Musical Mission

Brokers That Rock

Three Bay Area insurance brokerage executives raise money for nonprofits and explore their creative sides in a rock and roll band.
By: | May 13, 2016 • 4 min read
Topics: Brokerage

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were the musical artists that first entranced ABD’s CFO Mike McCloskey when he was a youngster growing up in Ireland.

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His colleague Steve Moore, an account executive, was lured by the electrified guitars of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Later on he got to know and love the progressive rock of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd.

EPIC senior vice president Dave Hock, like many of us, first revered the Beatles.

Mike McCloskey, CFO, ABD Insurance and Financial Services

Mike McCloskey, CFO,
ABD Insurance and Financial Services

But then it was the languid country rock of the Eagles and Jackson Browne and the keening vocals of the Canadian thunderbird Neil Young that awed him.

As teenagers, all three sought out chord books and battered acoustic guitars with which to explore their newfound passion.

Now all three insurance brokerage professionals make up Men Behaving Loudly, a classic rock cover band that plays benefit shows throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

The three execs met at San Mateo, Calif.-based ABD Insurance and Financial Services back in the late ’90s. Moore, who has been in bands since the seventh grade, recalls watching Hock and McCloskey play a show for the company Christmas party.

“I was watching them play and thinking I would love to be up there with them at that Christmas party next year,” said Moore.

“So I got together to practice with them for the next year and never left,” he said.

It’s been more than 15 years now that Men Behaving Loudly have done what their name implies. They rock out at everything from fundraisers for Alzheimer’s and the American Heart Association to events for cash-strapped preschools.

Left to right: Mike McCloskey and Steve Moore of ABD; and Dave Hock of EPIC

Left to right: Mike McCloskey and Steve Moore of ABD; and Dave Hock of EPIC

They charge nothing, but their return is sizable.

Each of the brokerage executives talks about the importance of being able to do their part, however small, in helping along a nonprofit that in some cases seeks to wipe out a dreaded disease.

“We all know somebody that has MS, or somebody that had pancreatic cancer — a quick killer — I think we all have been touched by that,” McCloskey said.

Dave Hock, senior vice president, EPIC

Dave Hock, senior vice president, EPIC

For the past 12 years, Men Behaving Loudly played the San Jose installment of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. The organization has raised $225 million at such walks across the country since its origin in 1989.

“Terrific organization; great event,” EPIC’s Hock said.

“Most of us have friends or family members who have been touched by this disease in one way or another, and I am no exception. This definitely adds some poignancy and additional meaning to it,” Hock said.

“It’s such a great feeling to give back and do what we can for these great organizations. And of course it’s a lot of fun for us,” said Moore.

A typical Men Behaving Loudly set might be bookended with the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Jumping Jack Flash.”

In between you could find yourself grooving to Steve Miller’s “Jet Airliner,” released in 1977, or the Byrds’ classic “Mr. Spaceman,” which hails from 1967.

VIDEO: Men Behaving Loudly, performing at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in San Jose, Calif.

All three men love power chords. But to a man, they also love their jobs with insurance brokerages.

“Quite frankly I could spend 12 hours a day at it,” said McCloskey of his position with ABD Insurance and Financial Services.

“But the music helps me balance things out and I think I’m the better for it,” he said.

Steve Moore Account Executive ABD Insurance and Financial Services

Steve Moore, account executive, ABD Insurance and Financial Services

“It’s a challenging job and never gets boring,” Moore said of his work, which now focuses on the tech sector.

“But it can certainly be stressful at times and playing music is such a great release,” he said.

For Hock, having fun as a musician is a good reminder of how to go about your work life.

“It is very important to remember that what you do professionally needs to be fun as well,” Hock said.

“You have to enjoy your work.”

Lugging amps at four and five in the morning is not easy for men in middle age, but these men do it.

They don’t golf or while away the time in other ways. Music is their thing. And the joy they seem to get from it appears to be endless.

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“We can sit in Dave’s garage, eating pizza and having a Guinness and playing the same song that we’ve played hundreds, thousands of times before and still get incredible enjoyment out of it,” McCloskey said.

And playing in front of people?

“There is a little bit of ego gratification in it,” Hock said.

“And a little fantasy. Maybe an aggregation of both.”

“We get to pretend for a time that we are rock and rollers and we get positive reinforcement, which helps,” he said.

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]