3 New Executive Leaders Join Aon’s Construction Service Group

Sean O'Connell, Jason Wren and Wendy Sue Ash join Aon's Construction Service Group.
By: | November 6, 2018 • 3 min read

Aon plc has appointed three new executive brokers to its construction team’s leadership.

Sean O’Connell will step in as vice president-account executive/broker for the Construction Service Group (CSG) in the Northeast Region. Jason Wren has assumed the role of managing director, eastern growth leader, CSG. And Wendy Sue Ash has been appointed AE/broker leader, CSG.

“Above all other elements, Aon is about our people,” said Michael Scott, executive vice president & client management U.S. practice leader, CSG, Aon.

He said Aon looks at these new additions as a continued commitment to serving the construction industry.

“In short, they have been in a position to provide advocacy to their clients and deliver creative, innovative solutions. They know the marketplace and have relationships with the key decision makers within the insurance markets.”

Sean O’Connell, VP-Account Executive/Broker, CSG

O’Connell brings more than a decade of construction risk management experience and insurance underwriting to his new role.

Sean O’Connell, vice president-account executive/broker, CSG in the Northeast Region, Aon

He will be tasked with driving business production around construction advisory and broking services for Aon’s contractors and owner/developer clients.

In addition, O’Connell will work to implement strategic initiatives with a focus on client-centric solutions for growing construction risks.

“Sean has deep underwriting knowledge within the construction space and will help us employ a more robust holistic view of risk critical to the success of contractors, designers and the owners of construction projects,” Scott said.

O’Connell comes to Aon from a long tenure starting in 2009 at AIG. There, he served as E&C industry practice leader and Lexington casualty & health care manager.

Jason Wren, Managing Director, Eastern Growth Leader, CSG

Wren will be serving the construction industry and Aon through promoting new business production in the New England and New York areas.

Jason Wren, managing director, eastern growth leader, CSG, Aon

“Jason delivers impact to clients through advocacy, and a shared sense of purpose,” said Scott.

“He understands the constantly changing market dynamics and delivers creative solutions for the most complex challenges.  He looks beyond the transactional to the strategic and creates networks for our clients that directly impact their bottom line. ”

Wren’s focus will be on contractors, developers and real estate. He comes to Aon from Marsh, where he served as the Northeast’s real estate leader.

Wendy Sue Ash, AE/Broker Leader, CSG

Ash will join Aon in its Boston office. She will be responsible for the broking of the ENR 400 engagements in the east. Her background includes more than 17 years of construction brokerage experience with contractors, owners and developers.

“She is high impact contributor, who possesses both the depth of technical acumen and excellent client engagement skills,” added Scott.

She comes to Aon from Willis Construction, previously serving as its Atlantic south construction broking leader.

“In adding Sean, Jason and Wendy, we have three colleagues who possess those unique skills [to demonstrate thought leadership on emerging trends and market dynamics] and deliver them with a high degree of reliability, transparency and with a shared sense of purpose with their clients,” said Scott. &

Autumn Heisler is the digital producer and a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She 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.


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]