Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.
Los Angeles Chapter


 The Newsletter for Risk and Insurance Management Professionals

L.A. RIMS News November 2004

President's Message                                                                      


It seems difficult, but the holiday season is quickly approaching and I look forward to spending some extra time with my family and friends. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we have a lot to be thankful for despite the slow recovery of the economy and the current investigations of the insurance industry.

This year our Chapter will again provide something to those who are much less fortunate and struggle each day. We will  make a contribution to one of the homeless shelters.

November is also the month that we hold our Annual Meeting. I encourage everyone to take just a few minutes to complete and return the ballot – this is an important part of being a member of LA RIMS. I also welcome and encourage our members to attend our Annual Meeting on November 17, 2004.

I hope some of you had the opportunity to attend the Western Regional Conference. The conference had excellent topics, quality speakers and was a great chance to meet some fellow risk managers. I especially want to thank Kathy Merkovsky for all her efforts in coordinating LA’s involvement with the conference.

Finally, on a social note, we again will have our holiday event at the Jonathan Club on December 8th – mark your calendar.

That’s all for now and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Michael Carlin
L.A. RIMS President


 L.A. RIMS Links

 L.A. RIMS Website
 Board Officers 

 Monthly Meetings
 Executive Referrals
Membership Info
List of Members


 Related Links

Calendar of Events

November 17th
Annual Meeting

December 8th
Holiday Party
The Jonathan Club

January 19th
L.A. RIMS Luncheon

February 16th
L.A. RIMS Luncheon

March 16th
L.A. RIMS Luncheon


LA RIMS Board Officers 2004

Michael Carlin, ARM, CPC
Jacobs Engineering

  Executive V.P.
Dennis Healy
Los Angeles Newspaper Group

Rae Knapp, CPCU, ARM
Automobile Club of So. CA

RIMS Delegate
Kathy Merkovsky
Port of Los Angeles

Tanya Karn, ARM, ALCM
Fox Entertainment

Stacy Stevens, CPCU, ARM, AIC
Lowe Enterprises

Paula Ferrini
Los Angeles Times

Becky Smith, ARM
Castle & Cooke, Inc.

Facilities & Communication
Diane Wren, ARM
City of L.A. CRA

Scott Ritto, ARM
The Decurion Corp.

Legislation & Compliance
Ruth Lindstrom, ARM
Jacobs Engineering

Public Relations
Madeline Ramirez, ARM

Todd Marumoto
Mattel, Inc.

Bill Witt
Fremont General Corp.

L.A. RIMS Office
Amber Brown

If you would like to submit articles for the monthly newsletter, please note that articles must be received by  the 15th of each month.   Submit articles to RIMS@emaoffice.com

Please submit a correction to the RIMS directory to

Copyright 2004,
Risk and Insurance
Management Society,
Los Angeles Chapter


Chapter Clips

RIMS November Meeting

Please help contribute to the L.A. Mission.  At our November meeting we will be accepting monetary donations.  Your donations will ensure that those serviced by the L.A. Mission will have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday.  Donations will be accepted at the registration table. 

This meeting will also include the Annual Business Meeting for RIMS L.A. Chapter.

Save The Date - Installation/Holiday Party


 It may only be November, but before you know it the holidays will be here.  Our annual installation/holiday party will be held the evening of December 8, at the Jonathan Club.  So mark your calendars.  Soon you will be receiving the invitation and registration details for this event.

Once again we will be accepting gifts for Toys for Tots.  Please remember to bring a new toy and bring the holiday spirit to those less fortunate.  We will be accepting your gifts in the registration area.

As is tradition, not only will we be celebrating the season with our members, associates, friends, and guests, but we will also be installing the new officers for 2005.  This will give you an opportunity to meet our Chapter’s Board of Directors and volunteer to assist them in any way you can.

Wonderful raffle prizes will be given away as well.  If your company would like to share in the holiday spirit by donating raffle prizes for this event, please contact Kathy Merkovsky or Rae Knapp.

Celebrate another successful year and join us at the Jonathan Club.


