Compassion Emerges as a Major Theme at National Comp’s 2021 Teddy Award Panel

The ever-popular panel of Teddy winners at the National Comp conference delved into how compassion guided the award winners through success during COVID-19 and beyond.
By: | October 21, 2021

If there’s one thing that united this year’s winners of the Teddy Award for workers’ compensation excellence, it was their compassion.

“I always start with our employee,” said Kevin Adams, global safety and environment, workers’ compensation manager, General Mills. “I always put myself in their shoes when I’m looking at everything that we do.”

As Adams and his fellow winners — Kyle Raucy, manager of workers’ compensation and claims for JetBlue Airways Corporation and Barry Scott, risk manager/deputy director of finance for the City of Philadelphia — shared their secrets to success at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference (National Comp), it was clear that every decision they make was driven by a desire to care for their injured workers.

“The first part is focusing on the employees,” Scott said.

The three men spoke on Thursday, October 21 during the general session “Steal These Ideas! Teddy Award-Winning Employers Showcase Their Successful Strategies.” The session was moderated by Michael MacAulay, senior vice president sales, PMA Management Corp. and Tamika Puckett, head of cyber risk management, Zoom.

The Session at a Glance

During the session, MacAulay and Puckett took turns asking panelists questions about their award wining programs.

MacAulay kicked off the session, asking the City of Philadelphia about its physical therapy program — which has achieved $2.5 million in savings so far — its multi-department return-to-work program and its approach to crisis management.

“Everyone has an agenda, but our agenda, the common one we share as humans, is to be alive, to be successful, to be healthy, to be safe,” Scott said. “Whatever we can do in order to build that trust to communicate with each other, that’s vital.”

The session then turned to JetBlue. Puckett questioned Raucy on the how the program has used automation and technology to make the workers’ comp process feel seamless for injured workers.

“We have an automated email that goes out … with  a more detailed outline of our process,” Raucy said.  “The key here is to keep all of the central picture [in one place].”

Finally, the panel turned to Adams, who shared how he remade General Mills’ workers’ comp process with a shift away from preventing OSHA recordable injuries to a system where injured worker advocacy and experience are the top priority.

The fourth Teddy winner, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, was unable to attend the conference, but the panel took time to honor the hospital system by reading facts about why the judges selected the program.

Ideas to Steal in the Fight Against COVID-19

Of course, the panelists had much to share about their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID changed everything so quickly,” Raucy said. “Adaptability is is really critical.”

“[Don’t be] afraid to push the envelope … Just because we’ve been doing something for last 100 years in workers’ comp doesn’t mean it should be that way going forward,” he continued.

The ability to think on their feet benefited all of this year’s Teddy winners during the pandemic. Adams shared how early on how General Mills paid its older and more vulnerable workers to stay home while the company figured out what increased safety protocols they needed to implement.

Scott, on the other hand, shared how the city worked to build trust with its workers, a critical step in the process of getting them to follow all of the new pandemic related guidelines.

“We really want to make sure that people are safe,” Scott said. “I’ve got to build trust that I am doing something for somebody else, that I’m not just in this world for myself.”

Courtney DuChene is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

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