8 People on the Move

Corvel appoints new CEO; Liberty Mutual brings on innovation leader; Risk Strategies adds new wholesale lead; and more.
By: | January 24, 2019 • 5 min read

CorVel’s Board Taps Michael Combs as CEO

CorVel announced that its board of directors has promoted the company’s president, Michael Combs, to also serve as its chief executive officer. Combs was previously promoted to president in April 2017 and served as chief information officer from April 2015 to April 2017.

Michael Combs, CEO, CorVel

Combs has been with the company for more than 27 years, joining the CorVel as a software engineer in October 1991. His prior positions include vice president of bill review development and deputy chief information officer.

“Deploying technology to deliver uniquely effective services for employers and payors has always been the cornerstone of CorVel’s strategy. Leveraging Michael’s extensive background in information technology will allow the company to continue to enhance our use of new information processing sciences. As president, Michael has been intensifying our focus on customer needs and has been committed to extensive interactions with CorVel clients,” said Gordon Clemons, CorVel’s chairman.

Premal Gohil Takes New Role at Liberty Mutual

Premal Gohil is taking on a new role in Innovation Partnerships with Liberty Mutual.

He is to head up and lead innovation partnerships across Liberty Mutual’s $16 billion Global Risk Solutions business. Specifically, this involves establishing, leading and executing the innovation partnership strategy for Liberty Mutual’s Global Risk Solutions (GRS) business across key ecosystem players. Also, he will be:

  • developing relationships and collaborating across all global GRS business units and functions to be their eyes and ears while connecting across the ecosystem;
  • accelerating innovation through either partnering, investing, building or buying Insurtech startups to co-create cutting-edge insurance risk solutions for clients, policyholders and brokers;
  • and working in conjunction with GRS and Liberty Mutual stakeholders to further develop a corporate venture capital approach to investing in Insurtech startups and related businesses.

Gohil is based in London.

Matt Power Joins Risk Strategies

Risk Strategies, a privately held national insurance brokerage and risk management firm, announced it selected Matthew Power to lead its national wholesale and alternative distribution operations. He comes to Risk Strategies from Lexington Insurance Company, where he was national branch president and head of wholesale broker engagement.

Matthew Power, national wholesale and distribution operations lead, Risk Strategies

Based in Boston, Power will also oversee the development of new programs as the firm seeks to build out its portfolio of specialty wholesale businesses and offerings. Along with acquisitions specifically targeting wholesale operations, Risk Strategies has acquired a number of firms that have brought them wholesale capabilities.

“Having first-tier expertise in wholesale and alternative distribution is important to our overall capabilities, especially as we continue to invest in this space,” said Risk Strategies’ president, John Mina. “Matt is exactly the right person to bring focus to this side of our business and build on the great foundation we have in place.”

Previously head of strategic development and chief innovation and strategic relationship officer at AIG, Power also held the role of president of Risk Specialists Companies, a national network of wholly-owned brokerage subsidiaries of AIG. His career in insurance spans more than 25 years and includes stints with Home Insurance Company and Kemper Insurance Company.

“I’m excited to join such a dynamic organization with a clear vision of the value that true specialty expertise brings to all aspects of the market,” said Power. “I look forward to utilizing my years of experience in structuring wholesale and alternative distribution programs to build out the firm’s capabilities.”

Paul Ferraro Now With CSL Behring

Veteran risk manager Paul Ferraro has taken a new position as director, insurance and claims with CSL Behring.


Before the move to CSL Behring, Ferraro worked as a risk manager with Arkema for four years.

Previous to his stint with Arkema, Ferraro was in risk management with Saint-Gobain Corp. for 11 years.

Worldwide Facilities Marine Takes on Kelly Martinez

Worldwide Facilities Marine, a division of Worldwide Facilities, recently announced the hiring of Kelly Martinez as a broker to their national wholesale team.

Martinez has more than 30 years experience of marine underwriting and brokering insurance. He is joining Worldwide after serving as senior vice president at Aspen U.S. Marine Hull & Machinery and Marine Liabilities. Of note, Martinez developed comprehensive solutions for ship builders/repairs, recreational marine facilities and heavy commercial waterfront operators while SVP.

Worldwide Facilities Marine specializes in commercial marine insurance, with offices in Los Angeles, Calif. and Houston, TX. Martinez joins the L.A. team.

Brightway Insurance Announces Several Director and Executive Promotions

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Brightway Insurance has announced the hiring of Max Staplin as its in-house counsel. In this role, Staplin is tasked with overseeing all legal and compliance matters for the company.

Additionally, Brightway promoted Chinikqua Maddox to the role of vice president of strategic initiatives, and Scott Pollard to the role of director of agency development.

Maddox, who joined the company a year ago as its strategic initiatives leader, will lead in directing key initiative that are posed to advance Brightway’s long-term growth plans and profitability. Previously, she was leading development of the company’s information technology, systems administration and business analytics teams. Pollard will be focused on building and executing sales best practices. His main focus will be on franchisee profitability.


“While Max is new to Jacksonville, he is incredibly well-versed in our company. As an Associate at the law firm that provides our legal counsel for all franchise-related matters, Max was our go-to attorney for six years,” said Brightway Co-Founder and CEO, Michael Miller. “We’re thrilled he has made the decision to move to Jacksonville and join Brightway as our full-time attorney.”

As a national property/casualty insurance distribution company, Brightway has placed its focus on providing a platform to help business people become insurance entrepreneurs. In turn, they are working to build their local brand and serve people in their communities by offering a choice in insurance companies coupled with local, in-person expert counsel. &

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

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]