We Align with You
Because when we’re aligned, we’re all in step. Communication
happens, people engage, and everyone moves together.
One result: Optimized total cost of risk for every client.
Because when we’re aligned, we’re all in step. Communication
happens, people engage, and everyone moves together.
One result: Optimized total cost of risk for every client.
Risk International is today’s preeminent risk and benefits management firm. We are not brokers. As an independent firm we are unbiased and free from the insurance industry’s conflicting interests and incentives. Our experts work with you to optimize your risk and benefits programs. We relentlessly pursue results and generate billions of dollars of shareholder value for our clients year after year.
We know what you need as a client. That’s because we were once a risk management department within an organization. In 1985, Zapata Corporation moved its risk management department out of the corporation, giving birth to Risk International Services, Inc. Once independent, the new company continued to provide high-quality risk management to Zapata, but also began adding more services, more value. That same year the independent Risk International began providing a fully integrated program of outsourced risk management services to the Fortune 200 company BFGoodrich.
As a result, we:
Risk International is an independent, outsourced risk management and benefits services provider for Fortune 500 and mid-market enterprises with complex risk management and benefits challenges. We are distinctly aligned with our clients in navigating the insurance landscape, with a no commission, fee-for-service model that ensures objective advice. We balance world class expertise, creative thinking and a fearless approach to helping businesses convert risk to opportunity. Our clients gain critical advantage through a reduced total cost of risk, increased profitability and the peace of mind that comes with a more stable and predictable risk management model.
Our risk management strategies create positive, transformative change that fuels better businesses. We drive out risk and cost, and enable clients to focus on their core business.
We align with and work entirely on behalf of our clients. Because we’re independent from the insurance industry, we can effectively leverage our expertise and ensure objective advice.
Our claims recovery team has recovered more than a half billion dollars in policyholder claims for clients around the world.
We offer independent property and casualty actuarial services to a nationwide clientele. Our goal is to support the establishment, implementation and management of successful risk management/insurance programs designed to fit the individual needs of our clients.
RiskOptics serves as an independent, comprehensive benefits and risk management expert to mid-sized companies that often have large benefits and insurance spend but have no benefits/risk manager or insurance expertise.
Director, Risk Information Systems
With a title that reads “director of risk information systems,” you can be certain that Diane spends plenty of time with data. You’ll find that to be true in her professional life and her personal life.
Part of the Risk International team since 1986, Diane Burgoon has an extensive background in computer data analysis. She was instrumental in the design and implementation of our in-house claims database and now personalizes the system to fit the unique needs of every Risk International client. She understands the claims systems of several third-party administrators and insurance companies. And she routinely combines claims data from various sources to provide consolidated reports to clients.
But technology is only part of Diane’s skill set. Other areas of expertise include risk analysis and reporting (with daily tasks that include premium and claim accounting), exposure data development, insurance budgeting, and insurance renewal management. She works closely with Risk International’s claims management group to create efficient methods of performing various tasks. She’s also directed Kaizen lean events with several proactive clients to eliminate waste in various processes.
When Diane leaves the office she trades one database for another. “I have been actively discovering my roots by engaging in genealogy research,” she explains. “I have a database of almost 1,000 individuals who represent ancestors and their descendants. I’ve discovered living relatives that I didn’t even know I had – and now am able to connect with.”
She received her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2002. And she has served on the committees of the local CPCU Chapter and the Charlotte Association of Insurance Women.
Whether it’s through risk management, claims recovery, insurance archaeology or simply strong technology, Diane makes life easier for each of our clients. Every company needs at least one Diane Burgoon, yet her co-workers and clients are grateful to have the original.
Claims Data Manager
Kathy’s detail-oriented mentality is a perfect fit for managing large amounts of claims and cost data for clients as well as designing processes to maintain data integrity. Kathy works primarily with Risk International’s insurance recovery efforts to compile data for litigation support and prepare allocations used to develop settlement demands. She looks for opportunities to improve processes and create efficiencies.
Kathy also supports Risk International’s claims service function through policy review, pursuit of coverage for claims as well as tracking and reporting needed to manage the claims portfolio. Kathy provides historic policy and corporate history research to assist with policy reconstruction and expert witness engagements.
