At a time of great crisis, chief risk officers have stepped forward to bring their unique skillsets to bear in assessing the strategic and financial impact of both the pandemic and the recession and reporting these real-time insights to the board.

Executive Summary

Can you imagine what it was like at Command Central at a Wisconsin-based mutual during a pandemic? Or sense what it felt like to mobilize a team of risk and underwriting professionals at an international specialty insurer to assess business impacts? CROs from two such companies, along with one for a U.S. workers comp insurer and a global reinsurer painted word pictures of how everything went down in virtual control rooms when COVID-19 emerged and in the months of lockdown that followed for Journalist Russ Banham.

Take Steve Rominske, CRO at Church Mutual, a provider of property and liability insurance to religious institutions, schools, assisted living centers and nonprofit organizations. On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, Rominske, who had been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus, formed a team of functional leaders in legal, IT security, HR, media relations, risk and loss control, and his own enterprise risk management (ERM) organization.

In heading up what he calls Command Central, the team had three anchoring points: employee safety, communications and customer service. At the same time, Rominske joined other executive management leaders in modeling the impact of COVID-19 on the insurer’s investments and coverages.

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