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Science and sensibility

Amy Ryan

Amy Ryan, Senior Life Science Specialist

In a seemingly innocuous new pharmaceutical plant, located across from a strip mall, a Chubb client was planning to employ several hundred employees to manufacture medicinal tablets. It was a business you might not expect to be overtly dangerous. That was until Amy Ryan, Senior Life Science Specialist, began evaluating the operation.

Because of her specialized knowledge, she questioned if the powders used to produce the tablets could be combustible — and, indeed, the client had not tested the material.

“It turns out the powder was combustible,” Ryan said. “We educated the client on the risks and got them headed in the right direction with engineering firms to analyze the powder and get the proper safety protections in place.”

A possible disaster had been averted — thanks to Ryan and Chubb.

Operating out of Basking Ridge, N.J., a nexus of the life science industry, Ryan is actively involved with many such operations. A graduate of Rutgers University, she holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in occupational health and safety.

After a decade working in university labs overseeing biological safety, Ryan joined Chubb in 2009, encouraged by employee family members. She was attracted by Chubb’s interest and investment in the life science business, along with the position’s flexibility and advancement potential.

Working in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Ryan visits medical device manufacturers, pharma companies and associated support industries.

“With life science, there are varied exposures such as product liability through potential contamination and spoilage as some products can be temperature controlled or sterile. There are also special workers compensation exposures related to potent compounds.”

Since these products are highly regulated, Ryan’s understanding of the regulatory environment is also critical.

Ryan’s other responsibilities include acting as a resource for agents who are sometimes unfamiliar with these types of operations. She also gathers underwriting information and coordinates support from her risk engineering partners to review other facets of a client’s business.

Describing herself as “collegial and cooperative,” Ryan said her love of science and ability to be flexible — on job sites or with individuals — are important assets in her role.

“It comes down to the fundamental charge of a safety professional,” she said. “I’m sending people home the way they came in at the beginning of their shift, keeping people healthy and safe.”