Organziational Culture and the Future of Risk

Risk Institute Executive Director Philip S. Renaud was the La Fleur guest lecturer at Hood College this week where he gave a keynote address on organizational culture and the future of risk management.

“Risk isn’t just insurance, actuarial, cost center, process or program,” says Renaud. “World-class risk management is achieved when an organization treats risk as a value.”

His presentation (which can be viewed here) takes the audience on a journey of risk management practices through the years. From risk transfer, insurance and accounting focus of the 1960s to captives in the 1980s to enterprise risk management and cybercrime mitigation of the present, the risk management professional today is just as likely to have an IT background as an insurance or finance background.

Renaud believes that an organizational culture that’s conscious of risk should look at three things: integrity, commitment and transparency.

“Organizations that are lacking in one or all of these spheres are the same organizations you see on the news for one scandal or another,” says Renaud. “Wells Fargo, BP, United, VW — these are companies who’s lack of transparency and integrity have cost them their good brand reputation, their stock price — not to mention the loss of public trust and in some cases landed their leadership in jail.”

Renaud believes that the future of risk management is bright and filled with opportunities for young professionals entering the field. According to a recent survey from the Risk Management Monitor, more than 60% of risk professionals are 55+ and will be eligible for retirement in the next five years, opening the door for bright, young professionals to move into more senior roles more quickly.

When asked if he could offer one piece of advice to companies on seeking to improve their organizational culture, he said, “Cultivate transparency. A lack of transparency is always viewed as deceit.”

Phil Renaud is the Executive Director of the Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. The Risk Institute is a research center bridging the gap between academic research and practitioner experience in enterprise risk management.

Impact of Demographic Change on the Macroeconomy

The next installment of the Risk Series will be Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate Change on March 20, 2018 and April 12, 2018. Seats are filling up fast, so save your seat today

At the turn of the last century, the majority of American were involved in agriculture. Today that number is less than 2%. Technological advances shifted the American economy then, it’s happening again, but this time in the manufacturing and service industries.

The Risk Institute welcomed Chris Ryan from ADP and Michael Betz from The Ohio State University on February 21, 2018 to discuss on demographic change impacts the macroeconomy.

Betz emphasized that to understand the digital revolution, it helps if we also understand the industrial revolution of the 19th century and other employment revolutions. 

The Luddite revolution of the 19th century began as cotton gins and steam engines were breaking on to the stage in a big way, able to do the jobs of low skill workers faster and more efficiently. These Luddite revolutionaries called for the end of these machines, but their call was shortlived because they were soon able to find other work and reap the benefits of living in a more productive society.

Throughout history, as worker productivity increased, so too did the median household wage, and so there hasn’t been much sustained resistance to new technology.

So is the digital revolution different?

Both Betz and Ryan say yes.

In the past, low skill jobs were taken over by highly specialized machines and workers were able to retrain and procure new jobs that machines couldn’t do, but with advancements in technology, robotics and artificial intelligence even the highest skilled workers are having a tough time competing.

To compound the situation, since the 1980s, worker productivity has increased exponentially, but the median household income has leveled off, so people aren’t experiencing the financial benefits of a more efficient society.

ADPs data calls this phenomenon the “Fading American Dream.” 

According to their data, a child born in 1940 had a 92% chance of earning more than their parents did. However, a child born in 1985 (so today’s millennials), only have a 50% chance of earning more than their parents.

So what can be done?

Ryan suggests looking forward to the future saying that most employment practices are looking in the rearview mirror rather than looking forward to future trends like liquid pay, the gig economy and work flexibility.

The next installment of the Risk Series will be Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate Change on March 20, 2018 and April 12, 2018. Seats are filling up fast, so save your seat today.

What researchers are doing to tackle distracted driving

February 22, 2018 marked one year since The Risk Institute embarked on a nationwide initiative to predict and curb distracted driving behaviors.

To celebrate our achievements over the last year and to reinvigorate our efforts, we hosted about 100 members of the initiative for an anniversary event. 10TV wrote a great piece about the work we’ve been doing.

We welcomed Fletcher Cleaves, a former collegiate athlete who is now paralyzed from the mid-chest down after a distracted driving crash several years ago; Maria’s Message, who is providing the awareness and reach for the initiative as we work together to create a research-based driver’s education curriculum; and students from Olentangy High School who we worked with to do some innovative research into driver habits and training.