Listening and alignment. Kathy believes those are keys to achieving success for Risk International’s clients. She listens intently to client’s needs and designs solutions to meet their business goals to achieve success.
Kathy joined Risk International in 1996, and has held the titles of Claims Examiner, Senior Claims Examiner, Claims Supervisor and Senior Risk Analyst. Before joining Risk International, she spent several years working as a paralegal for Roetzel & Andress. There, she coordinated all aspects of discovery for personal injury and product liability litigation and prepared trial materials for insurance defense attorneys. Prior to her time as a paralegal, Kathy worked for Kent State University as the Assistant Director of Admissions for High School and College Relations.
She holds a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Service from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Kathy serves on the board for her local religious organization and is responsible for coordinating a monthly community outreach program.
Once a champion always a champion. Vice Chairman Michael D. Davis saw early success both in the classroom and as a great track and field competitor (even qualifying as an academic all American).
Professionally, he’s a fearless champion for companies around the world that are honest about addressing their exposures and driving down their total cost of risk.
While he enjoys insurance underwriting (and has, in fact, managed all aspects of running an insurance company), Michael impacts the business side of Risk International clients. “I love the science of probability and outcome,” he exclaims. “Properly applied, it’s a great tool for helping clients make good decisions based on sound actuarial principles.”
Clients believe in Michael’s pragmatic approach to captive insurance company management, claims auditing, insurance archaeology, underwriting, and risk and insurance analysis. He draws on extensive experience in the U.S. and international insurance markets, and specific knowledge of the London, Bermuda and Swiss-German markets. He speaks fluent Japanese. And how many other people do you know who’ve been to all 50 states and visited 42 countries?
Michael joined Risk International’s Houston office as a risk analyst in the oil, gas, and marine industries. In 1990, he joined Risk’s Millennial Assurance Services group as underwriting manager, where he assumed responsibility for all operations, designed a computerized policy issuance system, obtained approval for a new ocean marine policy form, and managed a network of independent agents. In 1994 Michael returned to the risk management group, serving as risk manager to nearly a dozen Fortune 500 enterprises. He became president and chief executive officer in 2009.
Michael is drawn to challenges outside the office, too. He is an instrument rated private pilot, enjoys motorcycles, loves skiing, ran three marathons, and still manages to keep up with his six children.
Finally, Michael holds designations as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and as a Juris Doctor. He is a past-president of the Akron-Canton Chapter of the CPCU Society.
Benefits Advisory, Business Intelligence, Director
At many companies, “difficult situations” are often the result of complex, expensive employee benefits programs. Here to simplify and help companies save is the innovative, pragmatic Mark Freiman.
Mark and his benefits management team rely on lean practices to optimize the assessment, selection and management of benefits programs. “I’m at my best when helping clients trim excess spend from their benefits plans,” exclaims Mark. “I’m also a big believer in technology – it makes benefits administration vastly more efficient.”
Mark joined Risk International as senior consultant in 2014. His career in employee benefits consulting, however, spans two decades. Previously, Mark was assistant director of pricing analytics for Cleveland Clinic, where he served as its in-house Affordable Care Act expert and led its analytics team. He also brings experiences developing and implementing long-term benefits and health management strategies from his years at insurance brokerage Oswald Companies, as well as insights from managing pension services while at The Center for Health Affairs and from serving as a pension actuary for a global consulting firm.
What does Mark do in his personal time? Plenty. He’s a professional musician, sings, plays with several wedding/party bands, and was a member of “The Best Damn Band in the Land” at The Ohio State University (where he also received his bachelor’s degree in actuarial science). He loves to entertain through music, humor, or just being silly with his kids. But he’s serious about community, having volunteered as a teacher and tutor.
Armed with the designations of Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) and Compensation Management Specialist (CMS), Mark currently serves as president of the Northeast Ohio chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS). He’s successfully completed five Society of Actuaries Exams and was once recognized as one of the Top 25 Movers and Shakers in Northeast Ohio by the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club.
Nick is equally effective at working with senior management teams or developing and implementing improvements on the shop floor. He’s experienced in making significant reductions in the total cost of risk – enhancing profitability with good corporate governance. Through his EHS and insurance work he has made notable improvements in protecting people, the environment and property. His work on business continuity planning, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility has reduced risk and enhanced company reputations and brands.
