2017 Risk All Stars

The 2017 Risk All Stars

Creativity, perseverance and passion distinguish the winners of the 2017 Risk All Star award.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 2 min read

Sharp Instincts

Gillian Cummings-Beck: Director, Insurance & Risk Management, Chico’s FAS Inc.

Chico’s risk manager wasn’t afraid to change important relationships.


Captives, Writ Larger

Courtney Claflin: Executive Director, captive programs, University of California

The University of California’s Courtney Claflin is putting on a clinic in captive management.


Seeking Clarity

Faith Cring: Director, Engineering, Environmental, Safety and Insurance, Growmark Inc.

Faith Cring makes sure she educates underwriters about her agricultural cooperative’s risks. She also insists on complete transparency.


The Right Connections

Michelle Bennett: Director of Risk Management, Cable One

Cable One’s Michelle Bennett is very good at forming relationships, both inside and outside of her company.


The Right Formula for Claims Closure

Kevin Moss: Director, Casualty Insurance and Risk, Michelin North America Inc.

With diligent prep work and high emotional intelligence, Kevin Moss cut Michelin’s outstanding reserves nearly in half.


Seeing Opportunity in Expansion

Steve Richards: Director Claims & Litigation, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Steve Richards masterfully recalibrated Coca-Cola’s workers’ comp program when the company rapidly added 25 locations and thousands of new employees.


Risk Management in Memory Care

Frank Russo: Senior Vice President, risk and legal affairs, Silverado Senior Living

Frank Russo integrated risk management throughout his company, building a strong and collaborative risk culture.


The Ergonomic Evaluator

Joseph Mazza: Director of Risk Management and ADA Coordinator, MiraCosta College

Joseph J. Mazza has cut repetitive motion workers’ comp claims in half by training in ergonomics.


A Friend of the Business

Simon Argent: Senior Vice President, Head of Credit Risk Management, XL Catlin

XL Catlin’s Simon Argent leads a team that is giving insurance business leaders much better insight into their credit and country risks.


Persistence Pays Off

Wallace Jones: Director, Global Benefits & Insurance, Ashley Furniture Industries

Wallace Jones achieved double-digit premium reductions for Ashley Furniture by educating senior leaders and implementing changes over a four-year period.


Standing Up and Standing Out

Dan Holden: Manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance, Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America’s Dan Holden advocated for a disaster recovery system that is now being implemented internationally.


Unbridled Passion

Zach Finn: Director, Davey Risk Management and Insurance program, Butler University

Butler University’s Zach Finn is tackling the risk management talent shortage head-on.


Building on the Power of Appreciation

Tim Liberty: Senior Claims Consultant, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Leveraging the adage “You catch more flies with honey,” Tim Liberty is giving his growing company a distinct competitive advantage.

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

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.


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.


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]