Innovation Nation
Innovation Nation

Episode 33 · 2 months ago

Risk Management, Not Risk Averse with Amanda Hunt


Innovation is where every company should be headed, but finding out what innovation means to your company is crucial. Hear how coming up through underwriting has created a unique path in risk management for Amanda Hunt, and what innovation means to her team.

Listen to the conversation with Amanda Hunt, Senior Risk Manager at Wilbur Ellis, to learn more about:

  • Coming up through underwriting to a successful path in risk management
  • The benefits of incremental change
  • Fostering innovation through communication 

More information about Amanda and today’s topics:

Tune in to Innovation Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Innovation is all around us. In fact, everyone innovates, often unbeknowns to themselves. Many mistakenly assumed the innovation is either a big capital project, a figurative bolt of lightning that brings inspiration, or the province of some exceptionally gifted person. This is the myth of innovation. But you can innovate as well. You are listening to innovation nation, the podcast where top executives and industry experts are sharing their insights on harnessing the power of innovation. We're here to help you stay ahead of the curve by driving your own innovation. Here's your host, Jasmine Martyr Rosen Hi. Welcome to another episode of the INNOVASION nation podcast. This is your host, Jasmine March Ross, and our guest today is Amanda Haunt. She's a senior thiss manager. Would Wilbur Ellis Welcome, Amanda. Thank you for having me. Well delighted to have you, and actually we met recently in person. Was a great pleasure to make you in San Francisco of all places, and I overheard you and actually read the same table you were talking so passionately about all the innovative projects you were involved with. So you've seemed like a natural guest and I'd love to learn more from you on that. So will our audience. So can you please share some thoughts on innovation and what you're working yeah, sure. I'm going to start a little bit about out my background, because I think it feeds into why I speak passionately about this and how I've kind of honed in as property as my focus in my career. But I started my career I went to school for Chemical Engineering. I had a very different career path in mind when going into school. Post school didn't work out the way that my teenage mind had plan and I ended up as an underwriting assistant for global property at one of the large insurance carriers. So I started my career from the bottom. Like...

I said, Global Property Underwriting Assistant, moved up to an underwriterer. I worked with Zurich, so they're highly engineered and definitely known for having their own engineers and their own strategies when it comes to underwriting the property exposure. So from there I kind of jumped around a little bit but eventually landed at a risk management position here with Wilberre Ellis, based out of San Francisco. So I have. My primary responsibilities here include the property program on a global basis. We are eighteen countries strong, mostly an age of Pacific and then North America. But since I've taken over the property program I kind of have taken my underwriting Lens and had a different look at the way that we were reporting values, the way that we were doing last control and just all of the different fast it's the go into underwriting a property program and try to bring to light how the underwriters are viewing our account not just what the dollar amounts are, although that auto automatically comes into play as well right. So, to that respect, this year being the first year out of COVID that I've been in charge of this program since January, I've kicked off quite a few programs. Some of them were preemptive. Didn't even know that these were going to be issues in the industry until our rim session in mid April, so that was nice to be ahead of the game a little bit on some of them, and others are projects and have come out of conversations actually with underwriters. So the first one that I'm pretty excited about. It literally kicks off on Monday the twenty three, so very fresh is that we've been working with GRCC to do. Our large visits are large lost control, fire and infrared visits...

...for our large locations. However, there are smaller locations that are still above our program deductible but maybe not as large enough to get visited every year, every two years on a full lost control basis. So I'm partnering with an engineering firm that helps us to collect the basic construction occupancy that kind of data for these locations. Is that kind of fall into that black hole of not large enough to be visited for a full blown inspection but large enough that we still want to know what's there. So, through this other company I we are visiting fifty additional locations across the United States to try to collect that information on a building basis, not necessarily on a site location but on each building within that site. So your belt, like I said, occupancy construction data, just some basic data, secondary characteristics when applicable, based on geography, and hopefully that will really fill in some of our data gaps that we have. That is initially a request that came from carriers, but really, when looking through the complete data that I have, there is some pretty clear holes and so it'll be nice to be able to fill in, like I said, the missing data there, and that's not taking place of off our full fire lost control. That is in addition to so. We always do fifty fire lost control full bone visits. Again, they're usually key locations or large valued locations, but these are fifty additional smaller locations that will just be collecting data on. So pretty excited about that. Valuation is the name of the game this year in the property world. This is one of those projects that I kind of got to jump on early on. We have grown by acquisition...

...quite a bit over the past several years and I had been recognizing friends, but the values, building values, equipment values, had been fairly stagnant your over year. So, without knowing that this was the topic of beer, has sent some appraisers out to certain key locations, specifically ones that are newer to our portfolios, part of the most recent acquisitions, and to kind of get a feel for how far off our valuation might be. That being said, those reports have finally come back and they're a little bit indicative of that. Need to dive a little deeper on that, but we have, like I said, appraisals are done for one of our divisions. Every year I pick and chose a couple locations to do across the enterprise going into our later this year renewal, and I think that will have a significant impact on how we poise ourselves for next year as well. So I'm tapped out of budget money to do more appraisals this year, but it'll definitely be something that affects what we submit for our renewal this year and then as well as how we set ourselves up for two thousand and twenty three. So, Amanda, you know getting a Fountain of Information, clearly, but everything seems to emanate from you. What you're constantly thinking how to do better, more, something differently. To me, that's innovation. How's that working in your mind and your psyche? Was the motivator? Was the driver? That's a good question, but is just kind of the way I think. Constant improvement, both from what I can do on the program standpoint, for what we can do from a risk management policies and what we can implement, whether that be property or employee safety or however that touches. But my career coming up through underwriting and even on the broker side, my whole saying is always been incremental improvement.

