Lessons from Metrolinx on risk management

What makes for excellent risk management? Meeting the needs of 1,500 stranded, soaking wet GO Train passengers and limiting the damage to 150 claims and about $100 worth of dry cleaning apiece.

Lessons from Metrolinx on risk management

Risk Management News


What makes for excellent risk management? Meeting the needs of 1,500 stranded, soaking wet GO Train passengers and limiting the damage to 150 claims and about $100 worth of dry cleaning apiece.

“Admittedly, we did have a few who came back to us to claim a Gucci bag or two,” Metrolinx’s manager of risk and insurance Derek Tang told those gathered for the annual Lowes Fund Breakfast yesterday at the National Club. “But having an Enterprise Risk Management protocol in place put us in the position to handle the Don River flood last summer, with a minimal amount of claims.”

It was the 5:30 p.m. GO Train home to Richmond Hill on July 8, 2013 that became stranded15 minutes after leaving Union Station as the Don Valley filled with storm water following a record-breaking 123 mm of rainfall that hit Toronto. GO employees and rescue personnel had to move some 1,500 passengers to safety from the flooded cars.

Although the lion’s share of Tang’s presentation focused on the expansion and deployment of Metrolinx and its partners in transit throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, it was his background in risk assessment and insurance that brought home the message of the importance for brokers to play an integral role in developing a solid risk assessment plan for business clients.

“As risk management professionals, we should recognize our key roles in contributing to the success of different business areas,” said Tang, “and hence our need to develop strong business acumen to be highly effective in what we do.”

Part of Tang’s risk management and training protocol for Metrolinx include a half an hour to 45 minute discussion of ERM and risk management at the board level.

“If you don’t have an ‘A’ team in place,” warned Tang, “it is very easy to get stuck developing an ERM.” (continued.)

Other initiatives include five-hour risk management training with a case study for the some 200 plus leaders at Metrolinx; an online ERM module for all employees; and a project insurance seminars for all managers.

“There are some who grumble about that five-hour training,” admitted Tang, “but the majority see the value in it.”

The proceeds of the breakfast seminar go to the John E. Lowes Insurance Education Fund, which awards financial assistance to students completing a post-secondary education – including property and casualty (P&C) insurance studies. The 2014 recipients of the John E. Lowes and Toronto Insurance Conference scholarships were Dayna DeBoer of Fanshawe College; Celine Eroler of Wilfrid Laurier University; Mike Kalcic and Caesar Martini, both of Conestoga College.

DeBoer is in her fourth semester in the Business Insurance program, and successfully completed her Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario *(RIBO) licensing examination in June, gaining work experience at a mutual insurance company over the summer.

Shown here are (from left to right): Caesar Martini (Conestoga College), Celine Eroler (Wilfrid Laurier University), Mike Kalcic (Conestoga College) and Lowes Trustees Chair Wayne Briggs. Absent is Dayna DeBoer (Fanshawe College).

Eroler is a fourth-year Honours Business Administration student, specializing in insurance and risk management – with plans to pursue her Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation upon graduation.

Kalcic is a second-year student in the Insurance program, and received a special invitation to the recent IBAO Convention in recognition of being one of the top students in his program.

Martini is a second-year insurance student who has received recognition for his outstanding academic achievements after his first year in the program, while maintaining a part-time job during the school year. Martini has an eye for underwriting when he graduates.

John E. Lowes was a founding partner of Irwin, Sargent & Lowes Insurance Brokers in Peterborough, Ont., and was a Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Insurance Institute of Canada, a President of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario and a President of the Insurance Institute of Ontario.

Also on hand were the 2014 Toronto Insurance Conference (TIC) Scholarship Recipients (shown here). From Left to right are Carolyn Kosturik, Neelam Vyas, TIC President Brooke Hunter, and Daniella Laferriere.


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