2016 NWCDC

A Passion for Protecting Workers’ Lives

 The 2016 Teddy Award workers' compensation winners share the same fierce commitment to safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of their people.
By: | November 30, 2016 • 3 min read

Each year, the judges of the Teddy Awards diligently evaluate applications based on numerous criteria for success, including performance, innovation, sustainability and teamwork.

But our panel this year was quick to point out that those criteria — while vital — don’t always tell the whole story. The judges connected on a deeper level to those applications that included the intangible qualities of imagination, enthusiasm, energy, and most of all, passion.

It’s passion, fueled by a family legacy in the business, that drives Harder Mechanical Contractors to ensure that their workers’ lives aren’t diminished or cut short like those in generations past.  And it’s the same passion that drives the Harder team to protect every worker as fiercely as they would their own families.

It’s passion and imagination that is behind the relentless and savvy marketing campaigns that Excela Health used to keep staff actively engaged with injury prevention on a daily basis. Campaigns featuring character mascots and catchy mnemonics keep Excela’s injury prevention message at the forefront of employees’ minds at all times.

The 2016 Teddy Award winners earned our respect and our admiration for their devotion to their most important asset: their people.

It’s also passion — mixed with grit — that allowed Target to maintain a steady downward trend in losses and claims despite the departure of one-third of the company’s risk management staff.

And it’s passion for making employees part of the solution that fuels the robust “360-degree” safety and training program employed by Hampton Roads Transit that significantly decreased costs while adding collaboration and accountability.

Congratulations to all of the 2016 Teddy Award winners. They have earned our respect and our admiration for their devotion to their most important asset: their people.

Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award Winners

Learn more about the 2016 Teddy Award winners’ programs at “Steal These Ideas!” on Thursday at 8:30 – 9:45 a.m., in Room 293-295.

harder-150x150Harder Mechanical Contractors

An unwavering commitment to zero lost time is just one way that Harder Mechanical Contractors protects its people.

  • Harder Mechanical’s injury frequency and costs shrink consistently year-over-year.
  • The company logged 16 million man hours without a lost-time accident.
  • Reminding workers of what they value most helps reinforce the safety culture.

“We don’t want to just impose something upon the people out there in the field — they’re the ones turning the wrenches, and know how to do their jobs safely. So we need to get their input so they own it.” — Jennifer Massey, corporate director of safety and health and claims management

excela-150x150Excela Health

Excela Health, a health care network operating three hospitals in western Pennsylvania, abides by its mission to improve the health and well-being of every life it touches.

  • Excela Health reduced workers’ comp claims costs by hundreds of thousands over the past eight years.
  • The hospital network targets prevention efforts toward its top causes of injury.
  • Its return-to-work program keeps injured workers productive while they recover.

“We keep them working and keep them engaged and we care about them.” — Laurie English, chief human resource officer

hrt-150x150Hampton Roads Transit

Accountability and collaboration turned Hampton Roads Transit’s legacy workers’ compensation program into a triumph.

  • HRT saw a 98 percent decrease in lost-time claims frequency, a 94 percent decrease in average number of days lost per lost-time claim, a 48 percent decrease in frequency of injuries and a 78 percent decrease in total incurred costs per claim.
  • The strategy emphasizes a 360-degree employee safety and training program.
  • An annual open house educates providers about job tasks and the light-duty program.

“Everybody respects the program. We are all on the same side, working on the same goal.” — Danielle Hill, human resources compliance manager

target-150x150Target

Target brings home a 2016 Teddy Award for serving as an advocate for its workers, pre- and post-injury, across each of its many operations.

  • Target was able to reduce workers’ comp claims and lost time through an advocacy-based program.
  • Rebuilding the safety and risk management team led to discoveries of new opportunities.
  • The Workers’ Comp Assistance Center has been crucial in speeding up return to work.

“This [Workers’ Comp Assistance Center] is a service that we think is unique to us, and has really evolved to become a central part of our advocacy program.” — Amanda Lagatta, director of insurance and claims

The 2016 Teddy Award Judges

Jennifer Saddy, director of workers’ compensation, American Airlines; Anne-Marie Amiel, risk manager, Columbus, Ga.; Caryl Russo, senior vice president, corporate care, Barnabas Health Corporate Care; Mark Noonan, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers; Roberto Ceniceros, senior editor, Risk & Insurance®, and chair, National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.

