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The Profession

Jane Sandler

At McKesson, Jane Sandler blends her passions for risk management and health care to help the organization develop innovative, forward-thinking solutions.
By: | December 14, 2016 • 4 min read

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R&I What was your first job?

My first paycheck came from bagging groceries at Kroger. I didn’t have a car and had to walk to work. My ultimate goal was to save enough money for my first car. The very car I later drove to my first insurance job in an underwriting department. It was a great feeling.

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

Growing up in a state-controlled environment of the former Soviet Union, risk management was not on my radar. I have always had a passion for health care as it touches and influences the lives of so many. I was pre-med when a friend told me about her major – risk management and insurance. It seemed fascinating.

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

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One of the things I appreciate the most about our industry is the depth of relationships. Trust and integrity are crucial. Risk managers form long-standing partnerships with insurers and other industry colleagues, enabling us to support each other and excel during challenging times.

At the core of everything risk managers do lays the desire to prevent injuries, enable new opportunities and protect our enterprise against volatility.

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

We could do a better job of attracting young talent. There is a stigma associated with the insurance industry — it’s perceived as boring, and that could not be further from the truth. I’ve been stretched and challenged every step of the way and feel that this is one of the more engaging professions.

I serve on the board of trustees for the Georgia State University Risk Management Foundation and one of our strategic initiatives focuses on educating college recruits on the breadth of opportunities afforded by our industry.

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, risk managers have made a huge move from being “insurance and claim guys” to becoming a trusted business adviser to the C-suite. We’ve embraced that we cannot eliminate or insure all risk. Risk-taking is an essential part of any business opportunity. But what we can do is partner with key stakeholders to better understand the risk and empower innovative solutions.

R&I What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

It’s the risks associated with new technological breakthroughs and legislative developments. Most recent examples in the health care industry are interconnectivity and value-based reimbursements. In the early stages of any initiative, much is undefined.

R&I Who is your mentor and why?

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I have been very lucky to meet many colleagues along the way that have opened doors, given me a chance and shared their expertise. Deanna Allen gave me my first opportunity in health care risk management, welcomed me with open arms, pushed me and really helped me grow in my early career.

Another individual who comes to mind is Allan Bogenschutz. He’s one of the best colleagues you could have, always willing to share his candid feedback. Allan has been a great sounding board and adviser to me over the years.

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

Having emigrated here at the age of 17 from Ukraine, successfully establishing a new life is a point of both pride and immense gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way.  I am appreciative of the freedom and opportunities this country affords to anyone who’s willing to work hard and apply themselves.

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

Riding on an ATV with my husband. It was all fun and games until he flipped us over. So, my zip-lining experience, in comparison, was very safe.

R&I What is your favorite book or movie?

“Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami.

R&I What is your favorite drink?

Absinth.

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

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Travel is my escape and it is hard to narrow down the wonders of the world to just one. I would say for architecture it’s the magic of Gaudi’s Barcelona. For nature, it’s the grandeur of the Alps.

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

The most fulfilling part is blazing new trails and developing innovative solutions to support my company’s growth. I am very grateful for the opportunity McKesson has afforded me in leading the risk management department in a new direction. I am lucky to have an incredibly talented global team.

We are very focused on quantification of risk in a way that is easy to communicate across the organization. McKesson’s leadership team values the role and contribution of the risk management function.

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

I talk about it so much, I am pretty sure they know exactly what I do! To my kids, I explained that it’s planning in advance and having a plan B. Last time we were at the beach in the fall, their shoes got soaking wet and we had a spare pair in the car. I think they got it.




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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Focus: Workers' Comp

Do You Have Employees or Gig Workers?

The number of gig economy workers is growing in the U.S. But their classification as contractors leaves many without workers’ comp, unemployment protection or other benefits.
By: and | July 30, 2018 • 5 min read

A growing number of Americans earn their living in the gig economy without employer-provided benefits and protections such as workers’ compensation.

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With the proliferation of on-demand services powered by digital platforms, questions surrounding who does and does not actually work in the gig economy continue to vex stakeholders. Courts and legislators are being asked to decide what constitutes an employee and what constitutes an independent contractor, or gig worker.

The issues are how the worker is paid and who controls the work process, said Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law with a client roster in the trucking industry.

The common law test, he said, the same one the IRS uses, considers “whose tools and whose materials are used. Whether the employer is telling the worker how to do the job on a minute-to-minute basis. Whether the worker is paid by the hour or by the job. Whether he’s free to work for someone else.”

