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Add human capital and cyber to risk engineering efforts

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NEW YORK — Risk engineering goes beyond property loss control issues to include human capital and cyber issues as well, according to a panel at Business Insurance's seventh annual Risk Management Summit in New York on Wednesday.

And effective communication is key to each aspect of risk engineering, the panelists noted.

Risk managers need to have close relationships with all of the disciplines within their organization, said Audrey A. Rampinelli, vice president of risk management at New York-based Loews Corp. and moderator of the panel.

Speaking the language of your audience is key, said Ronnie Gibson, vice president and chief engineer at FM Global in Johnston, Rhode Island. The risk manager has to cover all bases regarding risk improvement, he said. It's also necessary to “join the dots,” he said, noting that it's unusual to see any risk improvement that hasn't had an impact on life safety.

James Smith, director of risk control services at Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, said that the best way to reach employees regarding safety issues is to educate managers on how they set the tone and culture at a company. This is not about technical skill as much as it is about soft skills, he said.

“The management team has to create the engagement,” said Mr. Smith.

Regarding cyber, “the CFO is going to be concerned about stock price,” said Ron Hahn, executive vice president in the risk management group at San Antonio-based AECOM, a construction and engineering design firm. “Tell me what worries you about shareholder risk,” Mr. Hahn said he has asked chief financial officers.

Mr. Hahn said the human factor still presents the greatest risk in terms of protecting data. He said that when new systems or processes are introduced, employees may look for ways to create workarounds to make their jobs easier.

For example, information technology employees might put back doors into the system so they can fix problems from home rather than have to go into the office at midnight.