Based in the UK, Nick joined the Risk International group in 2010 as a director. Prior to that Nick was a senior manager at Elementis, which has been a client of Risk International since 2003.
Nick is an engineer by training. On completion of his studies he joined GKN as a development and project engineer. He subsequently moved to the UK Atomic Energy Authority where he worked on sodium technology and became a plant manager on the prototype fast reactor. His career developed in the area of business improvement at Michelin Tyre and latterly with Elementis plc (formerly Harrisons & Crosfield), where he had group responsibility for risk and health, safety and environment covering operations in the UK, U.S., Europe, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.
Nick is a chartered engineer (CEng) and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE). He presents on safety and risk to industry practitioners and has had several papers published on a range of safety and risk topics. He was awarded the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ Hutchison Medal for the most catalytic or thought provoking paper published by the IChemE in 2008, for his paper: Business Continuity and the Link to Insurance – a pragmatic approach to mitigate principal risks and uncertainties.
Matt joined Risk International in July 2013 as a claims analyst with a primary focus on maximum cost reduction in client workers’ compensation programs, claims oversight/management, and claims recovery.
Prior to joining Risk International Matt was at the Western Reserve Group for 8.5 years as a senior claim representative where he provided skilled coverage analysis and routinely conducted successful settlement negotiations in numerous coverage lines. Matt also spent 10 years in the chemical industry working in a technical service and sales capacity, where he had the opportunity to directly serve a variety of industries and develop an extensive knowledge of automotive, heavy truck, and steel manufacturing processes.
Matt was graduated from Ashland University in 1998 with a BS in business administration and a minor in economics. In 2006 Matt obtained his Associate in Claims designation, followed by his CPCU designation in 2011 and his ARM designation in 2016.
Matt is a native of Ohio, but has lived in several states during his childhood including Illinois, Tennessee and West Virginia. He and his wife have four children. Matt enjoys running, biking, and a variety of outdoor activities. When his sons were younger Matt was involved in the Cub Scout program and is currently an active member of his community.
CEO, Consulting Actuary
Brian joined Bartlett Actuarial Group, now Risk International Actuarial Consulting, in 2004 as a consulting actuary. He has more than 20 years of experience as a property and casualty actuary. In his career, he has worked for Insurance Services Office, Reliance Insurance Company, American International Group, and GMAC Insurance. He has extensive experience with all property and casualty lines of business, including property, professional liability, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, general liability, commercial automobile and trucking, and many of the emerging lines of business in the insurance world, such as cyber liability and reputational risk.
Brian serves his clients not only as an actuary, but as an experienced risk and insurance consultant. He brings his vast business experience to the table to provide his clients with new ideas and considerations about their risk management programs.
Brian is an Associate in the Casualty Actuarial Society, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters and Insurance Institute of America. He was graduated from Bucknell University in 1995 with a BS in Mathematics.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland and Atlantic City, New Jersey, Brian and his wife love living in the Lowcountry of Charleston, South Carolina. They enjoy bicycling, kayaking, and spending time outdoors.
Many of Jeff’s interests – power boating, sailboat racing, downhill skiing, even golf — involve strategic thinking and tactical decision-making. It is this skill set that Jeff credits with helping him become a confident, proactive and trusted risk management professional.
“My clients value my ability to assemble a team that charts strong, objective risk management programs,” Jeff often says. “So I believe I‘ve got the best role at Risk International.”
Another great trait that Jeff’s clients enjoy: An ability to set, pursue and achieve major goals, regardless if these are mental or physical. For instance: This dedicated, tenacious runner has successfully completed three marathons, including what is now the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “Life is a marathon and not a sprint,” Jeff reminds us. “While a good start helps when running a race, it’s not as important as how you finish. I take this same mindset to my personal and business challenges and it has helped me greatly.”
A graduate of The University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a concentration in accountancy, Jeff began his career in public accounting with Arthur Young & Company (Ernst & Young LLP) in its Cleveland office. After three years with EY, Jeff joined the M&A practice of KeyBank (formerly McDonald & Co.) as an analyst focusing on business and total enterprise valuations and related salient analysis. His career includes business development, sales and marketing roles serving many different types of clients — from small OEMs to Fortune 500 enterprises.
A licensed CPA in Ohio, Jeff is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), and the Notre Dame Club of Cleveland.