Legal challenges have occurred, starting with lawsuits against transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. Several court cases in recent years have come down on the side of allowing such companies to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors.

Those decisions are significant for TNCs, because the gig model relies on the lower labor cost of independent contractors. Classification as an employee adds at least 30 percent to labor costs.

The issues lie with how a worker is paid and who controls the work process. — Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney

However, a March 2018 California Supreme Court ruling in a case involving delivery drivers for Dynamex went the other way. The Dynamex decision places heavy emphasis on whether the worker is performing a core function of the business.

Under the Dynamex court’s standard, an electrician called to fix a wiring problem at an Uber office would be considered a general contractor. But a driver providing rides to customers would be part of the company’s central mission and therefore an employee.

Despite the California ruling, a Philadelphia court a month later declined to follow suit, ruling that Uber’s limousine drivers are independent contractors, not employees. So a definitive answer remains elusive.

A Legislative Movement

Misclassification of workers as independent contractors introduces risks to both employers and workers, said Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust.

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered.”

Misclassifying workers opens a “Pandora’s box” for employers, said Richard R. Meneghello, partner, Fisher Phillips.

Issues include tax liabilities, claims for minimum wage and overtime violations, workers’ comp benefits, civil labor law rights and wrongful termination suits.

The motive for companies seeking the contractor definition is clear: They don’t have to pay for benefits, said Meneghello. “But from a legal perspective, it’s not so easy to turn the workforce into contractors.”

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered in the eyes of the state.” — Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

It’s about to get easier, however. In 2016, Handy — which is being sued in five states for misclassification of workers — drafted a N.Y. bill to establish a program where gig-economy companies would pay 2.5 percent of workers’ income into individual health savings accounts, yet would classify them as independent contractors.

Unions and worker advocacy groups argue the program would rob workers of rights and protections. So Handy moved on to eight other states where it would be more likely to win.

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So far, the Handy bills have passed one house of the legislature in Georgia and Colorado; passed both houses in Iowa and Tennessee; and been signed into law in Kentucky, Utah and Indiana. A similar bill was also introduced in Alabama.

The bills’ language says all workers who find jobs through a website or mobile app are independent contractors, as long as the company running the digital platform does not control schedules, prohibit them from working elsewhere and meets other criteria. Two bills exclude transportation network companies such as Uber.

These laws could have far-reaching consequences. Traditional service companies will struggle to compete with start-ups paying minimal labor costs.

Opponents warn that the Handy bills are so broad that a service company need only launch an app for customers to contract services, and they’d be free to re-classify their employees as independent contractors — leaving workers without social security, health insurance or the protections of unemployment insurance or workers’ comp.

That could destabilize social safety nets as well as shrink available workers’ comp premiums.

A New Classification

Independent contractors need to buy their own insurance, including workers’ compensation. But many don’t, said Hart Brown, executive vice president, COO, Firestorm. They may not realize that in the case of an accident, their personal car and health insurance won’t engage, Brown said.

Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

Workers’ compensation for gig workers can be hard to find. Some state-sponsored funds provide self-employed contractors’ coverage.  Policies can be expensive though in some high-risk occupations, such as roofing, said Bollinger.

The gig system, where a worker does several different jobs for several different companies, breaks down without portable benefits, said Brown. Portable benefits would follow workers from one workplace engagement to another.

What a portable benefits program would look like is unclear, he said, but some combination of employers, independent contractors and intermediaries (such as a digital platform business or staffing agency) would contribute to the program based on a percentage of each transaction.

There is movement toward portable benefits legislation. The Aspen Institute proposed portable benefits where companies contribute to workers’ benefits based on how much an employee works for them. Uber and SEI together proposed a portable benefits bill to the Washington State Legislature.

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Senator Mark Warner (D. VA) introduced the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act for the study of portable benefits, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D. WA) introduced a House companion bill.

Meneghello is skeptical of portable benefits as a long-term solution. “They’re a good first step,” he said, “but they paper over the problem. We need a new category of workers.”

A portable benefits model would open opportunities for the growing Insurtech market. Brad Smith, CEO, Intuit, estimates the gig economy to be about 34 percent of the workforce in 2018, growing to 43 percent by 2020.

The insurance industry reinvented itself from a risk transfer mechanism to a risk management mechanism, Brown said, and now it’s reinventing itself again as risk educator to a new hybrid market. &

Susannah Levine writes about health care, education and technology. She can be reached at [email protected] Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]