Meet Courtney Davis Curtis, RIMS’s Threat Supervisor of the Yr : Threat & Insurance coverage


Courtney Davis Curtis of the College of Chicago talks with Threat & Insurance coverage concerning the resilience that comes with being a threat supervisor.

R&I: What was your first job?  

 My first skilled job was as a dealer at Gallagher. I interned on the group in the summertime between my junior and senior 12 months [of college] and obtained a suggestion shortly after. And a month after graduating, I began within the schooling observe there as a dealer and producer on the schooling ebook of enterprise. 

R&I: How did you come to your present place?  

I’ve been a lifer, if you’ll, within the insurance coverage and threat enterprise, with a dedication within the schooling area. After my function at Gallagher, I grew to become a placement specialist at Marsh, and all through this whole time, I constructed a community of brokers, insurers and definitely shoppers within the greater ed and Ok-12 area, together with the College of Chicago.  

I’d been nice buddies with Luke Figora for plenty of years, and he was leaving the establishment and he stated, “You recognize what? You must apply for this place.” And I’ve constructed a relationship by means of the College Threat Administration and Insurance coverage Affiliation, which I at present sit as president for proper now. So, I took a leap of religion and took that chance and now I’ve been right here for seven years. 

R&I: What’s been the most important change within the trade because you’ve been in it?  

Effectively, there’s actually many issues. I believe we’ve had plenty of occasions which have occurred which have actually modified the method to how we insure totally different dangers. Some pretty important occasions actually prompted a knee-jerk response, if you’ll, from insurers and felt it in a rise of underwriting scrutiny that we now have to reply to. It modifications protection, and it actually modifications how we deal with and mitigate threat on campus.  

So, whether or not you’re speaking about Title IX, sexual abuse, traumatic mind harm, now you add a pandemic to it and now even what’s occurred with cyber — these are some main occasions which have occurred and a few of these are actually perforating in the previous few years that we’re continually altering issues in this type of round continuum. 

That’s made issues dynamic, however then that additionally would say the immediacy of knowledge and using social media has inflated prices for claims nevertheless it additionally has elevated the velocity of knowledge move, whether or not that’s good or unhealthy, in order that’s an fascinating dynamic.  

R&I: What’s the most important problem you’ve confronted in your profession?  

I don’t wish to make a dialog all about COVID, however that was definitely an incident or situation. When you’ve gotten this as soon as in a 100-year sort of occasion, there’s no information or path. We share data as threat managers, however there was simply no proper or incorrect approach to go about issues, in order that created challenges in itself.  

What’s actually creating challenges is how we depend on insurance coverage and making enterprise choices about the fee and worth of sustaining insurance coverage versus the price of that potential threat. And also you’re continually having this dialog and attempting to determine the best stability of issues, and it’s tough.

Not everybody understands insurance coverage or threat administration if you’re making these important choices which have long-term implications and contain many individuals. I come from a resource-rich establishment, and I can’t think about what some others could also be coping with in instances like this when there’s at all times competing pursuits. 

R&I: You had been acknowledged as threat supervisor of the 12 months by RIMS. Might you inform us a bit about your threat administration philosophy, which was highlighted in your recognition? 

I actually have two, however one I believe is admittedly particular. I’ll begin with the one that’s key for everybody to remember: Everybody’s a threat supervisor. Even should you don’t have threat administration obligations at your establishments, there are issues we do in our skilled and private lives that we’re making a choice to do or to not do one thing – that’s threat administration. Whether or not you utilize that systematic method to it or not. 

However the philosophy I preach to my crew, and it’s actually helped to information and direct and inform how we method threat administration, is that we must be the workplace of know, Ok-N-O-W, and to not the workplace of no.

It’s our job and duty to attempt to assist our campus companions get to the sure that can assist the analysis and educational and medical mission of the establishment, the division or unit, and as a lot as we are able to, we now have to determine a approach to facilitate that and take the best threat mitigation exercise to attenuate the impression or probability {that a} threat ought to happen. 

R&I: Who has been your mentor(s) and why?  

There are such a lot of those who I am going to for various issues, whether or not it’s formalized or not. I like doing it that method, as a result of it gives a military of individuals behind me and it’s not at all times somebody who’s extra senior to me or extra skilled.

Generally it comes even from my very own crew and workers or others that I work with. That at all times gives a variety of thought and perspective as I make totally different choices or face totally different challenges. And I believe that it’s vital to have individuals with totally different backgrounds and experience within the trade to take advantage of knowledgeable choices. After which, my household’s at all times a spine to something. 