That's what we should always be striving for. I'm not looking to take a program and turn it over completely into this bright and shining object to the very next year, but focus on what we can fix and take the baby steps to move forward. So that's that's really all we can ask. I think that is the focus on the effort. I feel is accepted very well in the underwriting community. Just knowing that you have knowledge of a deficiency and knowing that you are addressing it to the best of your ability with a plan in place, seems to go a long way. And again I try to apply that cross the programs that I touch and honestly, fault filters into personal life as well. Incremental Improvement Excellent, and you clearly did that with your own career path. Like you said, your teenage mind had envisioned a different career, but then world tears of the world tems way of working out differently sometimes, but he's not just given and give up. Yeah, I guess that it was not not the path I had planned. Never even, I mean even when I applied as an underwriting assistant, I did not know what the word underwriting men. What I knew is I have a weird love of geography and world geography even more so than just United States geography, and so I was being allowed on the ground floor of a global property program team. I would be communicating with people from around the world, and that had its appeal to me. And then it's definitely an interesting challenge. Everyone kind of tells me that properties the easy one because it's very black and white, and it's more black and white than a lot of our casualty wives are, but it's still it's not easy, that's for sure. There's always a fun challenge. Lately I've been getting into really like the data governed inside of the property, the asset valuation, like I said, valuation we've been working on, but...

...then just fighting software that can help us stay on top of this is another project that I'm undertaking with Wilber Ellis that, I'm embarrassed to say, I'm really excited about. Don't mean I see the world mad behind you in the the office you're working from. And he said love of the fascination was global geography. What is it? Curiosity? What's driving the I don't know where that stemmed from. It's definitely a curiosity thing. I mean I love I love traveling, I love meeting people who are from different walks of life, different backgrounds than where I have come from. I grew up world western Pennsylvania and it's very homogeneous and that made me very uncomfortable even as a young teenager. It's just I knew that something was not right without world view, so I'd always been looking outward. I moved to college and moved to a big city. I went to direct university, which is right in the middle of town of Philadelphia. So went from world Pennsylvania to the middle among the largest cities in Pennsylvania. I think it actually is the larger city, and it kind of just changed everything. People are not that different, the way that we live is not that different. So being able to experience that firstand and then taking those experiences and just a different way of thinking, like our persect perception is not necessarily the truth all the time and trying to be able to think of different ways that it could be perceived definitely has brought a lot of light to my career. I believe that that type of open and growth mind such as a huge asset both people's personal lives and in the world place, because they have to rise with a lot of discovery and I think you're prove positive of working on that. So how you manage the change that you're clearly driving within the organization and would you keers? So that's that's definitely one of... fun challenges. We're fortunate enough here at well where Elis that we have a very strong change management team, project management, Change Management Team. I utilize them when I can, but primarily, especially for these surveys and property valuation projects, been working directly through my operations team. We've recently reorganized so that our operations teams are separate from our sales team and it has made a world of difference in being able to have that high level view, high level buy in on projects that touch all locations and then then being able to communicate that down the sales guys. Their job is to keep us employed. They generate the sales, they generate the revenue that keeps this company afloat. Our job is an operations to our job is to make sure that this company is still here so that we can continue to make those sales and support our customers. So I really have benefited from this reorganization and people and the director and the district level on the operation side have been big advocates in understanding why we need this information and understanding how can also help them. It's not just I'm doing an insurance data collection project, it's we now have this data that can be used for different reasons, again, which is why I'm involved in the software side to so hopefully other people have access. I don't have to keep pulling reports for everybody. So King Management Team is the key, though excellent. So clearly, Amanda, your very collaborative as you drive this innovation. How do you communicate to say, the Change Management Team will like they help with them, but how do communicate the value of this innovation to the organization?...

I think I'm fortunate enough that most of my projects the value is inherent when I lay out like this is the problem, this is why it's a problem, here's what we're doing to fix it. I also I really believe that as a risk manager, my clients are the field. So I'm trying to make life as easy as possible for, quote unquote, my clients and I'm not trying to add to their workload. I'm trying to find ways to ease up all of our work clothes and I really try to drive that home. I'm risk management, I'm not risk averse. I don't want to do these surveys every year for the next ten years. I really want to get in, get the information we need and let's move on. And especially with this most recent project on get CALV gathering the coked Ata, I really was trying to push that through because I know they've done a survey. It was just more on the environmental side. So this is some overlap, but mostly different. And as just focusing, like let me know, how can I make this easier for you? Just like the focus, the focus on helping them and then making the information available again seems to really have made my life a little bit easier on implementing these newest projects. Excellent. Well, any final words of wisdom that you'd like to share about how you approach innovation? No, I mean I really think the communication is the key part. All of us sitting in our home offices think that all of these innovation things we have are the best thing ever, and of course each team has three or four those initiatives going on and all of them hit our field at the same time and it overwhelms them. So communication, being able to spread them out when possible, being able to really tell the business case story, although not in all the business speak that seems to deter people. But innovation is definitely where each and every company needs to be heading, and whatever that means to..., whether it truly means innovation of software, where it means innovation of processes, we all need to be moving forward. It's just we need to be conscious of how it affects the people on the ground and I think that is one thing that having to Change Management Team and having perspective of being out in the field, when I can go visit the field, has really helps with my implementation of these programs. Thank you so much, Amanda. It's been a pleasure, and you as a gift again. Then, this is Amanda Han see, your risk manager, with Wilbur Ellis, and this is your host, Jasmine March to ausoon. Yes, thank you so much, Jazzmon. You've been listening to innovation nation. For more subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcast player or connect with us on Linkedin. Thanks for listening.

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