If you want to get involved with the distracted driving initiative at The Risk Institute, reach out to us at

Impacts of Protectionism on Global Trade

Join us for the next Risk Series session on February 21, 2018, as we discuss how demographics drive the economy and the risks and impacts your business faces as a result. Register today!

Last week, it was announced that President Trump has placed steep tariffs on solar energy cells and washing machines. These tariffs largely targeted Asian manufacturers like Samsung and LG and represent the first step towards the sort of economic protectionist policies that were the hallmark of his 2016 campaign.

Protectionist trade policies have been in place for decades, but they’re once again coming to the forefront of political discourse as a result of populist movements at home and abroad.

As part of the Risk Institute’s commitment to leading the conversation on risk and risk management, we hosted our first continuing professional development session of 2018 on the impacts of protectionism on global trade.

Speakers included Sarah Brooks, Professor at Ohio State University; Jose Souto from Cargill; and Prentice Wells from EY.

According to Sarah Brooks, Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University, since the 2016 election, international political economy has hit home in the US reflected through increased populist sentiment, economic nationalism, and discontent with free trade agreements. Dr. Brooks was quick to point out that the US has long championed free and open trade while actually maintaining a protectionist economy.

Each speaker also touched on the “China Shock,” which took place from 1991-2012 when China’s share of world manufacturing value added grew from 4.1% to 24%. Of the 100 counties hit hardest by the China shock, Trump won 89.

Jose Souto from Cargill explained that protectionism can take many forms: tariffs, quotas, subsidies, exchange rate manipulation and others. Protectionist policies exist in theory to protect infant, recuperating, and declining industries; to protect basic and strategic industries; and to deter unfair trade practices. The efficacy of those policies depends on a myriad of factors, but nearly every nation in the world employees at least some protectionist economic strategies.

Gamma Iota Sigma to Present The Ohio Regional Conference at The Ohio State University, January 26-27, 2018

Yardley, PA,  — Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) will present the Ohio Regional Conference at The Ohio State University Blackwell Inn and Conference Center January 26-27, 2018 in partnership with The Risk Institute and Insuring Ohio Futures. Made possible in part by a grant from The Ohio State University, the conference is an excellent opportunity for the industry to engage with and recruit top collegiate talent from GIS schools in the surrounding area in a single setting, with an agenda that includes a career fair, educational sessions, keynote addresses, and industry and alumni panels, in addition to leadership seminars and networking opportunities.

GIS has teamed with its Sustaining Partners, companies who have made a significant, long-term commitment to support the organization, and the local insurance industry to offer industry engagement opportunities throughout the conference. The event is GIS’s first regional conference, expanding on its hallmark program, the Annual International Conference and Career Fair, which takes place in the fall.

Companies wishing to participate in the Ohio Regional Conference can register now at one of four levels, with discounts to GIS Sustaining partners at the top two levels. With an estimated 400,000 jobs needed to be filled by 2020, the insurance industry is looking to hire and engage with students of all interests: risk management, finance, economics, information technology, data analytics, human resources, marketing, and more.

Following the Ohio Regional Conference, GIS continues its programmatic expansion and its efforts to meaningfully connect students to opportunities in insurance with the addition of The Pipeline, The Insurance Industry’s Virtual Career Fair for Collegiate Talent, which will take place February 13, 2018 on the occasion of Insurance Careers Month and in partnership with the Insurance Careers Movement, Insuring Ohio Futures, IABA (International Association of Black Actuaries), and MyPath. Open and free to all students, The Pipeline Virtual Career Fair will bring employers together with college students pursuing a career in the insurance industry, providing access to companies seeking entry-level and internship candidates. The next Annual International Conference will be held October 4-6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. There are many ways for companies to engage directly with GIS and its students, from the Sustaining Partners Program to the GIS Career Center and opportunities directly with chapters.