Benefits Advisory, Business Advancement, Director
While some people avoid it at all cost, Ivor Kiwi embraces change. With an eye on process improvement, he enjoys the challenge of identifying opportunities to advance the mission and effectiveness of client companies and within Risk International Benefits Advisors. As Director of Business Advancement for RIBA, Ivor leads projects and initiatives to ensure the best services are being delivered to clients.
Previously, Ivor worked within the industry as part of a benefits management team at a regional broker to develop high performing employer benefits programs. And at Kaiser Permanente he led initiatives to streamline operations while positioning the Ohio region to be recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home. Preceding that work, his experience at other organizations centered around consulting with clients to implement population health programs focusing on absence and disability, wellness, and disease management, as well as non-traditional healthcare delivery models, such as worksite-based occupational and primary care healthcare clinics and fitness centers.
Ivor enjoys continually learning more about process improvement techniques and has received multiple certifications in Lean Six Sigma. Ivor also loves to explore the many fascinating natural and cultural treasures that Cleveland has to offer with his family.
Risk International is thorough (and ultimately successful) in part because our risk managers have such diverse professional backgrounds. One striking example is that of risk manager Floyd Konet. He started his career as an officer for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, moved from law enforcement into claims investigation for two insurance companies, then steered his unique skill set toward the field of corporate risk management.
He has been a corporate risk manager in the food wholesale distribution and retail sector. There, he also held the position of director of corporate security. Floyd also spent time in the construction crane rental industry, commercial explosives manufacturing and blasting industry, scaffolding manufacturing and rental, construction management, and the self-performing concrete industry.
To every client engagement Floyd brings a strong background investigating all lines of insurance claims. He has also developed and supervised large self-insured retention and deductible claim programs, and knows his way around litigation management and OSHA compliance.
Floyd earned his BS degree from Kent State University.
Benefits Advisory, President
Eric is known as a market innovator and disruptor. By founding Risk International Benefits Advisors (RIBA) in 2014, Eric has effectively turned upside down long-held practices for how employers manage and procure employee benefit plans.
With more than 30 years of experience in benefits brokerage and consulting, Eric knows what works and, more importantly, he understands what doesn’t work with regard to employee benefits plans and broker agreements. Skilled in Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) methodologies, he focuses much of his time and energy advising employers on lean benefits management techniques to help trim the fat out of redundant, wasteful and underperforming health plans.
The proprietary products that he has created on behalf of Risk International--including Advisory Services, Check 173™, Impact Analysis, Pathfinder and Scoreboard—have helped employers, and their employees, save millions in benefits costs and enhance the value of their programs.
Prior to joining Risk International, Eric served in senior management roles at two different brokerage firms where he was responsible for launching a new benefits brokerage business at one and realizing an annual growth rate of 20% over 10 years for another. He began his career at a large national insurance company. Additionally, he has served on national advisory boards for Aetna, United HealthCare, CIGNA and Guardian, as well as regional groups for Medical Mutual, Anthem and Kaiser.
Over the years Eric has worked with a diverse set of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 250 enterprises. In his current role, he works primarily with leadership and Boards of Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies that employ sizable workforces and incur a significant healthcare spend annually.
Is risk management ever easy? Certainly not. But it might seem that way to Risk International clients that work closely with Gus Kristancic.
Gus knows the business, knows our company, and knows his clients as well as anyone with “riskinternational” in their email address. After all, he was one of Risk International’s founding members, joining the company in 1986. Prior to that, Gus held various accounting and risk management positions at The BFGoodrich Company (now Goodrich Corporation) which, not coincidentally, was Risk International’s second client.
Where does the “easy” part come in? Have a look at Gus’s skill set and capabilities. He plays a critical role in all aspects of the risk management services that Risk International provides its clients. Clients also appreciate his deep expertise in risk accounting and taxation, surety, workers’ compensation, and risk retention strategies and analysis. But most of the time you’ll find Gus developing optimized annual insurance budgets, and working seamlessly with corporate accounting and public auditors to prepare monthly reports on trended workers’ comp insurance reserves.
Off the field Gus has an equally diverse set of interests. “I enjoy swimming, vacations and watching my red tomatoes grow,” notes Gus. “And I have season tickets for the Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavs.”
