hudson River Hoister,” honoring its new role in rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.

Powered by two stout-hearted tug boats, the Lauren Foss and the Iver Foss, it took more than five weeks for the huge crane to complete the 6,000 mile ocean journey from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal.

Scot took a deep breath and reflected on all the work needed to plan every aspect of the crane’s complicated journey.

A risk engineer at Liberty International Underwriters (LIU), Burford worked with a specialized team of marine insurance and risk management professionals which included John Phillips, LIU’s Hull Product Line Leader, Sean Dollahon, an LIU Marine underwriter, and Rick Falcinelli, LIU’s Marine Risk Engineering Manager, to complete a detailed analysis of the crane’s proposed route. Based on a multitude of factors, the LIU team confirmed the safety of the route, produced clear guidelines for the tug captains that included weather restrictions, predetermined ports of refuge in the case of bad weather as well as specifying the ballast conditions and rigging of tow gear on the tugs.

Of equal importance, the deep expertise and extensive experience of the LIU team ensured that the most knowledgeable local surveyors and tugboat captains with the best safety records were selected for the project. After all, the most careful of plans will only be as effective as the people who execute them.

The tremendous size of the Left Coast Lifter presented some unique challenges in preparing for its voyage.


The original intention was to dry tow the crane by loading and securing it on a semi-submersible vessel. However, the lack of an American-flagged vessel that could accommodate the Left Coast Lifter created many logistical complexities and it was decided that the crane would be towed on its own barge.

At first, the LIU team was concerned since the barge was not intended for ocean travel and therefore lacked towing skegs and other structural components typically found on oceangoing barges.

But a detailed review of the plan with the client and contractors gave the LIU team confidence. In this instance, the sheer weight and size of the crane provided sufficient stability, and with the addition of a second tug on the barge’s stern, the LIU team, with its knowledge of barges and tugs, was confident the configuration was seaworthy and the barge would travel in a straight line. The team approved the plan and the crane began its successful voyage.

As impressive as the crane and its voyage were, it was just one piece in hundreds that needed to be underwritten and put in place for the Tappan Zee Bridge project to come off.

Time-Sensitive Quote

SponsoredContent_LIUThe rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge, due to be completed in 2018, is the largest bridge construction project in the modern history of New York. The bridge is 3.1 miles long and will cost more than $3 billion to construct. The twin-span, cable-stayed bridge will be anchored to four mid-river towers.

When veteran contractors American Bridge, Fluor Corp., Granite Construction Northeast and Traylor Bros. formed a joint venture and won the contract to rebuild the Tappan Zee, one of the first things the consortium needed to do was find an insurance partner with the right coverages and technical expertise.

The Marsh broker, Ali Rizvi, Senior Vice President, working with the consortium, was well known to the LIU underwriting and engineering teams. In addition, Burford and the broker had worked on many projects in the past and had a strong relationship. These existing relationships were vital in facilitating efficient communication and data gathering, particularly given the scope and complexity of a project like the Tappan Zee.

And the scope of the project was indeed immense – more than 200 vessels, coming from all over the United States, would be moving construction equipment up the Hudson River.

An integrated team of LIU underwriters and risk engineers (including Burford, Phillips, Dollahon and Falcinelli) got to work evaluating the risk and the proper controls that the project required. Given the global scope of the project, the team’s ability to tap into their tight-knit global network of fellow LIU marine underwriters and engineers with deep industry relationships and expertise was invaluable.

In addition to the large number of vessels, the underwriting process was further complicated by many aspects of the project still being finalized.

“Because the consortium had just won this account, they were still working on contracts and contractors to finalize the deal and were unsure as to where most of the equipment and materials would be coming from,” Burford said.

Despite the massive size of the project and large number of stakeholders, LIU quickly turned around a quote involving three lines of marine coverage, Marine Liability, Project Cargo and Marine Hull & Machinery.

How could LIU produce such a complicated quote in a short period of time? It comes down to integrating risk engineers into the underwriting process, possessing deep industry experience on a global scale and having strong relationships that facilitate communication and trust.


Photo Credit: New York State Thruway Authority

When completed in 2018, the Tappan Zee will be eight lanes, with four emergency pullover lanes. Commuters sailing across it in their sedans and SUVs might appreciate the view of the Hudson, but they might never grasp the complexity of insuring three marine lines, covering the movements of hundreds of marine vessels carrying very expensive cargo.

Not to mention ferrying a 3,920-ton crane from coast to coast without a hitch.

But that’s what insurance does, in its quiet profundity.


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

LIU is part of the Global Specialty Division of Liberty Mutual Insurance.
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