2018 Risk All Stars

The Complete List of 2018 Risk All Star Winners

Passion, creativity and persistence distinguish the winners of the 2018 Risk All Star award.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read

Crisis Preparedness at its Best

Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer

Elizabeth Queen led the development of a best-in-class incident management program that protects both employees and clients.

Protecting Those Who Care for Kids

Rebecca Cady, vice president, chief risk officer, Children’s National Medical Center

Rebecca Cady hard-wired communication into operations, allowing leaders to manage problems quickly and minimize litigation risk.

The ‘Lunch Pail’ Risk Manager

Jim Cunningham, vice president, risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment

Pinnacle’s Jim Cunningham earns the Risk All Star title for displaying a persistent, pragmatic approach to controlling losses.

Risk Taker Teaches Risk Management

Jack Hampton, professor of business, director of graduate business programs, St. Peter’s University

Jack Hampton’s passion for making a difference is why the risk management program at Saint Peter’s University is thriving.

Fostering Seamless Acquisition

Alumine Bellone, VP of risk management, Ardent Health Services

Alumine Bellone’s commitment to due diligence aided Ardent Health Services in a successful year of growth and acquisition.

Saving the Public Purse

Dianne Howard, director of Benefits and Risk Management, Palm Beach County School District

Creativity and drive helped Dianne Howard find ways to protect thousands of schoolchildren without breaking the bank.

Silo-Busting, Meeting by Meeting

James Curbeam, risk manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District

James Curbeam knew the only way to achieve true ERM was by making every department aware of how their risks intertwined.

Unifying Stakeholders to Drive Change

Rosa Royo, director, workers’ compensation, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Rosa Royo discovered the ideal balance between controlling costs and providing high-quality care for injured workers.

Weathering Harvey

Craig Melnick, senior manager, risk management, Goodyear

Goodyear’s Craig Melnick used consistent communication and foresight to help his company rebound quickly from a major storm.

Critical Cat Data at the Industry’s Fingertips

Ryan Bank, managing director, Geospatial Intelligence Center, National Insurance Crime Bureau

Ryan Bank leads a coalition that’s helping insurers and government agencies better understand severe weather risks.

How Farm Life Shaped a Tenacity for Risk Management

Kevin Farthing, environmental health and safety manager, Sparton Electronics

Growing up under the Kentucky sun trained Kevin Farthing for any risk and equipped him with a go-getter work ethic.

Restructuring the Way Out of Claims Chaos

Kathleen Peck, director of risk management, MVP Staffing

For a staffing company with claims out of control, Kathleen Peck tore the program down and built it back up to achieve success.

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]