PARMA Member Spotlight

Meet Roberto Reyes
Claims Representative
County of San Diego

How did you become a risk manager?

I am a Claims Representative for the County of San Diego rather than a Risk Manager. My inquisitive nature has led me to want to do investigative work. I previously worked at GEICO Insurance with my ultimate goal being to work for the anti-fraud team, however along the way I changed paths and began my work with the County. I have been adjusting liabilities for the greater part of the last decade.

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

PARMA meets balance between education and fun. I have met several great colleagues in the field. Working in risk management can be a bit isolating, especially if you are the only one in your role for your entire public entity. PARMA connect you with the local community.

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

My professional knowledge has expanded greatly due to my interactions with other PARMA members. The networking has allowed me to meet a lot of people with different risk backgrounds that may have handled similar situations in the past. This has enabled me to gain a new perspective and outlook on these situations, thus allowing me to handle them more confidently in the future. It is nice to bounce off a scenario to a fellow PARMA member for guidance.

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

My prior, now retired, supervisor recognized my potential and encouraged me to move into leadership within PARMA. I began as the Steering Committee Chair and I have since “grown up” within PARMA. I was appointed treasurer of the San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter earlier this year.

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

Without PARMA, I would have felt like I was flying solo in my career. PARMA has taught me that there are other likeminded professionals in my field that I can build trustworthy relationships with. I have been able to learn from my PARMA colleagues the best ways to mitigate risk for the public entity.

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?

Everyone is over-scheduled if you want to be part of something you MAKE time for it.

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

The largest challenge I see on a daily basis is nuclear verdicts and the windfall from them. No one wants to get hit with a multi-million-dollar verdict. I am a firm believer, however, that some cases must be litigated. If you pay every exposure, you won’t have any money left. Pay what you owe. It is a delicate dance but that is why we all have jobs.

How will PARMA respond to that challenge?

PARMA educates us. They keep us up to speed on what’s going on in the community not only locally but throughout the state. PARMA puts you in contact with the people that can help solve whatever problem your public entity may face. Inevitably you will be stumped by something one day at work and Google won’t be able to help.