2017 Power Broker

Ahead of the Curve

If a given industry sector is facing challenges, you can bet a 2017 Power Broker® is already well on their way to a solution.
By: | February 20, 2017 • 4 min read

Looking for the Power Broker Winners? Click Here.

Talk to a health care risk manager from the Midwest and they will tell you we face a crisis in mental health. In many areas of the country, access to quality psychological counseling is severely limited, with some patients needing to travel hundreds of miles to get help.

Telemedicine — a practitioner videoconferencing with a patient — is a viable solution, but regulation of telemedicine service providers is done on a state by state basis, making the arrangement of malpractice insurance very complicated.

Enter Larry Hansard, a Dallas-based regional managing director with Arthur J. Gallagher and a 2017 Power Broker® in the health care category.

Hansard developed a comprehensive telemedicine medical professional liability program that allows practitioners to provide telemedicine services not only anywhere in the United States but anywhere in the world.

Hansard not only saved the day for thousands of individuals in need of help, he saved the day for Doctor on Demand, a telemedicine startup that was struggling to obtain affordable insurance coverage.

“I don’t worry about insurance, he really owns the insurance process,” said Matt Scalo, head of finance at Doctor on Demand.

Everywhere we turned in judging the 2017 edition of Power Broker®, in this 12th consecutive installment of the program, we found insurance brokers like Hansard whose creativity, industry knowledge and customer service made a difference not only for their clients but for the economy at large.

“My approach to client service would best be described as creative customer concentration,” Hansard wrote in his 2017 Power Broker® application.

Aon’s Paul Finnett, a 2017 Power Broker® in the traditional energy category, services an oil and gas industry that is facing a severe downturn.

One of his offshore drilling clients was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy when idled rigs left it with a heavy debt load and sharply reduced revenues.

Finnett was able to create competition between U.S. and international insurance markets to get the bankrupt drilling company coverage as it scrambled to regain its financial footing. He got the company an additional $100 million in third-party liability coverage and achieved year-over-year premium savings of 40 percent.

“Truly understanding a client’s needs builds trust and respect,” Finnett wrote in his 2017 Power Broker® application.

“Once you have that trust and confidence from your client, you end up having a mutually beneficial long-term relationship and become a valued extension to their team,” wrote Finnett.

Yet another crisis produced yet another 2017 Power Broker®.  A budget crisis in the State of Illinois led to drastic cuts in education funding.

Arthur J. Gallagher’s Rockford, Ill.-based Area Senior Vice President Laurie Miller jumped into the fray and set up a health care insurance purchasing pool for financially struggling rural Illinois schools. What is now known as the Illinois Scholastic Cooperative launched in September 2016. The cooperative started with seven districts as members and now covers more than 1,000 employees.

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Other cash-strapped schools in Illinois are taking note of the savings gained by ISC members. Those amount to 5 percent overall in health care coverage premium costs. One rural district was able to avoid an 18 percent premium increase by joining the pool.

“We treat our clients like extended members of our family and we are relentless in pursuing claims resolution for people who often have no one to fight for them,” Miller wrote in her 2017 Power Broker® application.

Yet another 2017 Power Broker® stepped in to provide an insurance and risk mitigation solution to an industry badly in need of one.

Take the threat of a cyber attack and the risk that such an attack could derail a train and you have the makings of a catastrophic loss.

Tricia Piccinini, a Baltimore-based vice president of property brokerage with Aon, worked with markets in London, Bermuda and the U.S. to include coverage for collision and derailment in the case of a cyber event.

“I do not beat around the bush when it comes to my clients,” Piccinini said.

“I am always available to take a call, whether it is in the middle of the evening or vacation,” she wrote in her 2017 Power Broker® application.

Devoted customer service, dedication to learning as much as you can about the industry you serve, and driven creativity in finding solutions. Those are the hallmarks of a Power Broker® as expressed so clearly by Aon’s Tricia Piccinini.

Congratulations to her and to all of the 2017 Power Brokers. Click here to begin reading profiles of all of this year’s winners.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He 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.

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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]