Southern California Insurance Professionals November 2004 Dinner Meeting

Guest Speaker:  Edie Lohmann, Region IX Manager, FEMA

Topic:  An Introduction to National Flood Insurance Program

When:  Thursday, November 18, 2004
            6:00 p.m. No Host Cocktails
            6:30 p.m. Dinner Served

Where:  Lakeside Country Club
             4420 Lakeside Dr.
             Burbank, CA  91505

RSVP:  by November 15, 2004
            Lana R. Johnson
            e-mail:  lrjherway@aol.com

Cost:  $35 per person
          Cash Bar Available

Highlights of the Western Regional Conference

Were you unable to attend this year’s conference?  Here’s a glimpse of some of the highlights you missed as well as presentations made by Members and Friends of our Chapter:

 “California Workers’ Compensation Reforms: After SB 899, It’s a Whole New World” was presented by Tim East, Director of Risk Management for The Walt Disney Company and Chairman of the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation. 

Tim East provided information regarding the reforms enacted in April 2004, the regulation that are in development and actual changes from the front lines.  As many risk managers know, worker’s comp reforms have affected all of us and many of us needed Tim’s insight and opinion to help us sort through our confusion and questions.  It was a very enlightening session.

 “Risk Manager on the Stand” was presented by Ellen Vinck, VP of Risk Management, Benefits and Safety of U.S. Marine Repair, Inc., Kathryn Murphy, Safety and Risk Supervisor for LEGOLAND California, LLC, Robert Tyson of Tyson and Mendes, and Hugh McCabe of Neil, Dymott, Perkins, Brown, & Frank. 

Ellen Vinck (incoming national RIMS  president for 2005) acting as the  judge in the mock trial. 

Robert Tyson questioning the “hostile” witness, Kathy Murphy.






This session provided lessons learned from the World Trade Center trial including actual excerpts from the testimony transcripts presented in a “mock trial” format.  It also included insightful commentary (and humor) by the presenters.

 Paul Winston  of Business Insurance Presents his writing methods at the conference lunchon.


 Nancy Chambers, RIMS President

speaks to attendees.

Luncheon crowd listens attentively to Paul Winston.

Risk Managers network at conference luncheon.

 Michelle Lentes of Marsh discussing workers’ comp
risk controls.

Attendees listening to Tim East discuss workers’ comp reform.

The session “Business Interruption Claims – Pre-loss Due Diligence and How to Handle Complex Claims: Parts 1 and 2” was presented by Alex Glickman, Area Vice Chairman and Managing Director and Practice Leader for Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, Tom Mury, Manager of Business Insurance Claims Consulting for Deloitte & Touche, and Mark Massey, Senior Manager for Deloitte and Touche.

Alex Glickman, Mark Massey, and Tom Mury present session on business interruption claims.

The session focused on business interruption claims, effective ways to prepare and present a BI claim, case studies involving claim negotiation as well as settlement, complex and controversial claims accounting, coverage issues, and time element topics.

Another well-attended session was “Into the Fire of Food Service Risk Management” presented by Mike Leavins, Risk Manager of In-N-Out Burger, Kurt Leisure, Director of Risk Services/Asset Protection of The Cheesecake Factory Inc., and Michael Simmons, Director of Risk Management for El Pollo Loco, Inc.

Kurt Leisure presenting “Into the Fire of Food Service Risk Management” 

They discussed how most businesses regularly face slip-and-falls but not many of us have to contend with obesity claims, allergy issues and critters or other foreign objects in our products.  A few of the unique liability exposures that can keep experienced risk managers awake at night were discussed.  The panel shared techniques to control losses and how to make each an attractive risk to the underwriters…techniques that can be adapted to any business.

Next year’s Western Regional Conference will be held in Breckinridge, Colorado, September 13 through 16.  The cost for rooms will be $109 per night.  Budget for it now and we’ll see you there!

Health & Safety

Triangle of Life Theory

Due to recent e-mails and other correspondence in response to a published theory "Triangle of Life", the Governor's Office of Emergence Services has issued the following information supporting the state of California's duck cover and hold procedure during earthquakes.

Recently, you may have received information via e-mail and other sources promoting a protective measure called the "triangle of life" and questioning the "duck, cover and hold" procedure recommended for use during earthquakes here in California and in other areas of the United States.

Because buildings constructed in California are built to much stricter codes and standards than those in the rest of the United States and those in other countries, including Mexico, Iran and Turkey, collapses here are very rare.

