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Nov 2, 2020

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


The 2020 wildfire season in the United States is terrifying, both in its scope and its duration. As of the end of October 2020, it has burned nearly seven million acres in the U.S. and is not relegated to California; It has burned several hundreds of thousands of acres in the Greater Rocky Mountains, alone.


Joining the podcast to offer insight on preparedness and business continuity, as well as the 2020 season’s impact on the insurance markets, are two knowledgeable guest experts, Martha Bane and Regina Phelps.


Martha Bane, the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Property Practice at Gallagher, first joins the podcast to provide a broader broker perspective and share some commentary on market impact. She shares how she has been professionally impacted regarding the wildfire as an insurance broker in California, how predictive modeling and drones in real-time can monitor and analyze wildfire data, and her insights and advice on what companies can do to better position themselves when it comes to their property renewal.


Afterward, Regina Phelps, an emergency preparedness expert, joins the conversation. Regina is the founder of EMS Solutions Inc. in California and is a lifelong Californian with nearly 40 years of experience training clients in crisis management and helping to develop and initiate business continuity plans. She shares some fantastic tips and insight that any business leader or risk professional encountering wildfires or pandemics can use.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMS’ Global Membership.

[:26] About today’s episode.

[:39] Current RIMS features, offerings, and events.

[1:13] More about today’s episode with Martha Bane.

[1:47] Justin welcomes Martha Bane to the podcast.

[1:53] Martha shares how she has been professionally impacted, regarding the wildfire, as an insurance broker in California.

[2:26] Gallagher recently released new data in its Market Conditions report. Martha shares some of its key takeaways.

[3:16] With the wildfires being against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, does Martha feel that this makes 2020 an even more challenging year?

[4:39] Martha further elaborates on how this year, with COVID-19 and the wildfires, has made it an unprecedented time for all.

[5:38] How predictive modeling and drones in real-time can monitor and analyze wildfire data. She also shares about the technology that Gallagher is using.

[7:32] Martha shares what she has learned from this year’s wildfire season that she will be keeping at the forefront in the years to come.

[8:55] Does Martha think that this year’s events will change the way she works going forward?

[9:35] Looking to the future, Martha shares some insights and advice on what companies can do to better position themselves when it comes to their property renewal.

[10:41] Justin thanks Martha for joining RIMScast and introduces the next guest, Regina Phelps!

[11:22] Justin welcomes Regina Phelps to the podcast.

[11:30] Regina shares about what she does and where she does it!

[12:15] How far away is Regina from these wildfires? Has she been personally impacted?

[13:09] How California and the Northwestern U.S. terrain is unique and why, in particular, it is so susceptible to wildfires.

[15:23] Regina shares some of the history of forest management and the many factors that have added up to the current wildfires that are taking place.

[16:14] When and how did Regina prepare for the 2020 wildfire season?

[18:35] How they’ve utilized technology to train and prepare their clients.

[19:46] Regina shares his insights around small businesses that are in a potential wildfire risk zone.

[22:30] How has Regina updated or revised her pandemic training plans this year when they first heard about COVID-19 overseas.

[25:52] With wildfire risk exacerbated by COVID-19, Regina shares some of the other unforeseen challenges that COVID-19 has presented, to which they have now adapted.

[27:34] Does Regina work directly or closely with first responders?

[28:00] How effective are the current state alert systems? How could they be improved?

[30:30] How effective does Regina believe drones and unmanned aerial vehicles to be?

[31:36] Regina shares what a company in a wildfire zone would need to do in order to have a more comprehensive continuity program for 2021 and beyond.

[35:02] If there is no risk professional at a company, who would Regina recommend as the best type of person to lead out such an effort?

[36:57] Regina provides a good example of effective messaging in the case of a wildfire, both internally and externally.

[39:03] Justin thanks Regina for joining RIMScast!

[39:19] Justin closes out the podcast by giving thanks to both guests and sharing about some links and RIMS offers to check out in the show notes!


Mentioned in this Episode:

RIMS ERM Conference 2020 — Nov. 4th & 5th — LAST CALL TO REGISTER — Save 10% off registration with the code: RIMSCASTLIVE2020

RIMS Risk Forum 2020 India — Register Today!

Upcoming RIMS Webinars

RIMS Advisory Services — Ask a Peer

On-Demand Webinars

RIMS Coronavirus Information Center

RIMS Advocacy: Coronavirus Advocacy Information

RM Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

New Audio Series: RIMS Risk Leaders

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)


RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

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Follow up with Our Guests:

Martha Bane’s LinkedIn

Regina Phelps’ LinkedIn