With nearly three decades of experience in the field of insurance and law, Kim Bunting (pictured) currently serves as COO of River Oak Risk, an enterprise she founded with Doug MacGinnitie.
Holding both JD and MBA degrees from Emory University, Bunting has extensive experience in managing captives involving placement of billions of dollars of insurance coverage and hundreds of millions in claims and resolution of coverage disputes.
She started her career as a corporate risk manager at Georgia-Pacific LLC where she stayed for six years before taking other positions at Blue Circle North America, Lafarge North America, and Cendian Corporation. With her experience and deep knowledge of captive insurance, Bunting has become one of the thought leaders in the industry. She has managed to write and speak about captive insurance and its relation to business, tax and estate planning, as well as its condition in the middle markets.
Insurance Business had a brief chat with Bunting to learn more about her role in the industry. In this short interview, she shares how her company, River Oak Risk, has been helping companies learn the value of captive insurance.
How did your insurance career journey start and what led you to this path?
My career in insurance began when I worked in the legal department at Georgia-Pacific on large insurance coverage matters and was offered the corporate risk manager position, running the risk management department for a Fortune 50 company.
Tell us briefly about your company and its role in the insurance industry. What makes it different from other companies in the same space?
Our company, River Oak Risk, is a captive insurance management company primarily serving the middle market. We help operating companies evaluate if a captive insurance company is beneficial to the operating company in managing or financing its risk.
A captive insurance company can be a valuable risk management tool. Our company is different than many companies in the captive management space because we have deep risk management experience and expertise based upon my and my partner’s experience and background. I am a former Fortune 50 risk manager and risk management consultant to Fortune 1000 companies as well as an attorney.
My business partner, Doug MacGinnitie, is the former COO of a top 25 insurance broker, Beecher Carlson, and the former Revenue Commissioner for the State of Georgia. He is also an attorney. Captives operate at the intersection of Risk Management/Insurance, Legal and Tax, and Doug and I have experience in all these areas.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work in the insurance space?
I really enjoy helping companies, many of which do not have internal risk managers, evaluate their risk management profile and designing a useful tool to help manage their risks. We offer consultative risk management guidance as well as captive management services to our clients.
Have you seen any significant or notable changes in the industry or in your line of work from when you started?
Insurance is an ever-evolving area. Healthcare captives have become more prevalent than ever before and more and more creative uses of captives to help companies manage their risks are emerging. We see growth in producer-owned reinsurance involving MGAs as well as different types of operating companies that can offer their customers benefits by utilizing a captive on the back end of the transaction.
What are your hopes for the insurance industry moving forward?
It is important that the insurance industry continue to attract top talent from the finance and legal worlds and become more diverse. More women and other minorities are needed in the industry.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far as insurance professional? What did you do to conquer it?
Being a female in a male dominated industry is always a challenge. I have always tried to be as prepared or better prepared on the subject matter than others in the room to establish my credibility from the start.
How does your strong legal background help you in your current position?
My legal background helps because I have been involved in coverage litigation and drafting numerous agreements. I understand the importance of clear documents and adhering to regulations governing insurance. While I am not practicing law in my role as a captive manager, it certainly helps to have the background to understand complex legal documents, like an insurance policy.
What are your passions or hobbies outside insurance?
I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.