By Ross Rutman, Assistant Vice President – Habitational Group
JGS Seminar On New Food Safety Law
Companies in the food industry would certainly agree that producing safe products is of paramount importance. How can you make money if you are making your customers ill? Whether it is a hit to a brand’s reputation or a significant drop in sales, you would think businesses would not need more incentives to do the right thing.
Due to raise in foodborne illnesses and product recalls, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011. It aims to ensure the US food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. FSMA were finalized in 2015 and 2016. These new regulations on food safety carry criminal penalties.
In an effort to keep our clients informed of important issues in a timely manner, JGS Insurance held a seminar — The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) “Bites” — in March of this year to inform companies in the food industry what they need to know to protect themselves. The seminar touched on various FSMA-related topics, including the following:
- Criminalization of foodborne illness – What can you do to protect your company?
- Strategic risk transfer – What is an insurance policy after all?
- Product liability and recall claims – Do you know what to do if it happens to your company?
The seminar was moderated by Gwen Luu, Vice President of Property & Casualty who concentrates on assessing and managing brand reputations and providing practical and cost-effective insurance solutions.
The focus of the seminar, Gwen said, was “the current, multi-faceted challenges in assessing risk in the ‘Farm to Fork’ supply chain and how to develop risk management strategies, navigate FSMA compliance, and assist [clients] in staying better informed with a variety of claim scenarios if a simulation someday becomes a reality.”
The seminar was a huge success and attendees were impressed with the professional lineup of speakers and their presentations.
Shawn Stevens, a food industry consultant and lawyer, gave a brief history of the food safety revolution that occurred from 1993 to 2017. He then colorfully highlighted the main aspects of the FSMA’s criminal liability provisions — from investigators to swab-a-thons to cold cases — and what companies can do to protect themselves — from self-inspection to knowing the suppliers you work with to buying insurance.
Wilson Torres and Bart Adelsky, general liability claims professionals with Travelers, outlined the food claim process in general terms. They livened up their presentation with real-life examples of product liability claims. With the insured’s collaboration and timely claims management, Travelers helps their insured protect their business, brand, and reputation to achieve optimal outcomes.
Product recall insurance was a hot topic. Florian Beerli, Senior Vice President, Product Recall for Weshchester, a Chubb Company, sliced and diced the coverage comparison between Product Withdrawal and standalone Recall Insurance. Florian’s analysis of the multitude of costs associated with product recalls led to a comprehensive discussion of insured events and types of coverage such as defense, loss of profits, and consultant cost left many companies wondering they were properly protected under their risk management program.
This seminar is just one of the ways JGS Insurance goes beyond the traditional agent-client relationship. We actively seek areas of interest to our clients and offer timely and useful information in a variety of platforms.