Risk Insider: Andy Hosman

An Olympic-Sized Effort

By: | February 14, 2018 • 3 min read

Andy Hosman is the vice president of Operational Risk Solutions at Sphera. He has more than 17 years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing risk management solutions to help customers assess, mitigate, manage and monitor their risk more effectively. Prior to joining Sphera, Andy was a senior vice president of product management at Marsh ClearSight.

The Olympic torch began its relay in October from Athens, Greece, marking the start of its trek to the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. This is a long journey, but it pales in comparison to the journey toward operational excellence.


The attendance of more than 30,000 athletes and their fans presents a great deal of operational risk. As with any large event, operations managers must complete pre-event assessments, compile response plans and ensure plans are accessible and understandable to on-site staff.

Technology plays a key role in achieving gold-medal-worthy operational performance. Here are just a handful of ways it can help along the way:

Security Monitoring

You’ve probably seen the commercials where a doorbell rings and someone answers the door from their cellphone. A similar concept works well in an event setting. For example, if a fan starts to experience hypothermia, another patron can push a nearby button to communicate directly with security and/or wellness teams.

Cameras can provide behind-the-scenes workers the vision to identify accidents and problems throughout the facility. With the help of artificial intelligence software, footage from higher-risk event areas can pop up on security monitors or alert workers where they are needed.

Additionally, drones can be deployed to areas much faster than humans, or get to places that humans can’t easily go.


Several large-scale facilities (theme parks, stadiums, museums) have adopted communication features called beacons. These tools transmit radio signals, and are able to be used with Bluetooth technology, sending messages directly to nearby smartphones.

One typical use for beacons is helping people find their seat by mapping the stadium and directing fans accordingly after they input their seat into their smartphone. Some locations don’t even require a WiFi connection for this; just download the facility app and go!

Beacons stationed throughout facilities can also provide insights into how crowded certain locations are, and direct attendees should they want to skip long bathroom lines. If there’s an emergency, they can apprise security of a situation before they arrive on scene.

Several large-scale facilities (theme parks, stadiums, museums) have adopted communication features called beacons. These tools transmit radio signals, and are able to be used with Bluetooth technology, sending messages directly to nearby smartphones.

For an event like the Winter Olympics, beacons can also play a key role in warning fans that a weather system is approaching. An imminent ice storm could spark an alert to fans to quickly seek shelter.

Food Safety

Food-related issues are highly important in managing operational risk. It’s important to ensure food is handled, stored and cooked properly to avoid getting people sick, as well as prevent financial risks from customer complaints.

Implementing effective food safety monitoring can be difficult. While checklists are important, it’s easy for workers to ignore them. With software, however, a supervisor can be alerted if a process hasn’t been accomplished in a timely or proper fashion and can sign off on whether procedures have been followed.


Sensors are wonderful, versatile tools that can be implemented in the food production process. Not only are they able to monitor temperatures at which food and drink are being served, but they can also be integrated into the preparation and cooking stages.

For example, a sensor on a refrigerator could alert staff if the temperature is rising too high because the door is being kept open too long, or if there’s a power outage of some sort.

Experiencing an easily preventable outcome at a major event calls for immediate disqualification in terms of being able to mitigate operational risk. But thanks to new processes and implementation, fans and operators can interact together in a more cooperative and beneficial way, making these events more enjoyable for everyone.

As the Olympic torch is passed on, we expect technology and software to continue setting records for helping to mitigate risks.

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]