Magazine article Risk Management

Executive Perspectives

Magazine article Risk Management

Executive Perspectives

Article excerpt

Increasingly, the people who run businesses are keying in on the importance of risk management. We caught up with three executives at the RIMS conference in Dallas this year to get their viewpoints.

Start-up Story

Scott Palmer is a mild-mannered sort who wears tweed jackets and glasses. But he's also a powerhouse who travels for more than half the year, heartily promoting his business to secure additional venture capital, demonstrating and piloting his new technology for customers. As former president and CEO of Biodynamic Research Corporation and current president of BRC's spin-off technology division, Injury Sciences, Palmer is a driven man.

BRC is a biomechanical consulting and research firm that focuses on forensic investigations of accidents to assess the causes of claimed injuries. BRC and Injury Sciences have developed PC-based technology that reconstructs car accidents to evaluate if the events really happened the way they were reported, and if the claimed injuries could possibly have been sustained in that particular scenario.

Their WrExpert is a software system that allows non-engineers--such as attorneys, claims adjusters and risk managers--to evaluate questionable injury claims resulting from auto collisions. WrExpert is a science-based technology and its evaluations use proprietary databases, engineering algorithms and scores of human tolerance tests and information. "It's a very user-friendly wrap on a very technical process," claims Palmer. "Risk managers can easily use the system--it prompts them to help identify key information about a claim and understand the hows and whys of an injury claimed from an auto accident.

"It is a tool to mitigate fraud, but it is not designed to prevent legitimate claims from being paid and truly injured people from being compensated," emphasizes Palmer. The technology can help to differentiate hard fraud and soft fraud (totally fabricated claims as opposed to exaggerated claims with real injuries).

A Personal Note

"Injury Sciences is in a start-up phase--it's a really exciting and intense time," says palmer. I'm on the road 75 percent of the time, but on a longer term basis I'm not willing to be successful at the expense of my family," he says emphatically. "Once I'm through with the start-up, things should quiet down. I'd like to live a more balanced life. I don't want to have to put such a burden on my wife and two boys."

The risks Palmer deals with on a daily basis with a high-tech, start-up organization are many and varied. The higher the "tech," the higher the rate of exposures. Companies dealing with advanced technology are experiencing changes at an incredible rate, making it difficult to pin down just where the risks are. And, as his business grows, he acknowledges the need for even broader-based risk management techniques and controls. "Right now, though, signing up our next customer is my most pressing risk management issue," asserts Palmer.

Running Smoothly

Yellow Rose Touring & Special Events is a full service event-planning company located in Dallas. Its primary goal is to produce the most memorable and unique events possible. And Dorrit Turner, president and CEO, makes sure her staff takes that mission to heart with an eye on managing risks, both large and small. "Our first act of risk management was in 1985, when my husband Chris, an attorney, and I founded the company as a Texas corporation and not a proprietorship," notes Turner. "From there, we hired all the appropriate experts--accountants, bankers and Chris to manage the financial risks of the new company."

In addition, Yellow Rose retained John Davis of Dexter & Company, one of the oldest insurance brokers in the Southwest, to act as a risk management consultant for the company's destination management business.

"Risk management is planning ahead, identifying and anticipating exposures, thinking about how we can protect our clients, employees, the company and its reputation," says Turner. …

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