2015 Risk All Star: Timothy Fischer

With Military Precision

Six years in the Navy taught Timothy Fischer many lessons. A mission isn’t over until it’s accomplished. Work hard in the face of extremely tight deadlines. Empower subordinates to take action.

Tim Fischer, Chief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Tim Fischer, Chief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Fischer relied on all of those principles when faced with the daunting task of helping Babcock & Wilcox spin off its power generation company (renamed Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc.) from its nuclear and government operations company, which became BWX Technologies Inc. With just nine months before a $3 billion company became two publicly traded entities, Fischer — B&W’s director of insurance at the time — had to act fast.

“We were essentially splitting the baby in half,” said Fischer, named a 2015 Risk All Star for his efforts.

“Half of the business was very commercial — non-government work involving coal and waste-to-energy. The other half was more government and nuclear oriented — making reactor components and fuel for the U.S. Navy.”

Fischer helped the company separate its entire insurance portfolio — not an easy task considering the vastly different risk portfolios of each business unit. On one side, there’s the risk of a nuclear peril. On the other, protection was needed for catastrophic events at client locations.

“It was really almost starting from scratch as far as developing the insurance programs on each side,” said Fischer, who joined the company in August 2013 after six years at Marsh.

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To make things even more complicated, the businesses shared a workers’ comp policy, risk management information systems, billing technology and a captive.

“If one company were to go under or bankrupt, you don’t want the carrier coming after the other company trying to recoup that cost,” said Fischer.

Given just nine months to complete the process, Fischer and his team did the hard work of determining which liabilities existed for each business unit, then utilized loss-modeling analysis to select appropriate D&O and excess liability limits, and casualty coverage — giving each company “a clean start.”

They also domiciled two new captives and secured new workers’ comp coverage after going through a long list of historic claims and identifying which business units they belonged to.

Fischer also saw the spin-off as an opportunity to get out of the company’s excess liability claims-made policy and into an occurrence policy. To make sure the company didn’t get hurt by any tail liability emerging from a claim during the transition period, Fischer secured “nose coverage” — which pulls into the first year’s occurrence policy all of the pre-spin-off incurred-but-not-reported claims.

He managed to pull that off with no premium increase, even though the company had seen a fairly steep price tag associated with such changes in the past.

“The overall success of the spin was absolutely phenomenal,” said Fischer.

He said that the overall cost of the spin-off program, when looking at the total insurance spend, “was only 10 percent to 15 percent higher. We thought the bill would be a lot higher with us losing our economy of scale and synergy.”

But it didn’t come without serious effort, as Fischer and his team frequently found themselves working through holidays and vacations.

“For nine months, our office was a 24/7 shop,” he said.

“You could almost go into the office any day, at any hour and find somebody working on this. I used to joke with my team that we were going to do everything you can do in risk management in nine months.”

In reflecting on the process, Fischer said his military experience was a vital backstop.

“What’s most important is mission accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how long it takes,” said Fischer.

Responsibility Leader

Tim is also being recognized as a 2015 Responsibility Leader®.

The Entrepreneurial Gene

Tim Fischer and his risk management colleagues were given nine months to put all the pieces together to enable the spin-off of the power generation company Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises from the nuclear and governmental operations of BWX Technologies.

Plenty of work to do there. But Fischer was thinking much further down the road and even more expansively. Who was going to serve as the risk manager for the spun-off company?

Fischer had his eye on a candidate, Rachel Rozelle. He’d been bringing her along, mentoring her, and when the higher-ups were trying to decide who should manage the insurance program for the new company, Fischer thought it was time to make his voice heard in that regard.

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He put his own reputation on the line and told the C-suites to look at Rozelle as a candidate.

“It took some pressure from my side to get the organization to recognize that they had a great internal candidate,” Fischer recalled.

That’s what we call the “entrepreneurial gene” — caring enough about the company and its outcomes to consider avenues that arguably could be well outside your job description. Going above and beyond, in other words.

We know Tim Fischer from the multiple times he won a Power Broker® designation when he worked at Marsh. We’re delighted to name him a Risk All Star and a Responsibility Leader®.

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R9-15-15p26_Intro_Allstar4-2.inddRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2015 Risk All Stars.

 

Responsibility Leader 2015Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

Read more about the 2015 Responsibility Leaders.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.

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That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.

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Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

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