Gus is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation from The American Institute of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters and Insurance Institute of America.
Finally, Gus is eager to share what he knows. Examples: He was an instructor at Cuyahoga Community College in northeast Ohio, and coached his children’s baseball and volleyball teams.
Senior Risk Manager
Joining Risk International in 2003 as a risk analyst, Jon was promoted to his current position of risk manager in 2009. He continues to provide clients with risk management data analysis, Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) benchmarking, insurance program management and reviews, insurance broker selection, TPA accountability, short-tail claims oversight, and strategic broker relationship management
Prior to joining Risk International, he was a financial risk analyst for a large specialty jeweler where he developed, maintained and created efficient business processes to reduce financial risk exposures, while re-engineering and automating the credit risk reporting function.
Jon holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation from The American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters and Insurance Institute of America.
Jon is also an active member of the community and enjoys working with the Boy Scouts of America.
President and CEO
There’s no sitting on the sidelines for Todd Miller – he likes to jump head first into the action, lead and win. You see, he walked-on to his college’s Division I football team – made the team and then later, continued as a coach. When he first entered the insurance business, he was wide-eyed and eager to learn about the challenging industry -- and quickly rose through the ranks to become the head of a leading operation.
Today the former lineman is playing quarterback for Risk International. As President and CEO, Todd Miller oversees the five business units of the company that provides independent, outsourced risk management and benefits advisory services to Fortune 500 and mid-market enterprises with complex risk management and benefits challenges. More than anything, he wants to coach your business and lead it to victory: “No challenge is too great. I have a passion to get the most out of our team and to optimize results for our clients.”
Miller joined Risk International in 2015 as Chief Growth Officer after 15 years of service at Oswald Companies. He last served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Columbus, Ohio office for the regional insurance brokerage. During his tenure, he founded the office and grew it from a start-up into one of the largest, most respected firms in the region.
Recognized in 2013 as a Risk & Insurance® Power Broker™, Miller is an expert source and presenter on the topics of integrated healthcare strategies, total cost of risk, healthcare reform, and alternative healthcare funding strategies. He is a well-regarded risk management and employee benefits resource for The Ohio Society of CPAs, Society for HR Management, and with business and trade news media.
Todd is a graduate of Miami University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Chairman of the Board
With most business endeavors, growth is the goal. At Risk International, growth is also the outcome, thanks in part to the bold, but affable, David O’Brien. Inspiring growth – actually, creating it – is what David does best.
His focus is on clients. David has been welcomed as a trusted partner by successfully managing corporate risk, and transforming that managed risk into a competitive advantage. “What an honor it is to be treated as an extension of a client’s senior-level leadership teams,” notes David. “It tells me that enterprises value the protection we’re providing their executives, employees, shareholders and corporate assets.”
David inspires growth in his co-workers, too. He’s a change agent who leads by example, whether it’s capturing a reach goal, penetrating a new market or growing into a new role. David keeps Risk International team members aligned with each other (and with their clients) using one goal: reduce the client’s total cost of risk (TCOR).
David joined Risk in 2012 after a long career of serving the risk management and insurance brokerage needs of Fortune 1000 companies, many saddled with complex risk profiles. His career includes serving as president of Oswald Companies where he helped reinvent the more than century-old insurance brokerage. Prior to that he turned the Kentucky office of Marsh into the fastest-growing office of that global insurance brokerage. David also leads O’Brien Advisors.
David credits his success to having a father who was a mathematics professor and growing up in an academic environment. “Together, they gave me a balanced mind,” he explains. “I can quickly analyze client challenges then deliver intelligent solutions.”
David holds designations in Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and is a member of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS). He has a B.S. in finance and a B.S. in risk management/insurance from Ohio’s Bowling Green State University.
4055 Embassy Parkway, Suite 100, Fairlawn, OH 44333-1781
Risk Management, Claims Recovery, Insurance Archaeology, Outsourced Risk Management, Risk International’s RDS™, Self-Insured Loss Reduction, Benefits Solutions
Having worked for an insurance broker, a carrier, TPAs, and a manufacturing/retail company, Colleen brings a unique perspective to every client engagement. She works closely with her clients while managing their corporate claims programs and initiatives. And through her efforts, client programs see vast improvements in their risk management processes, efficiencies and outcomes.