R&I: What’s the threat administration group doing proper?  

You recognize, it’s in my title, however I actually do assume it’s incumbent of all threat managers that we’re resilient. We’re nimble and versatile sufficient to deal with a altering setting and never solely attempt to rapidly reply after we must be reactive but additionally attempt to take proactive measures as nicely.  

It’s not at all times the glamorous issues that we do, however we do it with plenty of gusto, and I believe as a group, we do some actually superb issues and may take a holistic method and lens to any state of affairs and have plenty of worth so as to add.  

R&I: What may the danger administration group be doing a greater job of?  

Effectively, I believe the danger administration and insurance coverage trade may do extra to make it possible for we’re thoughtful of the subsequent era of expertise and discovering methods to foster alternatives to get them on this subject, to see the chance that’s right here.  

After which, importantly, additionally protecting variety, fairness and inclusion in thoughts, too, in order that the world we work and stay in is mirrored in our trade. That’s going to be critically vital as we’ve bought this expertise hole of 400,000 roles which can be going to must be stuffed within the subsequent few years given a number of the retirements that we anticipate within the trade.  

R&I: How would you say expertise has impacted the danger administration career?  

It creates threat in plenty of totally different views should you’re speaking concerning the cyber privateness and IT perspective, and it additionally has helped us in how we facilitate our insurance coverage renewal processes.   

Hopefully in time, we’ll have a extra streamlined and complex method to our information gathering processes to have historic data and information to return on to determine tendencies and patterns and issues of that nature. It’s a little bit little bit of expertise, nevertheless it’s just a bit bit of information mining, too.  

Everybody will let you know that the insurance coverage and threat administration trade is a relationship enterprise, and that is one factor that I believe we bought to select up the cellphone a little bit bit extra and attempt to join in particular person and a few of these issues will probably be fascinating over time with popping out of a pandemic to see how we proceed to construct relationships internationally in that regard. 

R&I: Larger schooling was deeply affected by COVID. What different dangers are impacting the area over the subsequent few years?  

I believe there will probably be challenges to the general enterprise mannequin of upper schooling that would actually impression our operations.  

As you see from issues like inflation or the unrest globally and issues of that nature, and the extra entrepreneurial thoughts and spirit of the youthful generations, the query turns into what’s the worth proposition of upper ed and what does that imply for establishments?  

We have now fewer college students coming within the pipeline, from a enterprise mannequin and operational perspective, one thing that every one establishments will probably be impacted by. Individuals don’t at all times notice that tuition doesn’t cowl all of the bills. So, I definitely assume that’s, simply from a foundational perspective, one thing of concern. 

I believe we’re coming into right into a stage the place a number of the dangers that we’ve historically been in a position to insure, that insurance coverage will not be an choice or viable and that’s when that threat mitigation actually turns into key. We additionally must be exploring various threat financing options and new merchandise. That is just like how kidnap and ransom, fiduciary protection or cyber protection had been created.  

R&I: What’s your favourite ebook or film?  

Favourite film must be Sister Act 2. It’s in all probability one of many solely motion pictures I may recite forwards and backwards and sing about each track on it and simply warms my coronary heart to look at it. 

R&I: What’s your favourite drink?  

Champagne. Something with bubbles. That’s after water in fact, however when doubtful, champagne will make me completely satisfied. 

R&I: What have you ever completed that you’re proudest of?  

Naturally, the RIMS Threat Supervisor of the Yr 2022 award was a major achievement. I’ve been lucky to obtain different awards, however to be the one recipient was actually particular. It’s one thing I’m very pleased with. I signify many communities and hopefully that turns into an inspiration to others.

Even nearer to residence, I believe it was an achievement that I shared with my establishment and my colleagues and my crew, as a result of we’ve completed loads. I hope that they share in that with me as a result of it wouldn’t have been potential with out them. 

R&I: What’s the riskiest exercise you’ve ever engaged in?  

It needs to be a trip tour — parasailing, driving my bike down a mountain in Hawaii. It doesn’t actually get a lot riskier than a few of these issues, particularly if I’ve to signal a waiver for it, so I’d say that, however maybe for like a span of time, I did run a marathon so between coaching for the marathon and working it takes a toll in your physique. &

Courtney DuChene is an affiliate editor at Threat & Insurance coverage. She may be reached at [email protected]





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