Risk Management at University of California Gets Top Grade

Grace Crickette joined UC with a plan to centralize risk management across the broad campus system.

Grace Crickette’s job is not one for the faint of heart. As chief risk officer of the University of California, she is responsible for identifying, assessing and managing an eye-popping array of risks confronting the vast institution.

Crickette oversees risks at the university’s 10 campuses in California, two other campuses in Washington and Mexico City, more than a dozen medical facilities and five medical centers nationwide, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, numerous international research facilities, the Lick and Keck observatories in California and Hawaii, respectively, and the world’s largest fleet of maritime research vessels.

The portal is called MMR, for My Managed Risk. While the university previously treated risks as hazards requiring transfer to third parties via insurance or other risk financing means, MMR is predicated on risk identification and mitigation. UC employees logging onto the site can access a variety of “low-tech, high-tech and no-tech tools,” Crickette says, ranging from a simple risk assessment tool to a robust incident-reporting system, that are designed to allow employees to become de facto risk managers. There is even an ERM Help Desk for portal visitors requiring a bit more direction.

“We’ve gone from risk financing to true risk management here,” she says. “We’re no longer just insuring our failures.”

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