Wayne Sandy, until very recently the risk manager for the more than 1 million-parishioner Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, has headed out on his own as a consultant to insurance brokers and to provide risk management services to religious organizations.
Sandy, who has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, said he sees a business opportunity. As someone who has been in the trenches working on ways to control costs for a beleaguered segment of the nonprofit world, he said he has the experience and the business contacts to provide a needed service in an area where a lot of underwriters and consultants have been loathe to tread.
"I have been able to get pretty good results wherever I have been, and I don't see a lot of work being done with the religious organizations," said Sandy in mid-February, just weeks after having left the diocese.
Sandy came to the Dallas diocese in 1999 from a position as risk manager at Dallas -based Marcus Cable. Previously, he worked as senior safety consultant and loss-control specialist with the Dallas office of Wausau Insurance, formerly a Nationwide Company.
In addition to his work with the diocese, Sandy also has the experience of having helped to create a captive for Catholic dioceses. Sandy sits on the board of the Bishops' Plan Insurance Co.
Founded in May of 2003, Bishops' Plan is a Vermont-based captive that was formed as a haven for dioceses in the hard property insurance market, but now provides an excess layer of misconduct coverage for the 22 dioceses who use the captive.
Sandy said he likes his chances for making it as a consultant, but hasn't decided yet whether he wants to actually form his own consulting company. And whether his foray into the open fields of consultancy becomes a permanent one remains to be seen. He said he wouldn't rule out taking a full-time position with an insurance brokerage or third-party administrator if it turned out to be the right thing.
One thing that's certain is that Sandy is practicing in a very dynamic field. Anyone who has picked up a newspaper within the last five years or read the news coverage online knows that various Catholic dioceses throughout the United States have been wracked with massive, image-crippling and financially devastating priestly misconduct settlements.
Risk management to preventthe abuse of minors and the elderly in general is a growing field, according to Dr. Rick Dangel, the president and CEO of Dallas-based Praesidium Inc., a 20-year-old company that provides risk management support to YMCA's, religious organizations, day camps, nursing homes and other organizations that provide services to vulnerable populations.
"We're not going to get rid of the bad apples, but we can catch them earlier. And we can reduce the number of incidents, and both of those are great outcomes," Dangel said.
Dangel said that the Roman Catholic Church is singled out unfairly, by the media for one, when it comes to abuse cases.
"It's not unique to the Catholic Church, it's a risk in any organization," said Dangel.
That may be true, but settlements recently among Roman Catholic Churches have been staggering.
In the last five years, settlements stemming from decades-old cases involving priestly abuse of minors in dioceses in Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Milwaukee, San Diego and elsewhere have risen above the $1 billion mark.
But most of the big-number settlements involve cases from the 1950s and 1960s. With carriers having identified relatively safe retroactive dates for exposure to misconduct claims, insurers that in the past might have wanted nothing to do with underwriting Catholic Church officials for misconduct are considering that risk again, or at least talking about it.
That's where Sandy comes in.
He's already achieved some prominence in the field, having led workshops on diocesan risk management hosted by the Istaca, Ill.-based Gallagher Religious Practice Group at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
One of the companies Sandy is now doing work for on a part-time basis is Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., the multiline third-party administrator that is an Arthur J. Gallagher subsidiary.
DAN REYNOLDS is senior editor of Risk & Insurance®.
(Read the rest of the second February
People on the Move newsletter.)
February 27, 2008
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