About Gamma Iota Sigma

Incorporated in 1965 and boasting an annual membership of over 4,000 students at 76 colleges and universities throughout North America, Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) is the industry’s premier collegiate talent pipeline and has over 50 years of history of engaging students and preparing them for careers in insurance. GIS is the only organization of its kind and is the solution to the industry’s talent gap issue, pursuing a mission to promote, encourage, and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions. GIS is committed to growing the number of highly qualified students entering the industry; to that end, the number of GIS students and active chapters has more than doubled in recent years and continues to grow. In partnership with Sustaining Partners, corporate supporters, professional organizations, and trade associations, the full spectrum of GIS programming provides its members with meaningful interaction with the industry, as well as the tools to pursue and succeed in an insurance career. For more information, visit:


About The Risk Institute

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business brings together practitioners and researchers to engage in risk-centered conversations and to exchange ideas and strategies on integrated risk management. Founded in 2012, the Risk Institute is comprised of members from a variety of industries including insurance, finance, energy and government. Through the collaboration of faculty, students and risk management professionals, the Risk Institute addresses risk at a broad cross section of industries and is dedicated to developing leading-edge approaches to risk management.


Risky Business

7 common reasons given for a merger

Mergers and acquisitions are likely to be the biggest capital investment for a firm. For the acquired, stock prices typically rise significantly, but for the buyer, they typically fall. So what are the main reasons given for a merger or acquisition? In a recent Risk Series session hosted by The Risk Institute, Isil Erel discussed these and more during her talk.

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Risk Institute Seeks Proposals for Research on Risk Management

Request for Proposals for Research on Risk Management

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business invites area-specific and inter-disciplinary proposals for research covering all areas in risk and risk management. Priority will be given to topics of the Risk Institute’s 2017-2018 risk series:

  • Fraud & ethics
  • Protectionism
  • Macroeconomic consequences of demographic change
  • Weather and Climate risk
  • Longevity risk
  • Digital risk

The main focus of the research proposal should be understanding or managing risks with respect to any of these topics.

Funding will be up to $10,000 cash or research support per person with a maximum of $30,000 per project.

Proposals are due January 31, 2018, and should be limited to five pages plus necessary appendices. Submit proposals to

For more details on what to include in your submission and for answers to our most frequently asked questions, visit our website.

You have questions, we have answers. Visit our website for FAQs on the submission process.


Resilience Answer to Major Cyber-attack

Researchers from The Ohio State University measure economic consequences of cyber attacks

In survey results released by Business Insurance last Thursday, risk management professionals believe that their bosses and boards aren’t taking cybersecurity as seriously as they did last year. The report comes just as Dr. Zhenhua Chen from The Ohio State University and Adam Rose from the University of Southern California released a preliminary report of their research examining the major economic consequences of a cyber-attack in terms of GDP and employment.

The survey, the seventh annual released by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., shows that 62 percent of risk professionals said that their board of directors recognized cyber risk as a significant threat to the organization, down from 83 percent a year ago.

“Cyber-attacks continue to pose an extreme threat to the U.S. — major security breaches in private industry and government are on the rise,” says Dr. Zhenhua Chen, a research fellow of The Risk Institute and assistant professor at The Ohio State University. “These attacks haven’t yet caused major cross-sectorial damage, but the potential is there.”

Cyber-attacks can shut down industrial facilities, critical utilities and infrastructure systems, interfere with military operations, and compromise national security. And it isn’t just supposition, we’ve already seen it happen.

In Ukraine last December, hackers successfully blacked out a portion of the nation’s capital for about an hour. As reported by Wired, cybersecurity researchers discovered “disturbing evidence” that the Kiev attack was almost certainly a dry-run for a much larger attack using “most evolved specimen of grid-sabotaging malware ever observed” outside of a controlled setting.

Chen’s research focuses on answering three questions: 1) what are the economic consequences of cyber-attack measured in terms of GDP and employment? 2) How do the consequences vary when the attacks are targeted among different critical infrastructure sectors, such as manufacturing and cyber sectors? 3) What is the potential of various cyber-resilience tactics to reduce losses?

Chen’s overall research objective is to improve risk management for cyber-threats among both private and public sectors through better understanding of the economic consequence of cyber-attacks and the benefits of various cyber resilience tactics in reducing these consequences.

As a result of an extensive literature review, Chen and his team identified that although a plethora of studies have attempted to identify the economic impact of cyber-attacks, there is a lack of a systematic approach to evaluate economic impacts of cyber-attacks in terms of GDP and employment changes. They also realized that while several studies have addressed pre-disaster approaches to risk reduction (e.g.: mitigation), very few studies have addressed post-disaster approaches to recovering cyber capabilities (e.g.: resilience).

