Insurance Industry

Hawaii Calls

Here's an answer to recruitment and retention challenges: Hold your special events in the Hawaiian Islands.
By: | August 3, 2016 • 2 min read

The CPCU Society expects to see some 7,000 CPCU conferees in Honolulu at its September meeting, which acts as a graduation ceremony for new designees.

In addition to the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation, the Malvern, Pa.-based The Institutes also provides training and materials for designations such as the ARM (Associate in Risk Management) and the AU (Associate in Commercial Underwriting).

According to Brian Savko, president of the CPCU Society — a community of CPCU-credentialed insurance professionals — that’s an enormous jump from the 750 or so designees who attended last year’s celebration in Indianapolis.


That’s no knock on Indianapolis, which has its own charms. But Hawaii is, after all, Hawaii.

An added incentive for those professionals who complete the eight courses comprising the designation — including a course on ethics — is that most of their companies not only pay for them to take the course, but will also fly them along with a spouse or friend to Honolulu.

As a result, the number of CPCU students that choose to complete their course study in time for the Hawaii event “just flood in,” said Savko.

The Institutes moves the event around from year to year. Future sites include San Diego and Orlando, both warm weather locations that can be fun to visit.

Hawaii Gets the Most Attendees

Hawaii, though, is the location every seven or eight years that gets the most attendees, hands down.

 Brian Savko, president, CPCU Society

Brian Savko, president, CPCU Society

Savko, a State Farm executive, said if you are considering getting the designation, you might want to get it done in time to take full advantage the next time the event is in Hawaii.

When they are not considering how big the waves might get on the beach at Waikiki, underwriters, claims professionals and others pursuing the CPCU designation have a host of real-world issues to consider that will be impacting the insurance industry.

Chief among them, according to a recent survey by The Institutes, are the challenges presented in cyber security.

The other top challenges that Institutes members believe will have an impact are the sharing economy, in particular ride-sharing; predictive analytics; terror threats; and the rising use of drones.

As for threats facing their own companies, recruiting and retaining talent, with a response rate of 39.8 percent of those surveyed, was far and away the biggest in-company worry.

According to the CPCU Society’s Savko, that’s one more reason to celebrate the fact that more than 7,000 CPCUs will be honored in Hawaii.

“Certainly it’s well needed now due to all of the departures we are seeing in the industry,” 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.


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]