2017 Power Broker

Education

Meeting Needs Far Beyond Insurance

Alex Burton
Area Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher

Several of Alex Burton’s higher ed clients needed more flexibility than what they were getting within their risk retention group.

But transitioning out of a risk retention group can be a complex and exhausting process. The groups house such a diversity of risks, ranging from football programs to art collections, to protection for boards of trustees.

Fortunately, Burton was there to lead the way, building each university a new program to cover its unique coverage, pricing needs and risk appetite.

“Risk is not something that a college wants, ever,” said Brooks Seay, CFO and vice president of finance and operations at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Ga.

Clients also value how Burton enhances their risk management efforts, bringing to the table the right resources and capabilities to manage their exposures.

One college experienced a domestic issue that led to the presence of an armed individual on campus. Thankfully, the situation was neutralized without injury to staff or students, but it was a wake-up call, said Dawn Nash, vice president for administration and CFO at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. She was grateful that Burton sped into action immediately and “totally stepped up,” she said.

By the end of that same day, she said, Burton put in place a suite of services and programs that bolstered the college’s level of preparedness and enabled the risk management department to be proactive.

A Champion for Student Health Care

Teresa Koster
Division Chairman
Arthur J. Gallagher

Massachusetts’ adaptation of ACA Medicaid expansion in 2014 profoundly impacted the student health insurance plan (SHIP) marketplace. A wave of students became eligible for state coverage, and SHIP enrollment plunged at public colleges.

Institutions struggled to keep their SHIP programs viable with smaller, more volatile pools of students. Arthur J. Gallagher’s Teresa Koster saw the impact this trend was having on her clients, and saw an opportunity to help not just her own clients, but all public colleges in her state.

Koster reached out to the state’s Medicaid department and health care exchange, proposing a plan that would encourage students to enroll in their school’s SHIP by allowing the use of Medicaid funds to pay premiums. The initiative, which required the approval of regulatory changes, came to fruition in Fall 2016. The SHIP Premium Assistance initiative was launched at all 30 Massachusetts public institutions of higher education.

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“It’s an idea that existed but Teresa is the one that brought it to Massachusetts and championed it,” said Ashley Hague, executive director of MIT Medical. “And everybody’s better off for it. … It’s a win-win-win solution.”

“It’s an example that other schools around the country can turn to,” said an executive at a prominent Midwestern university. “She’s helping shape the student insurance industry.”

Since the launch, the per-campus increase in school-based enrollment ranges from 24 percent to 30 percent.

Supporting Educators in Lean Times

Laurie Miller
President
Miller Services

The Illinois budget crisis hit rural school districts hard. Health care costs were on an upward trajectory, while property values were on the decline, shrinking school tax assessments.

So when a key health carrier lowered the threshold for self-funding groups, Laurie Miller pounced on the opportunity to organize a rural school-based purchasing pool. The Illinois Scholastic Cooperative launched Sept. 1, 2016, with seven districts and 1,000 lives.

“It was a huge cultural shift,” said Scott Bloomquist, superintendent of Winnebago Community Unit School District 323 in Winnebago, Ill. He said it was no small feat getting all the districts on the same page, but that if anyone could have made it happen, it was Miller.

“Everybody trusts her,” he said. “When she makes a recommendation, we almost immediately get buy-in. … She knows her stuff.”

The entire group realized an immediate 5 percent savings overall, and one district avoided an 18 percent stand-alone renewal hit. ISC is now getting the attention of other cash-strapped districts that typically operate with just a superintendent and a bookkeeper handling the programs. All of Miller’s school district clients say they rely heavily on her expertise and her deep commitment to helping rural schools succeed.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a year where she hasn’t done something innovative for us,” said Tom Mahoney, superintendent of Oregon Community School District 220 in Oregon, Ill.

Next-Level Solutions

Scott Wightman, ARM-E
Area Executive Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher

Ithaca College implemented a strong ERM program in 2009. But by 2016, the organization felt that its program was in a rut.

“It got to a point that we were really at a loss for how to continue managing our data and make our program more robust,” said Kristine Slaght, the college’s risk manager. “We were stalling and no longer had the right tools for where we’d grown to.”

So the ERM committee was intrigued when Scott Wightman approached them about becoming a beta tester for an ERM software solution he was developing.

Wightman, an active proponent of the importance of ERM and compliance in college and university governance, had long since seen the need for ERM and compliance management to move beyond spreadsheets. He sought out a viable software solution and discovered Risk Wizard, an Australian firm with a promising solution for corporations.

Wightman partnered with Ithaca College to help adapt and customize the program for higher education. Using the software, Wightman created about 10 or 12 different templates for the committee to use, said Slaght, including one that would produce a heat map — something that the committee longed for.

“He did miracle work with it actually,” said Slaght. “He’s really moved us in a positive governance direction.”

Slaght said she’s pleased with everything the college has been able to accomplish over the past year. “We’ve really taken it to the next level,” she said.

Taking on the Toughest Challenges

Elizabeth Marshall, ARM,
Assistant Vice President
Marsh

One of Elizabeth Marshall’s university clients experienced a troubling — and very public — array of legal woes. As expected, renewal time brought yet more pain, with incumbent markets proposing alarming premium increases and retention levels.