Chen has developed two attack scenarios to assess the direct costs and identify post-attack resiliency options. The first is a hypothetical cyber-attack scenario that assumes the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system of the auto-manufacturing sector in Michigan is disrupted by a cyber-attack for ten days. The second scenario pertains to a disruption of cyber sectors used by a broad range of industries in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake.

Zhenhua Chen is a research fellow at The Risk Institute. The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business exists to bridge the gap between academia and corporate America. By combining the latest research with the real-world expertise of America’s most forward-thinking companies, the Risk Institute isn’t just reporting risk management’s current trends — it’s creating tomorrow’s best practices.


Keep Your Little Goblins Safe This Halloween

Fall celebrations like Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos, and Harvest Day bring lots of fun for kids and adults, but they also mean extra caution is required to keep everyone safe on the road.

Drivers, here are some important tips to follow:

  • Drive slower than normal, and don’t pass stopped vehicles that may be unloading trick-or-treaters.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • Always use your turn signals and communicate with eye contact with pedestrians and other drivers if possible.
  • Yield to kids in all cases—they may dart in the road because they don’t see you or don’t know how to cross the street.
  • Put away your mobile phone so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Only use it when safely parked.
  • Party-goers: Drive sober or get pulled over! Always designate a sober driver and plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night if you plan on celebrating with alcohol.


Parents, here are some ways to keep your kids safe:

  • Ensure that goblins under the age of 12 have adult supervision.
  • Put on your hazards when dropping off or picking up your kids.
  • Stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
  • Choose face-paint when possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Brighten them up! Decorate costumes with reflective tape and have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights.
  • Set a good example: Don’t J-walk, and look left, right and left again at crosswalks.
  • Stay inside: Consider an indoor or vehicle-free outdoor community event to enjoy a stress-free holiday.

Source: US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mentor

Fisher team selected for national risk case competition

A team of four undergraduate students from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business has been selected to participate in the national Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge — a national case competition sponsored by Spencer and the Risk Management Society (RIMS).

Twenty-seven teams are selected to participate in the national contest. In a typical year, more than 100 colleges submit team applications. The contest, which takes place over several months, culminates in the winning team presenting at the RIMS national conference in April.

This is the second year in a row that a team from Ohio State has been selected. According to team advisor and Executive Director at The Risk Institute Phil Renaud, this year’s team is uniquely qualified to advance in the competition saying, “We’ve got a great group this year. They’re dedicated students with a passion for Risk. I think they’ve got a great shot.”

This year’s team consists of Megan Reardon, a fourth-year in Finance and Economics; Jessica Roth, a fourth-year in Actuarial Science and Economics; Benjamin Jessberger, a fourth-year in Finance; and Christopher Hull, a third-year in Actuarial Science and Economics.

The case will center on Sage and the Sage Foundation. The team expects to receive the case late next week.

The first round of work is due in December; teams will find out if they’ve advanced to the next round in early 2018.

The Risk Institute is proud to enable students to engage in the leading edge thought around risk practice.

About the Risk Institute

The Risk Institute is a collection of forward-thinking companies and academics that understand effective risk management strategies not only protect firms, but position firms to create growth and value. Housed at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, The Risk Institute is dedicated to bridging the gap between academia and risk practitioners. For more on the Risk Institute visit us at

About The Spencer Educational Foundation

Spencer Educational Foundation is the premier organization awarding scholarships and grants in risk management and insurance industry. Since its founding in 1979, it has awarded approximately $6 million in student and part-time master’s scholarships and $3.25 million in grants to universities, corporations and professional institutions for educational programs, internships and conferences. Spencer is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose purpose is to fund the education of tomorrow’s risk management and insurance industry leaders.

About RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition

Launched in 1963, RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition attracts some 10,000 risk and insurance professionals at all experience levels, business executives with risk management interests, brokers, insurers and service providers for the ultimate educational and networking experience. The four-day event offers more than 160 educational sessions, keynote presentations, special events and an expansive Marketplace Exhibit Hall with nearly 400 exhibitors. Following Philadelphia, the event will be hosted in San Antonio in 2018. For more information, visit