Risk & Insurance Wins Two Prestigious Awards for Trade Coverage

Risk & Insurance® has received two national ASBPE awards for its coverage on Hank Greenberg and potential Black Swan scenarios.
By: | May 14, 2019

Risk & Insurance® is proud to announce its editors and writers  picked up two ASBPE national awards for in-depth reporting in 2018. These designations are in addition to the four regional awards the magazine announced earlier this month.

Going for Gold

In a dazzling sweep, R&I’s exclusive 2018 Q&A with insurance industry legend Hank Greenberg received both a gold national award and a gold regional award from the ASBPE.

Featured in our October 15, 2018 issue, 100 Years and Growing looked into the long and successful career of Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.

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Risk & Insurance® sat down with Mr. Greenberg in his Park Avenue office last September to hear his thoughts on the centennial of C.V. Starr, the dynamics of U.S. trade relationships with China and the future of the U.S. insurance industry as it faces the challenges of technology development and talent recruitment and retention.

In a robust and frank conversation, the builder of AIG provided readers with unique insights into global trade, his past battles and what the future holds for the industry and his company.

“The country and the world will always need insurance,” Greenberg said. “That doesn’t mean that what we have today is what we’re going to have 25 years from now.

“How quickly the change comes and how far it will go will depend on individual companies and individual countries. Some will be more brave than others. But change will take place, there is no doubt about it.”

Black Swans, Bronze Awards

Since August of 2013, Risk & Insurance® writers and editors have interviewed academics, government officials, reinsurers and risk consultants to get their take on Black Swans — very rare events that could strike with catastrophic severity.

In 2018, digital producer Autumn Heisler dove deep into the possibility of a mega-tsunami that could wipe out the East Coast. Associate editor Katie Dwyer explored the terrifying events following a global pandemic outbreak. R&I’s August 2018 Black Swan coverage earned a bronze national award from ASBPE.

In  A Mega-Tsunami Is Coming; Can the East Coast Even Prepare?, R&I focused in on the Cumbre Vieja volcano, nestled on the western shore of the island La Palma. It has laid dormant for nearly 50 years, but if it were to erupt, it has the potential to birth a massive 3,000-foot wave that could wreak havoc from Boston to Miami.

Researchers and scientists Steven Ward and Simon Day quantified the features of a possible La Palma mega-tsunami, noting it could be a huge disaster, and — scarily enough — it’s not impossible.

“La Palma has a lot of water in it,” Ward explained. “The thinking is that in some future eruption, hot magma will reach this water, turn it into steam and the steam will split the mountain.”

A landslide of that scale could send out a mega-tsunami-sized wave. Ward said the hard part is predicting if, or when, the landmass will actually slide into the Atlantic. Luckily, such an event won’t likely come out of the blue, he said. There will be a buildup of volcanic and tectonic activity beforehand that will aid researchers in forecasting a potential disaster.

Viral Fear: How a Global Pandemic Kills an Economy follows a strain of the flu as it mutates and becomes highly lethal to humans who are ill-prepared for an outbreak of global proportions. And while the flu doesn’t sound so scary, “Influenza is constantly undergoing mutations, so it’s the greatest threat in terms of pandemic potential,” said Maria Paul, director of product management at RMS.

Contributing to the global reach of this pandemic scenario is the high speed and high volume of modern day travel. And fast international travel is not the only characteristic of modern life making today’s population vulnerable to pandemic; longer lifespans are another contributor, as is antibiotic resistance.

This marks the fourth time that Risk & Insurance® picked up a regional or a national award for its Black Swan coverage.

Every year, the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) recognizes editorial excellence and achievement through its annual Awards of Excellence competition.

To read more about the ASBPE award criteria, visit here&

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]

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.

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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.

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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]