Colleen joined Risk International as a consultant in July 2012, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience as a motivated and successful insurance, claims and risk management professional. She’s known and respected for her proven sales, account management, claim management, claim administration, relationship management, communication and operational skills. She prides herself as an effective problem solver, committed team player, and being that classic “can-do” type of individual who develops partnerships that foster environments conducive to success.
She began her career with The Hartford as a multi-line claim specialist, and held many positions throughout her career, including account executive; vice president (with Alexander and Alexander of the Carolinas); and workers’ compensation director (with Oakwood Homes). Colleen returned to Hartford/SRS in 2000, where she held the positions of national quality assurance manager, director of workers’ compensation, and account manager.
Colleen attended Western Carolina University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. She has an Associate in Claims and carries the WCLA designation. She also maintains her adjuster’s license in North and South Carolina, and is pursuing the Certified Risk Manager designation.
As a PSL owner for the Carolina Panthers and a passionate fan, Colleen attends all of the Panthers’ home games in Charlotte. She even had the opportunity to meet quarterback Cam Newton and his receivers, share a smoothie, and chat about Carolina Football.
Dan joined Risk International in 2014 as part of the acquisition of Consolidated Risk Management, where he was a risk management consultant. Dan’s experience gives him a unique perspective from which he can identify and manage corporate risk, and recommend claims control and risk management policies.
Prior to joining Consolidated Risk Management, Dan worked for nearly five years as an attorney in the litigation department at the Cleveland law firm of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman. As a litigator, Dan worked closely with small- and large-business owners, developing a clear understanding of the risk obstacles that they face.
Dan serves on the Anti-Defamation League’s regional board of directors and is co-chair of the Young Leadership Program. He has been recognized with the following honors:
Dan was graduated with honors from Emory University School of Law in 2007. Prior to studying at Emory, he earned his BA from Penn State University Schreyer Honors College, graduating summa cum laude and with honors in 2003. He lives with his wife, their children, and two dogs in the Cleveland neighborhood of Tremont. He is a tennis enthusiast and enjoys creating artwork and visiting Cleveland’s fine museums in his spare time.
Benefits Advisory, Client Growth and Development, Director
Did you ever meet Brandt Stiggins of Risk International? You’d remember if you did. He’s mildly intense. One hundred percent genuine. And a guy who lives by the mantra, “Never follow the norm because greatness comes from unbalance.”
There are many charged words in that phrase, but the most notable is “greatness” – precisely what Brandt strives for in his clients and his personal life.
Brandt is turning the Benefits’ status quo upside down by helping clients decrease their broker compensation, and pushing clients to align their benefits management with their corporate philosophies and goals. He also created a somewhat unconventional system of accountability for the brokers and consultants who partner work with his clients. And he insists that clients “always get what they pay for.” Brandt also focuses on captive insurance company management, underwriting, and risk and insurance analysis. He’s known for skillfully working with companies to establish and adjust their self-insured loss reserves through captives.
Personal life? More of the same. “I thrive on challenging my body and mind to go beyond the limits they’ve set for me,” he notes. Brandt has participated in Triathlon-Ironman distance competitions, run marathons and a 50-mile trail run, won a 140.6 triathlon race, and placed 2nd in three marathons. “Health is also very important to me. I’m a vegetarian and quite careful about what I consume.”
Prior to joining Risk International Brandt built and sold a profitable residential service business.
Brandt grew up in Austin, Texas, served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Ukraine, and is fluent in Russian. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 2005 with a BS degree.
He enjoys doing anything with his wife and kids, traveling and camping with his family, and is proud to call himself an Eagle Scout.
Board of Directors, Member
After almost 30 years with Risk International, Douglas stepped down from his role as executive vice president and general counsel at the end of 2016, but remains on the board of Risk International Holdings and will continue to work in an advisory role with Risk International’s claims group. During his tenure at Risk International, Douglas negotiated significant insurance claim recoveries for key clients as well as negotiated and resolved international insurance claim disputes with European insurers for both domestic and foreign losses. Douglas also spearheaded the company’s insurance research efforts in Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Rome to retrieve Holocaust-era documentation related to confiscated Jewish insurance policies.
