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April 19, 2023

Heather McClure

Oklahoma City-based general counsel and chief risk officer, Helio Risk

Oklahoma City-based chief risk adviser, U.S. health care practice, Aon PLC

While markets are still hard in some areas, some are stabilizing, and defenses are taking shape in risk. I think captives will continue to be utilized for higher retentions and even shares of the excess towers. Reinsurance will continue to partner with industry to shore up risk financing. Companies are looking to mitigate risk on the front end with customer/patient safety programs becoming not just optional but necessary.

I’m working with my partners to consult with our business clients on function and structure of their risk financing programs. My goal is to educate on not only the benefits of efficiently managing an insurance program, but to insulate it from the hardening of markets that continues to happen in cycles over time. I also believe strongly in the philosophy that nobody knows a business like the entity itself, so to be deeply involved in mitigating risk on the front end yields benefits for years to come and creates a culture of accountability. Partnering with the commercial markets as reinsurers or insurers above a well-run captive program is key, and my goal is to work alongside businesses in building customized programs to achieve this end.

Beyond the hard markets, I think there are also longer-term issues that need to be addressed. Succession planning for law firms, brokerages and other insurance expertise is critical, but we are already behind on this. There is a large gap in the workforce. Some broker and law firms, as well as industry associations like the Captive Insurance Companies Association, are addressing this with programs for the next generation, but more needs to be done.

I began working with insurance companies right out of law school as a medical malpractice defense lawyer. Later working as in-house legal counsel and then as a chief risk officer of a large health system, my interactions with the insurance industry continued to grow and after over 25 years internal to organizations, it was a natural fit for me to start providing services as a consultant to others.

Start going to every conference you can related to captive and commercial insurance. Attend all the sessions, ask questions, sit by the experienced folks and get to know them. Stay in touch over your career and immerse yourself in the language. It’s a wonderful industry to be in, and there is so much to learn. Thankfully there are great educational opportunities, so take advantage of all you can.

I’d like to work at a tiki hut arranging flowers on the beach 10 a.m. to noon, three days a week.

Journalism, with a minor in political science, then law school.

I’m looking forward to pouring into our clients and their businesses, to learn all I can about how I can best help them achieve their goals, make their customers and employees safe, and save money by making truly informed and empowered decisions about risk financing.

I’m a vegan, so I love grilled veggies and lots of nutty bread.

When I’m not reading for work or self-improvement, I read mystery classics like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and others over and over, trying to figure out which clues I missed the first time.

Gardening, animal rescue, and I’ve just taken up painting.

I watch any political spy thriller or FBI drama. Currently finishing “The Blacklist” and love it.

Plant flowers, go to the lake and float, pet my several foster dogs and cats, and spend time with my family.