SAM Risk Management

Sexual abuse and misconduct (SAM) risk has an unusual combination of characteristics that makes it both hard and essential to manage well. 

The inherent characteristics of SAM risk that make it so important to manage well include:

  1. Organizations that look after minors or vulnerable adults cannot avoid SAM risk.  To do so, they would have to stop looking after minors and vulnerable adults.
  2. There will always be adults who find minors or vulnerable adults sexually attractive, so SAM will never be completely preventable.
  3. SAM causes its victims terrible damage, so the financial and reputational consequences to organizations that fail to prevent or identify SAM quickly can threaten their viability.

Recent developments in the SAM risk environment have made effective SAM risk management even more important.

  • Retrospective statute of limitation changes in many States have provided victims with the ability to make claims for abuse that were previously time-barred; the way organizations deal with these changes impacts how likely and how well they will achieve their objectives in the future.
  • Prospective changes to statutes of limitation mean more victims will be able to seek redress in the future and for longer after they are abused; higher expectations for SAM risk management and longer timelines mean the ability to demonstrate sound SAM risk management now and in the future will be nearly as important as actually managing SAM risk well.
  • The consequences of poor SAM risk management have become more significant as the value of SAM settlements has grown; where a settlement of $250k was considered a big settlement 10 years ago, the largest individual settlement we know of was $40m.  (That is not a typo – forty…)

SAM risk is more likely to crystallize and more likely to threaten the future of an organization if it crystallizes.

SAM risk is also hard to manage well because, in a recent survey, we identified that:

  • Very few SAM risk managers manage risk as their primary responsibility – almost all SAM risk managers have a different primary responsibility, like legal or finance;
  • Few SAM risk managers are able to spend more than 10% of their time managing risk – risk management is just another thing on their plate;
  • Few SAM risk managers have formal risk management training – SAM risk managers learn ‘on the job’;
  • Though there is relatively clear information on SAM risk management legal obligations, there is very little practical or contextual information available to guide implementation of the obligations, leading to very considerable variability in the way controls are implemented; and
  • SAM risk management practices have never been measured for effectiveness, so approaches vary widely – even entities following the same basic rules use the same controls in widely different ways.

So, while most SAM risk manager are eager to manage SAM risk as well as they can, an unavoidable, unpreventable, and potentially existential risk is being managed by people with multiple priorities, limited resources, too little practical information, and no data. 

Our SAM risk management services are designed to help SAM risk managers to address these characteristics and overcome these challenges.  We provide SAM risk managers with the practical information they need to manage SAM risk well, whatever their resources and constraints. 

Our SAM risk management service is designed to answer key SAM risk management questions in four areas:

  1. How much SAM risk am I managing?  Our SAM risk value calculation provides every SAM risk manager with an estimate of how much SAM risk their organization has.  This estimate is foundational to a constantly improving SAM risk management program, given SAM risk is constantly changing and increasing.  The estimate is based on our working with organizations managing SAM risk and on insurance claims and pricing information collected over the 13 years we have been involved with SAM risk.  
  2. How well am I managing my organization’s SAM risk?  Our SAM risk management assessment delivers a confidential, relative SAM risk management rating to a SAM risk manager, identifies any individual controls they may want to think about improving and provides information on how to improve them.
  3. How do I ensure my SAM risk management program is customized to my organization’s particular context and needs, that it will adapt appropriately when SAM risk or my organization changes in the future, and that, over time, I can demonstrate I am prioritizing my SAM risk management budget on the most effective controls?  Our SAM risk management program design service helps organizations design SAM risk management programs that meet these objectives, while also accommodating an organization’s broader priorities, constraints, and challenges.
  4. How do I know my insurer is giving me the quality of insurance that the quality of my SAM risk management program deserves?  We help organizations access SAM liability insurance that complements the quality of their SAM risk management program.

If you would like to know how much SAM risk we estimate your organization is managing, take the short quiz here.  The only private information we ask for is your email address, so we can send you our estimate of how much SAM risk you have.