Recognized as an expert in insurance archaeology, policy reconstruction, and insurance claim recovery, Douglas has been quoted in Risk & Insurance, Business Insurance, The Journal of Commerce, Il Mondo, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and has been interviewed on National Public Radio. He has been a frequent speaker at regional and national seminars on the topics of insurance archaeology and insurance claim resolution, and has testified at various regulatory and congressional hearings on the issue of insurance recovery for Holocaust victims.
Before joining Risk International, he spent several years in private legal practice with the firm of Roetzel & Andress litigating environmental, toxic tort, mass tort, and product liability claims, as well as insurance coverage disputes.
Risk management is a business where decisions are too often made for self-gain. Risk International, however, moves and acts independently. Our principled managing director, Michael Thoits, strongly exemplifies this.
Focused and detailed, Michael maintains his own personal leadership policy. It defines his principles, what he expects from others, what others can expect from him, and his core values. The first core value listed? Integrity. “Companies need to know that our advice is unbiased — that we provide honest, meaningful guidance that enables better risk-informed business and strategic decisions,” he insists.
Prior to joining Risk International in 2014, Michael spent almost two decades in risk management, benefits administration and law. Most recently he was the vice president of risk management for a manufacturer/distributor with $2 billion in sales, operations in 18 countries, and 11,000 employees. As the sole member of that company’s risk management department, he designed, built and oversaw its risk management functions, including traditional risk management, enterprise risk management, business continuity planning, and crisis management. Michael also directed that company’s benefits administration by managing group health and 401k plans, working on benefit design and wellness programs, preparing INBR calculations and budget guidance, and managing service providers.
When asked about his strengths Michael replied: “I have the ability to simplify complex situations, solve problems, and communicate clearly. I’m also always willing to do the right thing, and have the courage to act accordingly.”
Michael received his BA from The University of Michigan and JD from Wayne State University. His professional associations, board memberships, certifications, presentations and publications are too numerous to mention here. But, Thoits was quick to share the many interests that are an important part of his make-up: family, travel, skiing, golf and photography.
“Life is about family, balance and quiet humor,” he says. “Work hard, play hard, be proud.”
After a day of battling European insurance underwriters ten years ago, Kirk was lamenting about the state of his career with a colleague. “Am I placing myself in the right position for the future,” he asked? “Is my job doing enough to feed my passions?” The colleague stopped Kirk and changed his entire outlook on work and home life when the colleague said: “It’s not about you, Kirk.” It was then he developed a passion for improving the situations of others and began a life of putting service over self.
“At Risk International we have powerful tools that truly can effect change,” notes Kirk. “In a business that is often misunderstood and opaque — risk and insurance — our firm’s deep global knowledge and proprietary data shed a revealing light that always seems to improve our clients’ businesses – usually by reducing their costs, improving their coverage, or both.”
From the Charlotte office Kirk directs Risk International’s risk management practice group. There the Weatherhead MBA graduate has P&L responsibility for the practice group at large, maintains responsibility for the firm’s Charlotte-based clientele, and leads its aerospace practice area. Kirk is also a recognized expert in mitigating and transferring client risk, and in minimizing all components of the dreaded “total cost of risk.” And he’s experienced in developing and implementing enterprise risk management (ERM) programs for multi-national corporations.
Not every person has the tenacity to deliver change, much less on a consistent basis. Kirk gets his drive from being an endurance sports junkie. He’s a wildly fervent cross country and track coach, now in his third year. “It is just so exciting receiving the sixth through eighth graders each summer, and moving them from never running more than 100 meters to running 5-mile trail races,” explains Kirk. “The skills I’ve learned through my own training and races have translated well to my professional space – from building different energy systems through intense training to strategic and tactical race strategy. The kids have caught the vision, and when they leave our program for high school they’re armed with bullet-proof habits that will serve them for a lifetime. I love that.
“In addition, we always do the right thing for clients,” Kirk adds. “I’ve heard other vendors refer to Risk International as ‘a bunch of Boy Scouts.’ Know what? They’re right. From our chairman throughout our entire firm, we serve with honor, courage and humility. It truly isn’t about us, and I am proud to serve with this team.”
I’m a guy who really enjoys numbers. For as long as I can remember – even probably back to first grade — I’ve liked math, analysis, and figuring things out with numbers. And that passion stayed with me my entire career.
