Risk Insider: Jerry Poole

Backing Out of TRIA Harms Us All

By: | December 10, 2014 • 2 min read
Jerry Poole is president and CEO of Acrometis, a PA based company offering claims processing platforms designed specifically for workers’ comp. With more than 20 years in the workers’ comp industry, Jerry is responsible for managing internal operations at the company. He can be reached at [email protected]

Insuring risk is a societal and economic necessity.  The goal of insurance is to spread risk across a large enough pool of people or businesses with similar risk profiles as to make the costs and variability manageable.

No one entity can reserve for or pay for catastrophic events such as the loss of a home or business. So we all pay yearly in the form of premiums that go into a pool to protect those struck by catastrophe.

Risk is measured in two major categories 1) the probability of an event and 2) the impact if an event happens.

The nature of terrorism is that single actors or small groups can greatly impact both categories, i.e. Timothy McVeigh and a truck load of fertilizer. There are many of us and many ways other humans can harm life and property.

If the government won’t protect us from terrorism and it won’t help insure the results of terrorism, then we have an unprotected economy.

Terrorism is also something that tends to hurt people who aren’t traditionally in high risk jobs, but just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you think back to 9/11 in New York City, or the Oklahoma City bombing, those both took the lives of many people in otherwise low-risk professional classifications.

It is impossible to predict where in our country the next strike may occur, therefore we need to spread the risk pool to as large a group as possible; which means all of the tax base of the country, which is our government. That is what we do with flood insurance, that is why we need to do it with terrorism insurance.

If the government won’t protect us from terrorism and it won’t help insure the results of terrorism, then we have an unprotected economy.  The risk of a terror event is too big for private insurers to cover and would be too expensive for business to afford the premiums.

Without TRIA and without protection from terrorism we will have a dysfunctional economy.  It is the duty of the government to provide an environment where our economy can flourish.  Until we have responsible government we can expect an impeded economic outcome.

The Federal Government has a responsibility to provide something like TRIA. These terroristic acts aren’t aimed at any one person, company or even a city.

Terrorists are using these heinous, violent acts to attack our nation and our government. Our government was created with the security of our nation as its primary responsibility. TRIA needs to be reinstated so that our government can live up to that responsibility.

Read all of Jerry Poole’s Risk Insider contributions.

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.

Advertisement




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.

Advertisement




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]