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Risk Notes

Risk Management Services Welcomes New Members

The SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund has welcomed the City of Westminster and Pickens Regional Joint Water System, effective as of July 1, 2022. 

For more information about SC Municipal Insurance Trust and SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund membership, contact Robert Collins, underwriting manager, at or 803.933.1279.

Sharon Henry Joins Risk Management Services as a Senior SCMIT Claims Adjuster

Work Experience: More than 30 years in the insurance industry as a multistate and multiline claims examiner

Hometown: Furman, SC   

Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration

Hobbies: Thrifting, upcycling furniture, DIY projects and walking

Sharon Turner, Senior SCMIT Claims Adjuster (high res image)

Danielle Baker Joins Risk Management Services as an Accountant

Work Experience: Tax preparation at Lindley Pettigrew & Company CPAs

Hometown: Clemson, SC

Education: Bachelor's degree in accounting from Clemson University.

Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, attending sporting events (Go Tigers!), listening to live music and attending concerts, being out on the lake or at the beach, and traveling, including two weeks in Switzerland and Germany this summer.

Danielle Baker, Risk Management Services Accountant (high res image)

Spotlight on Risk Management Services Administration

The administration section of the Municipal Association's Risk Management Services oversees and supports the various functions including underwriting, claims and loss control. Director of Risk Management Services Heather Ricard also makes daily decisions for the insurance programs while carrying out the directives of the boards of the SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund and SC Municipal Insurance Trust.

Heather Ricard, Director of Risk Management Services (high res image)

In addition to Ricard, the administration staff includes Amy Gillian, administrative assistant. Together they have over 35 years of government and risk management experience.

Amy Gillian, Administrative Assistant (high res image)

Ricard's tasks include responding to member requests and working with risk management services staff to address questions and emerging issues. A considerable amount of time is also spent working with outside vendors such as insurance brokers and actuaries.

Gillian provides support to the claims and accounting department on a daily basis. She handles the registration for all risk management training sessions and ensures that risk management services staff have the necessary supplies needed to complete day-to-day tasks. She is also responsible for updating the contact information for SCMIT and SCMIRF members in the association's contact management system.

Each year, the administration department hosts 12 board meetings between SCMIT, SCMIRF and the SC Other Retirement Benefits Employer Trust. The SCMIT and SCMIRF boards each have nine members while SC ORBET has seven members.

In addition to supporting the SCMIT and SCMIRF programs, the administration department also works with SC ORBET. It was formed in 2008 and provides a GASB qualified trust to help cities fund retiree health care benefits. The program continues to grow as more cities have expressed an interest in providing retiree health care benefits. For more information about SC ORBET, contact Ricard at

The staff of the administration department find it rewarding to work with the staff of the Municipal Association as well as the members of the insurance programs. It is important to them to ensure that the risk management services department runs smoothly so that it can continue to provide services to the SCMIT, SCMIRF and SC ORBET members.

Cindy Martellini, SCMIRF Claims Manager, Retires

Risk Management Services long time SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund Claims Manager Cindy Martellini will retire on October 14, 2022. She joined the Association in 2007. Prior to that, she worked with SCMIRF as a claims supervisor and adjuster with Sedgwick and Companion Third Party Administrators.

Cindy Martellini retired from her role as SCMIRF Claims Manager. (high res image)

"Cindy will be greatly missed by the Risk Management Services group," Heather Ricard, director of Risk Management Services, said. "We wish her a long and happy retirement."

Mike Waslewski promoted to SCMIRF Claims Manager

Mike Waslewski, current SCMIRF Assistant Claims Manager has been promoted to SCMIRF claims manager. Mike has worked with the association since 2020. He has more than 25 years of experience as a multiline claims adjuster, including 14 years as a claims manager and associate director at Nationwide and Allstate. Waslewski's contact information is or 803.933.1272.

Mike Waslewski, SCMIRF Claims Manager (high res image)

Spotlight on Risk Management Services' Board Members

SCMIT Board Member Joel Ledbetter

Elected in 2018, Joel Ledbetter has served on the SC Municipal Insurance Trust board for the past four years. He has been the general manager for Easley Combined Utilities since 1999.

Joel Ledbetter, SCMIT Board Member (high res image)
Ledbetter is a graduate of Clemson University and obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. He is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina and North Carolina. He is a member of the American Public Power Association board of directors, Piedmont Municipal Power Association board of directors and Easley Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He also serves as an elder of Easley Presbyterian Church. In his spare time, he likes to golf, play racquetball and read.  


SCMIRF Board Member Julie Wilkie

Elected in 2016, Julie Wilkie has served on the SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund board for the past six years. She has been the city manager for the City of Greenwood since 2018. She served as the assistant city manager for the City of Greenwood from 2009 to 2018.

Julie Wilkie, SCMIRF Board Member (high res image)

Wilkie is a graduate of Lander University and obtained a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. She is a member of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce board of directors. In her spare time, she likes to go to the beach and lake, and watch her children play sports.

Cyber Security for Leaders Training

In August, Risk Management Services offered "Cybersecurity for Leaders" training for members of the SC Municipal Insurance Trust and SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund. Cyber SC, a company that provides cybersecurity programs to help companies enhance their knowledge and skills, presented the training. Several cyber resilience professionals, Tom Scott, Jon Kilpatrick, Ian O'Briant and Kathleen Shealy, led the session.

Cybersecurity for Leaders training addressed several minimum steps that municipalities can take to improve their cybersecurity. (High res image)

Participants learned that attackers are attempting to access their computer systems on a daily basis. The changing role of technology has increased threats to the information needed to live and work. The average "dwell time," or time between when hackers will access a system is accessed and when they will actually attack it is six months.

The training addressed several minimum steps that municipalities can take to improve their cybersecurity:

Train employees

  • Send out cybersecurity tips by email on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Conduct annual training with employees. This can include training employees to recognize phishing emails and malicious links, and training them on policies and procedures to follow if a threat is encountered.

Improve threat sharing

Plan for cyber incident response

Secure the technology environment and use best practices

  • Require strong passwords. A good password model is to use three unrelated words with numbers.
  • Back up critical data systems, and confirm that the municipality is able to restore the back up.
  • Update and patch systems regularly.
  • Implement multifactor authentication, an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more credentials to verify their identity for login.

Attendees at the training broke into groups to have interactive, tabletop exercise discussions. Each group served as a mock city that encountered different cyber scenarios. The exercise had several objectives, including

  • increasing cyber awareness;
  • examining cybersecurity information sharing, escalation sharing criteria and related causes of action;
  • examining cyber security incident management structures; and
  • reviewing cyber resource requests and management processes.

The SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund offers the eRiskHub as a member resource for innovative cyber risk management solutions. 

Risk Management Services Annual Members Meeting Coming November 10

Risk Management Services will hold its annual members meeting on November 10 at the Cooperative Conference Center. The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The agenda and registration are available online. The registration deadline is November 2. The meeting will discuss the upcoming 2023 renewal and will include a lunch presentation on how to create a more fraud-resistant organization by Victor Hartman.