Q&A: Jenny Novoa of Gap Inc.
Jenny Novoa is senior director of risk and security management at Gap Inc. in San Francisco and president of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc., which, along with the RIMS Silicon Valley Chapter, co-organizes the RIMS 2022 conference and exhibition. She recently spoke with Business Insurance Associate Editor Claire Wilkinson talks about the return of the annual in-person event and the issues facing risk managers in California. Edited excerpts follow.
Q: Tell us about Riskworld 2022. What are the highlights?
A: Coming out of COVID, the most important thing is being able to meet in person, take a class, or ask a question. We’ve come out of COVID with new issues that we’re all trying to resolve, as well as old issues. Being at a conference where you have all these resources, classes and sessions, the ability to network and reconnect – that’s what excites risk managers the most. I also look forward to showcasing the city. I love San Francisco. I was born and raised here; I raised my daughter here.
Q: What is the main concern of risk managers in California?
A: COVID and dealing with COVID regulations in California has been very time consuming, in part because I work in retail, which is a customer-facing business. Now that we’re out of it, that’s the global impact. For us, it’s been the supply chain and adapting to what the new reality is going to be. Cyber is a hot topic for many risk managers and rightly so because of the challenges. I will be speaking at a session on cyber-ransomware.
Q: Are you seeing relief from the tough insurance market?
A: Yes, I have just completed my P&C renewals and the results have been better than expected. Much depends on the direction the market is taking. It’s also about how you present your risks to the market, about understanding underwriters’ concerns. So when they think about how to allocate their capital, they will want to allocate it to you as a good risk. I’ve budgeted for a much tougher market, so I’m glad the results are better than expected.
Q: Is the talent shortage affecting risk managers?
A: In part, yes. The days when you had these wonderful in-company training programs – a lot of them are gone, especially on the claims side. Some areas of risk management have not received the necessary training. It’s really up to us as risk managers to develop that talent. I try to look for the right person. Will they have the qualities, the strengths to learn and take the time to learn risk management? I can teach anyone about insurance or claims, but do they have the soft skills, negotiation skills and people skills?