Jenny Novoa is senior risk and safety manager at Gap Inc. in San Francisco and chair of the Golden Gate division of Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc., which along with RIMS Silicon Valley hosts the 2022 RIMS Conference and Exhibition . She spoke recently Business insurance Assistant Editor Claire Wilkinson on the return of the annual event to the personal and issues that risk managers face in California. Edited excerpts follow.
Q: Tell us about Riskworld 2022. What are the highlights?
A: Getting out of covid is the greatest thing about being able to meet in person, take a lesson or ask a question. We have gotten out of covid with new problems that we are all trying to navigate and some old problems as well. Being at a conference where you have all these resources, classes and sessions, the ability to network and reconnect ̵1; that’s what risk managers are most excited about. I’m also excited to show off the city. I love San Francisco. I was born and raised here; I raised my daughter here.
Q: What’s the most important thing for risk managers in California?
A: Covid and the handling of the covid rules in California have been all-encompassing, in part because I am in the retail business, which is a customer-oriented business. Now that we’re on our way out of it, it’s the global effect. For us, it has been the supply chain and adaptation to what the new reality will be. Cyber is a hot topic for many risk takers and rightly so because of the challenges. I will speak at a session on cyber ransomware.
Q: Do you see any relief from the tough insurance market?
A: Yes, I just finished my property renewal / accident, and the results were better than expected. A lot is about where the market is headed. It’s also about how you present your risks to the market, to understand insurers’ concerns, so when they are thinking about how to allocate their capital, they will want to allocate it to you as a good risk. I budgeted for a much more difficult market, so I’m glad the results have come back better than expected.
Q: Does the lack of talent affect risk managers?
A: In part, yes. The old days when you had these wonderful training programs in business – many of them are gone, especially on the injury side. Some areas of risk management have lacked the training needed. It is really for us as risk managers to develop that talent. I’m trying to find the right person. Will they have the qualities, the strengths to learn and spend time learning risk management? I can teach everyone about insurance or damages, but do they have soft skills, negotiation and personal knowledge?