Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Experts to discuss risk management planning as dangers mount

By on July 3, 2020

Former regulator organizes seminar on securing business, property amid growing quake, storms and Covid-19 threats

SAN JUAN – Given the increased risks to business and property in Puerto Rico due to this year’s earthquakes, an expected active hurricane season and the ongoing economic disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic, former Insurance Commissioner Javier Rivera Ríos announced Thursday that he has organized for this month a virtual seminar featuring experts who will discuss effective risk management for business owners in these challenging times.

The First Puerto Rico Risk Management Business Solutions Summit 2020 will be held on Wednesday, July 15, on the Zoom platform at 10 a.m., Rivera said in a press release, noting that the seminar will feature a panel of experts who will hold a discussion about “what a risk management practice truly represents” for entrepreneurs, and “how it strengthens and offers a better response in the face of an unexpected catastrophic event.”

“The year 2020 has brought with it earthquakes and the Covid-19 pandemic, which have paralyzed commercial activity. To this is added the forecast for an active hurricane season under the effects of public health emergency,” said the former insurance commissioner, who left the post in January just two weeks after Puerto Rico’s southwestern region was hit by the strongest earthquakes to hit the island in a century. “In the face of this outlook, identifying risks in a business takes on more importance to prevent and mitigate damages by catastrophic events.”

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island nearly three years ago, business and commercial property owners “faced the reality that they were not ready to face this event,” Rivera said, adding that “in many cases, their insurance policies lacked the appropriate coverage” for damages and losses caused by the catastrophe. He said that many insurance policies fail to cover all the needs of business and property owners due to the “lack of concrete data.”

“A great majority of these businesses did not have a risk management plan in tune with the magnitude of the event, which led many to the edge of bankruptcy,” said the former government official who now works in the private sector and is founder of JR Risk Management & Associates. “The way in which risk in the business sector of Puerto Rico is subscribed and managed should undergo change, and if this does not occur, definitively, there will not be better results.”

The First Puerto Rico Risk Management Business Solutions Summit 2020 will cover the practice of business risk management as a “key tool” to safeguard against catastrophic and unexpected events, Rivera said, adding that experts will provide guidance on how to prepare an adequate emergency management plan in accordance with “the new challenges” in Puerto Rico.

Moreover, he said the seminar will present the current and future outlook of the market for insurance premiums in Puerto Rico’s commercial sector given the new challenges, innovative coverage options such as parametric insurance, as well as changes in regulations and in the Puerto Rico Insurance Code that improve the response to catastrophic events.

Speakers at the seminar will include former Puerto Rico Emergency Management Office and State Medical Emergency Corps Director Heriberto Sauri; Luis Esteves, risk management advisor and consultant with international experience; Antonio Matta, head of Central America & the Caribbean for Willis Watson Re, representing the reinsurance sector; and Alberto del Rio, insurance coverage broker in commercial lines and risk management.

“Each of these professionals will present, from their own perspective, the lessons learned after Hurricane Maria as well as during the current pandemic, and will present to the audience the best practices that can really help business owners adapt to these times and cover their true needs,” Rivera said, noting that the seminar is for business and property owners and managers, including hospitals, shopping malls, condominiums, manufacturing facilities, restaurants and fast food restaurants, gasoline stations, as well as owners and managers of food distribution companies.

He said that more information on the seminar and registration can be done at the website www.manejoderiesgopr.com.

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