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Riskworld: Cheryl Berman Q&A

Cheryl Berman

Cheryl Berman is risk manager at Brady West Inc., a specialty subcontractor working mostly on commercial projects in Southern California, and president of the San Diego Chapter of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. She recently spoke with Business Insurance Assistant Editor Louise Esola about how she made risk management her career and what issues are facing risk managers today. Edited excerpts follow.

How did you end up in risk management?

I have been in the building industry my whole career. I started out on the operations side when the company that I was working for was going to spin off from our holding company. We had to get our own insurance, and nobody knew anything about it because it had been procured by somebody else. A broker took me under her wing and we would go to lunch once a month. And I took courses.

What makes a good risk manager?

Understand how your company operates so that you can better serve them.

What are some of the big issues facing risk managers?

Universally of concern are cyber, finding and retaining talent, and, in our industry, supply chain is big.

On cybersecurity, what’s up and coming?

Insurance programs are becoming more common, but they're kind of expensive. And you can have an insurance policy, but if you have a breach the money is still not going to keep you from having your business disrupted. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. Artificial intelligence looks at your traffic and your cyber, and if they see anomalies then they investigate. You can't possibly have somebody doing that for you 24 hours a day. Investing in something that will prevent a breach from happening in the first place.

In workers compensation, what are some issues of concern?

Our workers have a very physical job, and we have an aging population. And we have the issue of recruiting and retaining. We have a lot of people that are new to the industry. Not that they're not trained, but it takes awhile for muscle memory and things of that nature. So, in our younger population, we have a frequency issue, but it's minor, and they're able to bounce back and go back to work. On the aging worker side of it, if they get injured, often it's something that is very prolonged.