A lot of our most worrisome, current-day risks were not on our radar screens a decade ago. It was unthinkable that we would have to respond to a pandemic threat like Ebola or avian flu and that those risks, which originate far away from our shores, could pose a threat to public entities all across America. Really?
Think about some of the other “unknown” risks from the last two decades: the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, the world economic crisis and the volcano that shut down air traffic around the world. For all of these events, what made them huge was an unthinkable combination of hazards compounded by our lack of preparedness and (mostly) inadequate response.
Were these risks really unknown or unimaginable?
Not so much. We know now that there were national security experts, doctors and epidemiologists, economists and geologists who knew about these uncertainties and who understood the risks that the rest of us failed to see. And these are not just random global occurrences. All of these risks could directly affected public sector operations in the United States
So if the risks are known by someone, somewhere – how do risk managers deal with that?
I think risk managers must be challenged to think beyond the data of the past and figure out how to incorporate more voices and new ideas into the process of identifying and describing the risks facing our public entities. We need to seek the unknown (to us) because it is known by someone. It’s not that we’re facing an abyss of unknowable proportion. Someone has already seen the deep hole, and they might even have suggestions about how to avoid it. We just need to listen.
What do you think risk managers should address in their entity's "portfolio of risk?" Who should we be listening to and how could we effectively consider risks that are beyond our direct control?
By: DOROTHY M. GJERDRUM, ARM-P, CIRM
Senior Managing Director of Public Sector Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
• 2014 Woman to Watch - Business Insurance Magazine • 2012 Recognized by Treasury & Risk as a “Top 100” Leader in Finance and Risk • 2012 Public Sector Power Broker – Risk & Insurance Magazine • 2010 Public Sector Power Broker Finalist – Risk & Insurance Magazine • 2009 Public Sector Power Broker – Risk & Insurance Magazine • More than 20 years of public sector risk management experience • Speaker, author, leader on Enterprise Risk Management in the public sector • Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO 31000:2009 and ISO 31004
As Senior Managing Director of Gallagher Public Sector, Dorothy leads 300 Gallagher insurance brokers and specialists dedicated to public sector clients across the United States, focusing on issues of risk management, exposure identification, pool operations and enterprise risk management. In addition to leading the broker group, Dorothy provides consulting and risk management services to select Gallagher public sector and higher education clients.
Prior to joining Gallagher, Dorothy was risk manager of three self-insured pools for the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC). She has more than 20 years experience in public sector risk management and insurance. During her tenure at NMAC, Dorothy developed loss-sensitive contribution and allocation formulas. She partnered with her insurance broker to provide new coverage programs for members, including injunctive relief, land use and special events and the Pool’s first coverage document in order to clarify coverage exclusions and conditions of insurance. In response to rising losses, she developed individualized training sessions to address sexual harassment and management issues. She led a team that brought claims in house and developed a legal advice hotline, which saved the pools hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first year alone. As a founding board member of County Reinsurance, Limited, a captive excess insurance company formed to provide reinsurance to county association pools nationwide, Dorothy served as Board Member and Treasurer. Dorothy was also a founding member and organizer of the New Mexico PRIMA Chapter, where she organized local and regional educational opportunities for school, city, county and state risk managers and safety personnel.
Dorothy served as the Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO 31000, the international standard on the practice of risk management, and its Implementation Guide, ISO 31004 from 2008-2014. Dorothy has also served on the RIMS Standards Comparison Committee and as curriculum advisor for the National Alliance. In 2003, Dorothy partnered with the risk manager of the largest community college district in the U.S. to create an award-winning integrated program that unified traditional risk management and enterprise risk management. From 2003 on, Dorothy has presented educational sessions on ERM and its application in the public sector at regional and national conferences: RIMS (regional and national), PRIMA (regional and national), URMIA (regional and national), AGRiP, STRIMA, NACUA, the IIA GRC, Infonex and for many Gallagher client groups. She is currently co-creating education and training material on implementing ERM in the public sector using ISO 31000 for PRIMA and URMIA. ERM implementation and consulting projects include the CO School Districts Self-Insurance Pool, the City-County of San Francisco, the New Mexico Association of Counties insurance pools, FL College System Risk Management Consortium, UVM, UNC Charlotte, Johnson County Community College District in KS and Maricopa County Community College District in AZ.
AGRiP – Association of Governmental Risk Pools IRM – The Institute of Risk Management ISO 31000 Standard on the Practice of Risk Management – US Technical Advisory Group ISO 31004, the Implementation Guide to ISO 31000 PRIMA – Public Risk Management Association RIMS – Risk and Insurance Management Society
Bachelor of Arts, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN ARM designation, Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation, Insurance Institute of America ARM-P, Risk Management for Public Entities designation, Insurance Institute of America CIRM, International Certificate in Risk Management, The Institute of Risk Management
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