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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 can be reached at [email protected]

The Profession

Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

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

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

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

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

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

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

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

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

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

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

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

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

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

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

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

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

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

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

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

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

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

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

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

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

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

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

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