2018 Risk All Star: Elizabeth Queen

With 19,000 People in 40 Countries, This Risk Manager Made Crisis Preparedness Her Mission

Elizabeth Queen led the development of a best-in-class incident management program that protects both employees and clients, earning her a 2018 Risk All Star award.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read

How do you make sure that 19,000 people in 40 different countries are ready to react effectively to a catastrophic event?

This is the task in front of Elizabeth Queen, the vice president of risk management at Wolters Kluwer, the software services group.  Queen does more than face the challenge; she embraces it.

Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer

The successful roll-out of the Dutch multinational’s Incident Management Capabilities program has earned this vice president of risk management a Risk All Star award in 2018.

Queen travels around the world to set up quick-reaction teams at each location, to explain standard procedures to be followed during a crisis and to define the roles to be played by assigned staff members if an event takes place.

A global mass communications tool has been set up to enable employees at local offices to immediately contact divisional managers and the corporate headquarters in times of emergency, and the whole structure is overseen by a military-style incident command system.

“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone,” said Queen, a lawyer by background, who led the enterprise risk management function at an insurance company before she signed on with Wolters Kluwer.

As the incident management structure is implemented, strong emphasis is put on training to ensure that everyone is on their toes when necessity arises.

A section on incident management has been added to the mandatory annual compliance training, and war-room simulations of terrorist incidents, cyber attacks, data breaches and other events are organized to show how mutual trust is essential for effective reaction.


“We put people in a pressure cooker situation and make it as realistic as possible,” Queen said.

“There has been a huge demand for training in our company.

“Everyone who has taken the training comes out feeling stronger and wanting more.”

The introduction of the incident management system is in the second year of a three-year plan, but it has already been put to test.

It was triggered, for example, during the hurricane season in 2017, when several employees in the U.S. had to be evacuated from their homes and temporarily relocated to other areas.

“Our incident management capability really helped us to act quickly for them,” she said.

“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone.” — Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer

“The feedback was positive, and we received thank-you notes for reaching out to people who lived in affected areas just to ask them if they were OK.”

Which brings us to one of the greatest benefits of investing in such a program: People acknowledge when companies show real care for them.

Queen and her team understand that what they’re achieving is just good business, and it demonstrates to clients that they can count on the firm to be on their side no matter what happens.

“Side-by-side with our customers, our work at Wolters Kluwer helps protect people’s health, prosperity, safety and legal rights,” Queen said.

“Our incident management program empowers us to deliver deep impact when it matters most.” &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Rodrigo Amaral is a freelance writer specializing in Latin American and European risk management and insurance markets. 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.


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]