5 Ways Using a Single Carrier Makes Life Easier for Risk Managers

By: | November 16, 2018 • 2 min read
Currently AXA XL's Chief Executive of North America P&C, Joe Tocco has enjoyed three decades in the insurance industry at various organizations. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served as a nuclear field service engineer. He can be reached at [email protected]
Topics: Claims | Risk Insider

Businesses purchase, on average, upwards of a dozen or more different insurance coverages to effectively address their day-to-day risk exposures. GL. Property. Equipment Breakdown. Workers’ Comp. D&O. Commercial Auto. Cargo. Environmental. And as new exposures emerge — like cyber risks — specialized coverages do too, adding to the insurance portfolio coverage tally.

To meet these insurance needs, companies have relied on multiple insurance carriers for many reasons – price, strong relationships, expertise in a specific coverage, etc. But given current broker and carrier consolidation, the pace of change and risks that seem to grow more entwined by the day, many are realizing some significant rewards from a more consolidated, cohesive approach to insurance buying.

Strong broker/client/carrier relationships that result in deep-seated knowledge of a business and its industry are proving to have a big impact on a risk management program’s effectiveness in a number of obvious and rewarding ways. Here’s how:

1) Greater Efficiencies

Insurers and brokers alike are merging to benefit from cost efficiencies, gain new capabilities and achieve scale. Like them, many risk managers are also looking for ways to streamline their processes and achieve more effectiveness while reaping the most value from their insurance buys. As result of industry consolidation, many carriers are more diverse in their product offerings, more global in their geographic scope and better capitalized, making it easier for risk managers to consolidate buying among a smaller number of insurers.

2) A Customized, Collaborative Experience

As individuals, and as businesses, we are increasingly looking for more customized buying experiences and products. Not all businesses operate the same. That’s one of the biggest benefits of buying multiple coverages from one carrier. It helps solidify the opportunity for carriers to provide their clients more personalized service to mitigate risk and more cohesive, tailored coverage.

3) More Skin in the Game

A bigger investment in any business partner lends itself to a working relationship aimed at mutual success. A client is financing more of their risk management investment with one market; therefore, a carrier invests more of its resources and attention to a client’s needs and experience.

4) Deeper Mutual Understanding

When tasked with covering more of a client’s risks, carriers can get a bigger, clearer picture of a company’s exposures and develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies. The more we know, the better spot we are in to leverage the right expertise and resources to address risks across an organization.

5) Claims Advantage

Managing a claim can be challenging when multiple carriers are involved. Working with fewer carriers can often eliminate potential conflicts, speed up resolution time, and allow for more client/claims team collaboration.

For an insurer, achieving a deep understanding of our clients helps us achieve more for them. For our clients, managing fewer carrier relationships can boost efficiency and improve risk management effectiveness in a variety of ways – from managing claims to easing the renewal process to lessening the potential for coverage disputes. It’s a win-win all around. &

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.

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That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.

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Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]