Extensive research into the causes of earthquake injuries and deaths supports the use of the duck, cover and hold procedure recommended by OES, the California Seismic Safety Commission and the American Red Cross.

Most injuries in California earthquakes occur when building occupants attempt to exit buildings or move to a different location in the building.  In the recent San Simeon earthquake, two people were crushed by falling debris when they exited the building.  Studies of the 1979 El Centro, 1987 Whittier, 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge earthquakes confirm this pattern of injuries, and that use of the duck, cover and hold procedure reduces the likelihood of serious injury from a collapsed building and falling objects.

After each disaster, OES attempts to learn from behavioral research and other studies, and apply lessons learned into safety action recommendations.

There is, of course, no guarantee that people will not be injured in an earthquake.  Earthquakes can shake buildings violently and cause extensive damage.  The key to injury prevention is making sure buildings are safe, contents are secured, and occupants are trained to duck, cover and hold.

Please share this information with jurisdictions and special districts within your operational area.  Feel free to contact one of us if you have any questions and need additional information.

At-Home Halloween Safety Reminder

If your kids are like most, they're already planning their costumes and plotting out the routes they'll take to get the most candy on Halloween night.  It's one of the most popular holidays, but Halloween is also fraught with risks.  Help your kids keep it safe with a few Halloween do's and don'ts:

  • Don't let them wear long costumes that drag as they walk.  Trips and falls are likely!

  • Do teach them to stay away from candles

  • Don't buy costumes with masks; they can obstruct vision.  Use makeup instead

  • Do make sure your witch or goblin carries a flashlight or wears reflective clothing

  • Don't let children trick-or-treat alone.  Accompany the younger ones yourself, and make sure older kids are part of a group

CDC Releases Report on WTC Rescue Workers Ills

A CDC-funded screening program sampled more than 1,000 rescue and recovery workers and volunteers who responded to the World Trade Center attacks-and found that nearly half of them have new and persistent respiratory problems, and more than half have continuing psychological symptoms, according to preliminary data from a medical screening initiative administered by the Mount Sanai Medical Center in New York City.

The findings were released in the September 9 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and are based on evaluation of data from a representative sample of participants who enrolled voluntarily.  The program provided free standardized medical assessments, clinical referrals, and occupational health education through August 2004 to a total of 12,000 workers and volunteers exposed to environmental contaminants, psychological stressors, and physical hazards on and after 9/11.

Beside respiratory and mental health effects, participants also reported pain in the lower and upper or lower extremities, heartburn, eye irritation, and frequent headache.  Only about 20 percent of those screened had appropriate respiratory protection between September 11 and September 14.  According to CDC, most of these were police officers and utility and construction workers.

CDC has provided $81 million to continue for 5 years (through 2009) the medical screening for these responders.  In 2002, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $10.5 million for training and research to address 9/11-related health concerns, and $2 million for mental health and substance abuse services for those who responded.  For it's part, NIOSH, part of CDC, has accelerated efforts to protect personnel responding to terrorist incidents.  The institute issued new criteria for testing and certifying respirators used by these workers, among other steps.  For more on this matter, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh.

GAO says Anthrax Danger Underestimated

A new report by the GAO (Government Accountability Office formerly General Accounting Office) says that officials underestimated the risks to workers when anthrax-containing letters were handled in U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities in 2001.  The findings suggest as well that revises USPS guidelines about responding to an anthrax attack need additional work.  In September and October of that year, letters containing anthrax spores were sent to elected officials and media outlets.  As a result 22 cases of anthrax among workers and the public occurred, and two employees in a New Jersey post office died. 

USPS was faulted by GAO for turning to public health agencies to assess the risk.  After some agencies determined the risk was minimal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified cases of anthrax and had some post offices shut down.

USPS has since developed an intensive training program to prepare inspectors in biohazard detection related skills.  Also the postal service reportedly is installing equipment to detect the presence of anthrax in mail-handling facilities.  The report is GAO-04-239-available at http:www.gao.gov.

Job Opportunities  

To View the job opportunities in their entirety, please use this direct link to the LA RIMS website:  http://www.larims.org/exec.html

1)  Risk Manager/Risk Analyst

2)  Risk Manager
     Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, CA

3)  Risk Manager