‘An excellent danger manager should be keen to take dangers’ – Marriott insurance coverage VP

The position of a company danger manager is much less transactional, and much more about with the ability to take a look at the complete aggregation of dangers and with the ability to make well timed selections.

That’s in response to Mitch Aucoin (pictured), vice chairman, insurance coverage, at Marriott International.

“In the outdated days, danger managers simply bought insurance coverage and didn’t have to fret concerning the different monetary elements of the group,” Aucoin advised Insurance Business. “In the previous 10 to fifteen years, with the appearance of enterprise danger administration, organizational leaders now want to know each operational and monetary danger.

“More importantly, the chance manager wants a seat on the desk with monetary management to present well timed consults to government management in order that they will make necessary selections impacting the group.”

Humble beginnings in insurance coverage

As vice chairman of insurance coverage, Aucoin is accountable for managing Marriott’s international insurance coverage applications, together with technique, negotiation, and procurement. Since becoming a member of Marriott in 2001, he has coordinated and managed insurance coverage applications for complicated international initiatives.

It’s a great distance from his begin as a private strains underwriter. With Hanover Insurance, Aucoin wrote house owner and car coverages in Louisiana, which proved to be a troublesome territory within the years following Hurricane Andrew. But he credit this coaching, in addition to being mentored by each insurance coverage and oil and fuel business leaders, with giving him a robust basis for danger administration.

“It was working as an underwriter that I used to be capable of perceive the mechanics of the insurance coverage business,” stated Aucoin. “I’ve been with Marriott for 22 years now in progressive roles, and it was that background in private strains underwriting that gave me the stepping-stone to a profession in danger administration.”

Today, Aucoin relishes the chance to be taught the distinct dangers and cultures of various international locations, which is what makes his job thrilling and rewarding. Marriott International’s worldwide system consists of practically 8,300 properties – 1.5 million rooms – in 138 international locations and territories, together with 500 luxurious accommodations and resorts.

In 2022, the hospitality big stated it added 394 properties and noticed a 21% year-on-year enhance in deal signings. The accelerating tempo of Marriott International’s growth comes amid the worldwide journey business’s restoration from the pandemic, the company said in a release.

“Every day is a brand new journey and a brand new problem,” he stated. “Our crew is challenged daily to seek out new options, whether or not it’s discovering insurance coverage or managing dangers in numerous international locations – as a result of every one is exclusive and so are their dangers.”

‘Risk administration first, insurance coverage second’

Risk managers have had extra visibility within the company panorama than in years’ previous, notably after occasions similar to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to Aucoin.

“The scope of danger has modified in lots of organizations, whatever the business, and danger managers have needed to pivot and alter with that,” he stated.

“It implies that I and my crew should be extra astute and attuned to a altering danger profile. The dangers that have been necessary perhaps 12 or 15 years in the past are usually not the identical dangers that we’re coping with now.”

For occasion, reputational dangers ensuing from active shooter incidents or cyberattacks have develop into extra distinguished within the industrial actual property house in recent times. In the wake of COVID-19, many firms are adopting completely different revenue-generating actions that introduce new varieties of exposures. Finally, climate change and the rise of extreme weather events are adversely impacting property insurance coverage and making capability extra scarce.

The lack of ability to get sure varieties of insurance coverage makes danger managers’ job way more difficult. To assist buttress his group, Aucoin’s method is to handle exposures via contractual danger administration first, and insurance coverage second.

“With insurance coverage capability turning into extra scarce and prices rising, danger managers make commerce off selections, and in some circumstances, firms must take larger retentions in property and cyber insurance coverage,” he stated.

“The first line of protection in my group is contractual danger administration, as a result of I’ll not be capable to get insurance coverage in a sure nation. Insurance, subsequently, turns into the software to switch danger when it’s obtainable. When I do must have insurance coverage, the query is, am I going to should take larger retentions or pare down on protection limits? Is the protection obtainable? Those are the secondary dangers that I’ve to fret about as a danger manager that I’ll not have needed to be involved with two or three years in the past.”

Asked about probably the most vital problem that danger managers face, Aucoin pointed to the tempo at which companies and their exposures have been altering.

“Analyzing a difficulty with minimal info and offering well timed consults to management is difficult when an organization is shifting at a really quick tempo,” he stated. “Risk managers want to know the corporate’s danger urge for food and be keen to seek the advice of to management with the perfect info obtainable.

“What I’ve at all times stated is {that a} profitable danger manager should not solely have good analytical and communication abilities, but additionally be keen to take dangers. If we’re not keen to decide and provides well timed seek the advice of based mostly on how we’ve analyzed the publicity, then we’re not including worth to the group.”

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