Risk Management

The Profession

Amanda Lagatta, Target’s director of insurance and claims, was drawn to risk management in high school and praises the value of college graduate risk management programs.
By: | October 1, 2016 • 4 min read

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R&I: What was your first job?
I did copying, filing, data entry and other clerical tasks at a local HMO while I was in high school.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?
Almost all of my jobs have been related to insurance, starting with the HMO and including work in the coordinated care/utilization review department at a hospital while I was in college. I was interested in what I learned in those jobs, so I decided to major in risk management and insurance while I was at UW-Madison. Through my classes, I realized that a career in risk would allow me to do several of the things I love — problem-solving, negotiating and building strong relationships with people.

R&I: What are the benefits of internships and college graduate training programs? Are they a good tool for attracting more young people to the field of risk management and insurance?

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I think they’re a great way to start building a network of contacts early on, and a great way to get new graduates familiar with different aspects of the industry. As recruiting tools, I think they will be important programs because they offer new graduates a foot in the door and a clear path forward, as well as hands-on training that gives you experience right off the bat.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?
Developing and improving upon analytics to help drive decisions, including predictive analytics for claims operations and platforms to help determine limits and retentions to manage volatility. There is still room for these platforms to continue to improve and evolve, but the growing commitment is great to see!

R&I: What was the best location for the RIMS conference and why?
San Diego. What is not to love about Southern California after a long Minnesota winter!

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
I think it will be very interesting to see how the industry changes as new risks around Internet of Things and technology continue to emerge.

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

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In addition to greater use of data and analytics, I appreciate that risk management is moving beyond just traditional insurance. We are getting more comfortable with risk-taking and more creative with alternative risk transfer solutions.

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

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?
I am fortunate to have met many people I admire and respect over my years in the industry and they have taught me so much about how to be successful. Currently, I have several mentors both in the insurance community and internally at Target. It is helpful to have both as I continue to develop. Sometimes I am looking for guidance on career development or risk management-specific concerns, and other times it is great to talk through more general ideas such as how to become a better manager or team advocate.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?
I ran the Twin Cities Marathon several years ago.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?
“Love Actually.” I watch it every Christmas while making cookies.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

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Craft beer. I like IPAs or saisons. Currently, my favorite is Insight Brewing’s Sunken City.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?
That’s so hard to decide. I am currently working my way through the Eater.com list of best restaurants in the Twin Cities and try to go to restaurants on those lists everywhere I go.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?
Iceland. It is so bizarre but also amazingly beautiful.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?
I am a very risk-averse person … maybe zip lining?

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?
I love that every day is different and that we get to learn about what is going on and support so many areas of the company. The days are full of problem-solving to help the company achieve its goals — either through helping to keep team members and guests safe, protecting profits or finding creative ways to support new business initiatives.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?
Most of the kids I know are disappointed to learn that I am not a cashier at their local Target store. Most others settle for a business job at the corporate office or “something related to insurance.”




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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Teddy Awards

The Era of Engagement

The very best workers’ compensation programs are the ones where workers aren’t just the subject of the program, they’re a part of it.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 5 min read

Employee engagement, employee advocacy, employee participation — these are common threads running through the programs we honor this year in the 2017 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Awards, sponsored by PMA Companies.

A panel of judges — including workers’ comp executives who actively engage their own employees — selected this year’s winners on the basis of performance, sustainability, innovation and teamwork. The winners hail from different industries and regions, but all make people part of the solution to unique challenges.

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Valley Health System is all-too keenly aware of the risk of violence in health care settings, running the gamut from disruptive patients to grieving, overwrought family members to mentally unstable active shooters.

Valley Health employs a proactive and comprehensive plan to respond to violent scenarios, involving its Code Atlas Team — 50 members of the clinical staff and security departments who undergo specialized training. Valley Health drills regularly, including intense annual active shooter drills that involve participation from local law enforcement.

The drills are unnerving for many, but the program is making a difference — the health system cut its workplace violence injuries in half in the course of just one year.

“We’re looking at patient safety and employee safety like never before,” said Barbara Schultz, director of employee health and wellness.

At Rochester Regional Health’s five hospitals and six long-term care facilities, a key loss driver was slips and falls. The system’s mandatory safety shoe program saw only moderate take-up, but the reason wasn’t clear.

Rather than force managers to write up non-compliant employees, senior manager of workers’ compensation and employee safety Monica Manske got proactive, using a survey as well as one-on-one communication to suss out the obstacles. After making changes based on the feedback, shoe compliance shot up from 35 percent to 85 percent, contributing to a 42 percent reduction in lost-time claims and a 46 percent reduction in injuries.

For the shoe program, as well as every RRH safety initiative, Manske’s team takes the same approach: engaging employees to teach and encourage safe behaviors rather than punishing them for lapses.

For some of this year’s Teddy winners, success was born of the company’s willingness to make dramatic program changes.

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Delta Air Lines made two ambitious program changes since 2013. First it adopted an employee advocacy model for its disability and leave of absence programs. After tasting success, the company transitioned all lines including workers’ compensation to an integrated absence management program bundled under a single TPA.

While skeptics assume “employee advocacy” means more claims and higher costs, Delta answers with a reality that’s quite the opposite. A year after the transition, Delta reduced open claims from 3,479 to 1,367, with its total incurred amount decreased by $50.1 million — head and shoulders above its projected goals.

For the Massachusetts Port Authority, change meant ending the era of having a self-administered program and partnering with a TPA. It also meant switching from a guaranteed cost program to a self-insured program for a significant segment of its workforce.

Massport’s results make a great argument for embracing change: The organization saved $21 million over the past six years. Freeing up resources allowed Massport to increase focus on safety as well as medical management and chopped its medical costs per claim in half — even while allowing employees to choose their own health care providers.

Risk & Insurance® congratulates the 2017 Teddy Award winners and holds them in high esteem for their tireless commitment to a safe workforce that’s fully engaged in its own care. &

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More coverage of the 2017 Teddy Award Winners and Honorable Mentions:

Advocacy Takes Off: At Delta Air Lines, putting employees first is the right thing to do, for employees and employer alike.

 

Proactive Approach to Employee SafetyThe Valley Health System shifted its philosophy on workers’ compensation, putting employee and patient safety at the forefront.

 

Getting It Right: Better coordination of workers’ compensation risk management spelled success for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

 

Carrots: Not SticksAt Rochester Regional Health, the workers’ comp and safety team champion employee engagement and positive reinforcement.

 

Fit for Duty: Recognizing parallels between athletes and public safety officials, the city of Denver made tailored fitness training part of its safety plan.

 

Triage, Transparency and TeamworkWhen the City of Surprise, Ariz. got proactive about reining in its claims, it also took steps to get employees engaged in making things better for everyone.

A Lesson in Leadership: Shared responsibility, data analysis and a commitment to employees are the hallmarks of Benco Dental’s workers’ comp program.

 

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