Marshall, an education placement specialist with Marsh, was concerned that the situation could get even thornier, with the potential for hybrid claims creating turmoil between the general liability and educators legal liability carriers. She designed an alternative GL and excess liability proposal. The outcome? Significant cost savings, a lower attachment point for hybrid claims, and a crisis management program independent of a liability occurrence or wrongful act.

“She was a pillar,” said a top risk officer for the university. Marshall was able to secure significant savings on the university’s excess casualty program, allowing it to purchase higher educator’s legal limits without impacting the overall insurance budget for the year.

Another university client needed to roll coverage for an acquired facility into its primary program despite it being a wholly different operation and class of business. It also needed to keep its automotive policy outside the primary program, even though only a limited number of insurers were willing to write automobile liability risk on a stand-alone basis. A tall order all around, but she got the organization exactly what it needed and then some.

“She found solutions and resources that I could not have found,” said the university’s risk manager, a veteran of the brokerage side as well.

Undaunted by the Impossible

Courtney Hensley, CRM, CISR
Account Executive
Aon

Almost immediately upon becoming the broker for a large university, Aon’s Courtney Hensley was presented with an unusual challenge: To secure a large federal contract, a division of the university needed coverage for providing prescribed burn services. But “intentional fire” was expressly excluded by the markets.

“These things, when they go bad, can go really, really bad,” said the university’s top risk management professional. Damages can run into the millions. Securing coverage was practically impossible, she said. “It was really nail-biting.”

But Hensley isn’t the type to be bested by a difficult exposure. “We can do better than this,” she told her client. An initial attempt to knit together several partial solutions came to naught because of exorbitant pricing and high retentions. As the clock ticked on the federal contract, Hensley kept working the problem and identified a viable Plan B.

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Her team was able to manuscript a program using a wholesaler to place general liability, professional liability and contractors’ pollution liability together, specific to the university’s operations, incurring only minimal deductibles and a cost-effective premium. The burn exposure was contained within a separate tower that would protect the university’s other exposures in the event of an unexpected loss related to activities under the federal contract.

“She created a whole separate insurance tower for that department,” said the risk professional. “I was so amazed.”

Finalists:

Kate Kenny
Vice President
Marsh
Chicago

Tyler LaMantia
Area Senior Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher
Chicago

Robert DeVilbiss
Vice President
Aon,
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Shelley Levine
Area Executive Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher
New York

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

After 20 years in the business, Navy Pier’s Director of Risk Management values her relationships in the industry more than ever.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Working at Dominick’s Finer Foods bagging groceries. Shortly after I was hired, I was promoted to [cashier] and then to a management position. It taught me great responsibility and it helped me develop the leadership skills I still carry today.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

While working for Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel, one of my responsibilities was to oversee the administration of claims. This led to a business relationship with the director of risk management of the organization who actually owned the property. Ultimately, a position became available in her department and the rest is history.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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The risk management community is doing a phenomenal job in professional development and creating great opportunities for risk managers to network. The development of relationships in this industry is vitally important and by providing opportunities for risk managers to come together and speak about their experiences and challenges is what enables many of us to be able to do our jobs even more effectively.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Attracting, educating and retaining young talent. There is this preconceived notion that the insurance industry and risk management are boring and there could be nothing further from the truth.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

In my 20 years in the industry, the biggest change in risk management and the insurance industry are the various types of risk we look to insure against. Many risks that exist today were not even on our radar 20 years ago.

Gina Kirchner, director of risk management, Navy Pier Inc.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

FM Global. They have been our property carrier for a great number of years and in my opinion are the best in the business.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

I am optimistic that policies will be put in place with the new administration that will be good for the economy and business.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

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The commercial risks that are of most concern to me are cyber risks, business interruption, and any form of a health epidemic on a global scale. We are dealing with new exposures and new risks that we are truly not ready for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My mother has played a significant role in shaping my ideals and values. She truly instilled a very strong work ethic in me. However, there are many men and women in business who have mentored me and have had a significant impact on me and my career as well.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I am most proud of making the decision a couple of years ago to return to school and obtain my [MBA]. It took a lot of prayer, dedication and determination to accomplish this while still working a full time job, being involved in my church, studying abroad and maintaining a household.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

“Heaven Is For Real” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. I loved the book and the movie.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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A French restaurant in Paris, France named Les Noces de Jeannette Restaurant à Paris. It was the most amazing food and brings back such great memories.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Israel. My husband and I just returned a few days ago and spent time in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho and Jordan. It was an absolutely amazing experience. We did everything from riding camels to taking boat rides on the Sea of Galilee to attending concerts sitting on the Temple steps. The trip was absolutely life changing.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Many, many years ago … I went parasailing in the Caribbean. I had a great experience and didn’t think about the risk at the time because I was young, single and free. Looking back, I don’t know that I would make the same decision today.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I would have to say the relationships and partnerships I have developed with insurance carriers, brokers and other professionals in the industry. To have wonderful working relationships with such a vast array of talented individuals who are so knowledgeable and to have some of those relationships develop into true friendships is very rewarding.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

My friends and family have a general idea that my position involves claims and insurance. However, I don’t think they fully understand the magnitude of my responsibilities and the direct impact it has on my organization, which experiences more than 9 million visitors a year.




Katie Siegel is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]