Risk Insider: Lisa Lindsay

The Hurricane Crisis: A Call for Better Communication on Flood Insurance

By: | October 12, 2018 • 3 min read
Lisa Lindsay is the executive director with the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). She was instrumental in establishing PRMA and played a key role in developing The Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor (CPRIA) certificate. She can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: Written before Hurricane Michael, the following article reviews flood damage risks that stem from hurricanes. Wind damage from Michael caused severe losses and is also considered a huge hurricane risk. Storm surge, however, can bring just as much damage. Risk Insider Lisa Lindsay reviews below.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we are reminded that unprecedented flooding events are on the rise and are becoming more prevalent. Florence wasn’t the first slow-moving weather event to dump heavy rainfall on areas considered to be in the lower risk flood zones. Take a look back to recent storms, such as Hurricane Harvey, Matthew or many others, and you’ll see that hurricanes became major flood events that caused billions in devastation.

USA Today published an article, “Lack of flood insurance heaps misery on homeowners slammed by Hurricane Florence,”  which states that “only 10 percent to 20 percent of coastal homeowners in the hard-hit eastern part of North Carolina, for example, have coverage through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and only 1 percent to 3 percent of homes in inland counties have flood policies.”

The article goes on to state, “the numbers of those covered are low because people think that because their home isn’t in a high-risk zone designated by the government that there’s zero risk of a flood. ‘But that’s not true,’ ” according to estimates from John Rollins, an actuary at consulting firm Milliman. Many also don’t realize their basic homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flood damage, while others overestimate the disaster aid they will get from the government.

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In July of 2018, the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) surveyed agent and broker members to gain insights into how risk-ready their clients were following unprecedented flooding in 2017. Cost and the “it’s-not-going-to-happen-to-me” mindset were the key reasons cited for not purchasing excess flood insurance or adopting proactive risk management solutions.

Additionally, there has been very little pick-up in the number of clients purchasing new flood insurance.

PRMA calls on all members and risk professionals to change the historical way flood risk is assessed and commit to educating clients at a higher and more personal level.

These survey results point to a lack of education about what’s really happening given climate change, rising sea levels and unprecedented disasters in areas that have not been previously prone to disaster.

This false sense of security can be attributed to antiquated risk assessment tools, such as FEMA flood maps and historical lines of thinking, such as, “My home has never flooded before” and “My bank doesn’t require flood insurance, so I must not need it.”

As risk management professionals, we must diligently work to educate clients about their unique risk of flood.

PRMA member, Albert J. Slap, president and co-founder of Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC, a geospatial technology, modeling and analytics firm, very accurately shared with members recently: “Just providing bad news is not good enough.” New technology and risk assessment tools can affordably help clients touch and feel the real risk associated with their property. These tools can more accurately predict flood risk from riverine, heavy precipitation, storm surge and tidal/sea rise events.

Once the risk of flood is better assessed and understood, it is imperative that the education moves to risk management solutions that can range from an affordable quick dam barrier system to more elaborate evaluations and solutions that allow full flood protection without impacting the view of the infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

PRMA calls on all members and risk professionals to change the historical way flood risk is assessed and commit to educating clients at a higher and more personal level. Doing anything less is a not good enough.

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]