2017 Power Broker

Nonprofit

Keeping Schools’ Missions at the Forefront

Brandon Cole, CPCU, CRM, CIC, ARM-P, RPLU, CISR, AINS
Area Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher, Irvine, Calif.

School clients count on Brandon Cole to provide them the risk management education they need to perform their missions.

Oakland, Calif.-based Thrival World Academies, a new nonprofit, was designing a program to provide publicly subsidized education abroad to racially and socio-economically diverse students. “Since we were in our design phase, many aspects of our program shifted during this period, and Brandon supported us through all of these shifts,” said Executive Director Emma W. Hiza.

“He helped us to understand our insurance needs, to get quotes and ultimately bind all of the liability — domestic and foreign,” she said.  Cole also “has participated in meetings with the school district where we are working to help us discuss shared risk and negotiate with their insurance officials,” Hiza said.

“Without the insurance coverages that Brandon supported us in obtaining, we would not have been able to launch this fall.” she said. “His consistently quick response time has been critical to our success.”

Advertisement




At the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y.,  Cole not only  provided guidance on travel insurance options when students studied abroad but also ensured that the institution managed the risk of taking students outside the country, said Hillary Prince, director of finance. “We’ve since had three international trips, and everyone came home safely, so that’s priceless,” she said.

Streamlining Coverage on a Budget

Jason Helfert
Vice President
The Horton Group, Orland Park, Ill.

Nonprofit organizations count on Jason Helfert for much more than placing insurance.

CSF Illinois, an agency that supports children and adults with disabilities, tapped Helfert for help completing a merger with another organization.

“As one would suspect, the merger process is complicated, especially in our industry,” said Chief Executive Officer Mary Pat Ambrosino. “We must deal with private business factors, state issues and family issues, sometimes concurrently. While our organization went through a complicated, lengthy process, Jason Helfert helped us navigate every insurance issue that needed to be addressed with ease.

“Knowing that our organization did not have to worry about a lapse in coverage put our minds at ease, smoothing the transition period,” Ambrosino said, “Further, our costs remained relatively the same, and Jason had no monetary incentive for consolidating two existing coverages into one.”

Another nonprofit faced climbing workers’ compensation claims and costs. Helfert aided the agency in establishing a board that meets regularly to review accidents and recommend changes in policies and procedures to prevent future accidents. The board consists of agency staff and experts from Horton and the agency’s insurer.

“In the last fiscal year, our costs were almost 20 percent lower than the previous year, when we did not have the review board,” an agency official said.

Finding an Insurance Structure That Works

Ken Porter, ARM
Principal
Porter & Curtis, Media, Pa.

Ken Porter’s church clients depend on his sophisticated approach to their insurance needs.

An independent consultant noted that a mutual client was not confident in the claims information a third-party administrator provided, largely because the client had a “less-than-centralized approach” in managing its various entities, including schools, churches and charities.

Porter worked with the client’s legal team to jettison the disjointed insurance arrangement and beef up its general insurance and misconduct insurance trust. “He arranged for excess insurance of varying amounts, depending on the exposures presented, and utilized an independent casualty actuary to set up appropriate funding for losses and expenses of the trust,” the consultant said.

“The trust structure should also help to keep the client’s other assets from being subject to attachment in the event of lawsuits. There should be savings in the future due to reinsurers potentially becoming involved because of the more formal trust structure.”

The client’s risk manager noted that the trust arrangement means the client no longer needs to purchase costly misconduct coverage and can direct the savings of several hundred thousand dollars to the trust. “We have been able to now conduct actuarial studies on the program as well as to have clearly defined financial accountings of each trust account” that is distinguishable from the general operations, the risk manager said.

Focusing on Cost Control

Bill Powell, ARM
Area Executive Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher, Itasca, Ill.

Nonprofits count on Bill Powell to help rein in overhead costs.

A large social services agency with a stratospheric 140 percent workers’ compensation loss ratio faced skyrocketing insurance premiums. Powell took over the account and first ensured that the agency’s claims were reserved and handled properly. Then he initiated loss-projection studies and an experience modifier analysis.

Facing a nonrenewal from the incumbent carrier, Powell marketed the program to more than a dozen insurers, investigating first-dollar as well as self-insured options.

After the agency selected United Heartland as the insurer, Powell worked with the carrier to provide the agency enhanced loss control assistance. That included monthly safety meetings and disseminating regular safety and loss control flyers to employees. In 2016, when it faced budget problems because of its state’s own budget woes, the agency’s loss ratio plummeted to 25 percent, resulting in a 25 percent premium reduction.

“We were getting priced out of the traditional insurance market and were facing the possibility of being forced into a risk pool,” an agency official said. “Once we were able to partner with United Heartland, the impact to our risk management program and claims was almost immediate.”

Another client, a Midwestern university, realized a 2 percent reduction in overall premiums. That “was testament to Bill’s [marketing] strategy,” one school official said.

No Project Too Big or Deadline Too Tight

Chris Schwyter
Senior Vice President
Willis Towers Watson, Radnor, Pa.

Chris Schwyter handles issues large and small for clients.

As Villanova University began a $300 million expansion project, it faced risks related to its proximity to the community and a major roadway. Risk management also inherited professional liabilities for design architects and engineering work and other risks stipulated in the contract of the appointed general contractor. Plus, the local township also had collateral requirements for site improvements, said Director of Insurance and Risk Management Ashlie Docktor.

Schwyter’s team “secured protection for Villanova with project-specific coverage for professional liability and environmental liability,” Docktor said. He also assisted in negotiations with the contractor to set worksite safety protocols and transfer some risks back to the contractor or subcontractors. In addition, he placed site-improvement bonds to meet the township’s requirements, Docktor said.

“We increased our protection for the construction project for professional and environmental liabilities and saved considerable money in the switch from letter-of-credit collateral to the surety bond,” Docktor said, “More importantly, the solutions allowed Villanova to proceed on schedule without delay.”

Schwyter helped another university client update its enterprise risk management program by providing resources that helped risk management engage senior management, the client said.

Proactively Tackling Liability Risk

Derek Symer, CPCU
Principal
AHT Insurance, Leesburg, Va.

When a federal jury determined The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut must pay a $41.5 million damage award to a former student who contracted a debilitating tick-borne disease on a school trip to China,  the ruling caught the attention of The Alexandria Country Day School five states away in Alexandria, Va.

Alexandria’s business manager, Robert Powers, was concerned that the case might mean his private day school’s own liability coverage was insufficient. Powers immediately contacted his broker Derek Symer for a solution.

Symer negotiated a “sufficient coverage increase that did not substantially impact [the school’s] budget,” Powers said.  For the next fiscal year, Symer found “more robust coverage — at a cost reduction,” he said, providing much needed relief to a stressed budget.

Advertisement




With all of their school clients, Symer and his team at AHT Insurance have made a priority of discussing duty of care — both in terms of buying insurance and running workshops on how to mitigate the risk.

Another client, the Maret School in Washington, D.C., wanted to help parents with student-busing assistance without shouldering additional liability.

“Derek’s guidance was quite helpful,” said Darwin Walker, Maret’s assistant head of finance and operations. “Derek’s solid advice enabled the parents and the school to find a workable solution” that relieved the parents of a huge logistical burden while avoiding additional school liability.

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.

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]