I joined Risk International in 2013 as vice president of finance and administration at the company’s corporate headquarters and was named CFO in 2017. In this capacity, I have responsibility for all financial reporting, financial planning & analysis, and treasury. I also lead the human resources and information technology departments, and address all general administrative matters for the organization.
Prior to joining Risk International, I held a variety of senior financial roles — CFO, director of finance and administration, director of financial planning & analysis, controller – amassing more than 15 years of experience in these and other finance and accounting disciplines. That decade and a half were spent in utility construction, manufacturing, retail and service organizations up to $200 million in size and involved multi-national companies that provided me with important international exposure. I also have experience in acquisitions, on both the acquired and acquiring sides of the table.
I was previously the treasurer of a charitable educational foundation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. When not working you’ll find me spending time with my spouse and two children, or somewhere in nature being an avid outdoorsman. I hold a Masters of Business Administration degree, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in economics.
Area Vice President
Andrew really likes to save money. Not everyone knows this. His Risk International clients certainly do.
“I’m always looking for ways to generate cost savings and cost avoidance,” says Andrew.
Here are some of those ways:
“Our clients benefit from an unconventional benchmarking process that identifies value and reduces their total cost of risk (TCOR),” explains Andrew. “I also insist on obtaining and scrubbing renewal and claims data. From this information we build underwriter stories to convince carriers that our clients are great organizations — and great risks. When we employ this process, carriers are usually quick to align around our pricing targets.”
Andrew also enjoys evaluating a client’s outstanding collateral and escrow accounts for reductions and recoveries. That curiosity yielded $200,000 for one client, $250,000 for another, and half a million dollars for a third. “Clients love improving their balance sheets and borrowing capacities,” adds Andrew. “It’s a quick win that’s often overlooked.”
Finally, Andrew is equally resourceful with claims recoveries. He once encouraged a major carrier to pay on a workers’ compensation claim that it had denied years earlier. He simply “wore ‘em down.” Also, his examination of a workers’ compensation program helped an aerospace company recover $3.3 million. “We’ll usually find recoveries that someone else missed, and savings opportunities that others didn’t recognize.”
Since 2009, Andrew has helped Fortune 1000 companies manage their complex risk management programs. From our office in Charlotte, North Carolina, he manages client accounts, executes risk strategies, negotiates third party provider agreements and fees on behalf of clients, and, of course, optimizes TCOR.
Did you also know that Andrew collects lambskin? That includes a JD from Akron School of Law, an MBA from the University of Akron and a BA from Brigham Young University.
Have you met Mike? Then you know that he seeks excellence, believes in continual improvement, and is simply unwilling to give up. Whether it’s helping a company realize its true opportunities, a workout, or spending a day at the park with his children, Mike understands that every situation requires dedication and 100% effort. It is this focus and determination that set Mike — and the Risk International team — apart from competitors.
Mike focuses on two practice areas: First, he works with our integrated claims services group to negotiate favorable coverage positions and obtain significant recoveries on behalf of Risk International clients, while avoiding costly litigation; Second, Mike collaborates with our risk management group, where he helps clients manage the day-to-day functions of a corporate risk management department. When he streamlines those functions – including strategic and tactical risk management, claims management, and litigation oversight– he frees C-level executives to focus more clearly on businesses objectives.
Before Mike joined us, he worked for nearly a decade as a trial attorney. Yes, he gained experience litigating a multiplicity of legal matters. Yes, he had countless opportunities to refine his analytical skills and sharpen his negotiation techniques. Yes, he learned that powering through difficult and complex issues increases the potential for successful outcomes.
Still, something was missing. “While the practice of law is a noble and honorable profession, it can also be wrought by boundaries and limitations. The legal field is governed by precedent and past decisions, which can restrict an attorney’s ability to be creative,” he explains. Mike became entrenched by a sense that his efforts were not having the intended impact and an inability to truly make a difference. He wanted more. He found Risk International, where innovation and original thinking are indispensable. Now, rather than being defined by a system, he is challenging it – using unconventional means to minimize risk and maximize client return.
Mike graduated from Case Western Reserve University, summa cum laude, in 2001, and the Francis King Carey School of Law with honors and earned his JD in 2004. Licensed to practice in Ohio and Michigan, Mike is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the Akron Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association.