Read comments from the judges on this year’s entrants and winners. &

The R&I Editorial Team may be reached at [email protected]

Risk Management

The Profession

This senior risk manager values his role in helping Varian Medical Systems support research and technologies in the fight against cancer.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

When I was 15 years old I had a summer job working for the city of Plentywood, mowing grass in the parks and ballfields, emptying garbage cans, hauling waste to the dump, painting crosswalk lines.  A great job for a teenager but I thought getting a college degree and working in an air-conditioned office would be a good plan long term.

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

I was enrolled in the University of Montana as a general business student, and I wanted to declare a more specialized major during my sophomore year. I was working for my dad at his insurance agency over the summer, and taking new agent training coursework on property/casualty risks in my spare time, so I had an appreciation for insurance. My dad suggested I research risk management for a career, and I transferred sight unseen to the University of Georgia to enroll in their risk management program. I did an internship as a senior with the risk management department at Sulzer Medica, and they offered me a full time job.

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

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We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks. If we initiate a collaborative exercise with the risk owners — people who may have unique knowledge about that particular risk — and include a cross section of people from other corporate functions, you can do an effective job of taking the risk apart to analyze it, figure out a way to manage that exposure, and then reap the upside benefits while reducing the downside exposure. That can be done with new products and new service offerings, when there isn’t coverage available for a risk. It’s asking, is there anything we can do to reduce the risk without transferring it?

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

Cyber liability. There’s so much at stake and the bad guys are getting more resourceful every day. At Varian, our first approach is to try to make our systems and products more resilient, so we’re trying to direct resources to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s a huge reputation risk if one of our products or systems were compromised, so we want to avoid that at all costs.

We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks.

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

I’ve worked with a number of great ones over the years. We’ve enjoyed a great property insurance relationship with Zurich. Their loss control services are very valuable to us. On the umbrella liability side, it’s been great partnering with companies like Swiss Re and Berkley Life Sciences because they’ve put in the time and effort to understand our unique risk exposures.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

One hundred percent through a broker. I view our broker as an extension of our risk management team. We benefit from each team member’s respective area of expertise and experience.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

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I think so. The brokers were kind of villainized by Spitzer. I think it’s fair for brokers and insurers to make a reasonable profit, and if a portion of their profit came from contingent commissions, I’m fine with that. But I do appreciate the transparency and disclosure that came out as a result of the fiasco.

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

David Collins, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Varian Medical Systems Inc.

While we might be doing fine here in the U.S. from an economic perspective, the Middle East is a mess, and we’re living with nuclear threat from North Korea. But hope springs eternal, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping saner minds prevail and our leaders throughout the world work together to make things better.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My Dad got me started down the insurance and risk path. I’ve also been fortunate to work for or with a number of University of Georgia alumni who’ve been mentors for me. I’ve worked side by side with Karen Epermanis, Michael Rousseau, and Elisha Finney. And I’ve worked with Daniel Dean in his capacity as a broker.

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

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Raising my kids. I have a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, and they’re making mom and dad proud of the people they’re turning into.

On a professional level, a recent one would be the creation and implementation of our global travel risk program, which was a combined effort between security, travel and risk functions.

We have a huge team of service personnel around the world, traveling to customer sites to do maintenance and repair. We needed a way to track, monitor and communicate with them. We may need to make security arrangements or vet their lodging in some circumstances.

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

My 12-year-old son thought my job responsibilities could be summed up as a “professional worrier.” And that’s not too far off.

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

Varian’s mission is to focus energy on saving lives. Proper administration of the risk function puts the company in a better position to financially support research that improves products and capabilities, helps to educate health care providers and support cancer care in general. It means more lives saved from a terrible disease. I’m proud to contribute toward that.

When you meet someone whose cancer has been successfully treated with one of our products, it’s a powerful reward.




Katie Siegel is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]