PARMA Member Spot Light

Meet Diane Caminite, CPCU, ARM


Tell me about how you became a risk manager?
I came to the risk management field the way many do – unintentionally.  I was originally planning to go into nursing and began my education with that focus.  Since I needed to work my way through college, I had also decided it would be a good idea to get a job in healthcare.  I ended up getting an administrative job in the risk management department with a local hospital group.  I had no idea what risk management was and ended up being exposed to insurance, risk mitigation, risk financing as well as an offshore captive for medical malpractice.  I found it quite interesting, and I decided that risk management was a better career choice for me. 

I spent six years at the hospital expanding my knowledge about risk management, but wanted to learn the technical side of insurance, so I spent an additional six years working in the insurance industry as an underwriter while also finishing my degree in business and pursuing various industry designations (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM).  I wanted to go back into the risk management field and, as luck would have it, I saw a job posting for a Risk Management Analyst at the Port of San Diego which seemed like the perfect fit.  I got the job and have been working in various capacities at the Port for 18 years, eventually becoming the Risk & Safety Manager.

What are the rewards you experience professionally by being a PARMA member?

I think PARMA does an outstanding job educating its members on issues that are unique to public agency risk managers.  My organization -- and I’m sure many others -- have limited resources for training and education, and PARMA fills this niche with quality programs at a very low cost.

How has your professional knowledge expanded by interacting with other PARMA members?

Getting to know other risk professionals has been beneficial.  I have gained a lot of professional contacts that I have been able to call upon to brainstorm with on insurance and risk issues.  It has also been great for having contacts to benchmark where my agency stands in relation to others as far as insurance coverages, best practices, etc.

When did you start realizing you wanted to move into a leadership role within PARMA?

I was involved with the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) for many years and really enjoyed that.  I enjoy giving back to the risk management field and wanted to continue involvement by offering my services to PARMA in the role of the San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter Secretary/Treasurer.

After being a member in PARMA for some time now, how essential was joining your professional association?

The San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter has really grown in the past few years and has become a very dynamic Chapter.  That doesn’t happen without members getting involved, so it was essential for me to take that next step.

How would you respond to a risk manager who says they don’t have time to participate in PARMA and /or moving towards a leadership position?

I think the perception may be that getting involved in PARMA is a significant time commitment.  However, there are many ways to get involved that don’t take a lot of time.  Getting involved at the Steering Committee level or offering expertise by speaking at a meeting would be opportunities that are not huge time commitments.

What do you see being one of the largest challenges for the future of risk management?

Getting young people interested in the field of risk management is one of the largest challenges.  While there are a few colleges that offer degrees in risk management, I don’t think it is promoted very well as an actual profession.  There is a whole generation of seasoned risk managers that will be retiring in the coming years and I think it is going to be tough to find qualified people to fill these roles.

How will PARMA respond to that challenge?

I think PARMA will need to focus on how to better promote the profession and that providing risk management services to a public agency can be a very interesting and rewarding career path.