The House of Safety
Building a solid safety and injury management program is a lot like building a house, according to two presenters at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo in New Orleans on Thursday.
“If you don’t have a solid foundation to build on, your program will fail,” said Mitchell Chastain, a manager of logistics safety, loss prevention & security with Mohawk Industries.
Starting in 2011, Chastain partnered with Keith Myers, a regional director with BenchMark Rehab Partners, to build a safety program, including post-offer physical assessments coupled with an injury management program.
“If you don’t have a solid foundation to build on, your program will fail.”– Mitchell Chastain, a manager of logistics safety, loss prevention & security, Mohawk Industries.
In the first month of the program, the company conducted four post-offer physical assessments for Mohawk. It now conducts more than 200, said Myers.
Some applicants fail the test and must work with a trainer or physical therapist to become fit enough to work.
The goal, according to Myers, is not to prevent people from working. It’s to make sure people are in the right job and are fit for that job.
“We need to get very specific with these jobs,” he said.
Myers said he takes a sports conditioning approach to getting employees in shape for their work. That includes stretching exercises to improve range of motion.
Communicating clearly that the company is invested in employee safety and health is a key his program’s success, said Chastain.
In the event of an injury, even the hint of one, Chastain revealed something that is quite common in risk management: Sometimes it is the simplest, most common-sense approach that produces the best results.
Chastain said all Mohawk truck drivers have ice packs in their vehicles and are instructed to ice an area of their body when they feel tightness or pain; and to take an anti-inflammatory.
“You would be amazed at how much we have reduced injuries,” Chastain.
Risk Scenarios Live: Lessons in Managing Chronic Pain
When a patient is in pain and in fear of pain, physicians face a dilemma. How to manage that pain in the best way without creating a dependency on pain medications?
When an injured worker is already floundering in a haze of prescription medications and denial, how best to intervene in a way that respects the worker’s rights, preserves the bottom line and most importantly, keeps that person productive?
These and other questions were on the table in the fourth installment of the Risk Scenarios Live presentation at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on Wednesday.
“Forget the money. Focus on the outcome.” — Michael Paladino, director, insurance services and claims, VCU Health System
As they watched filmed enactments of fictitious workers’ compensation claim scenarios, a veteran panel of workers’ compensation professionals had plenty to share.
“Forget the money. Focus on the outcome,” said Michael Paladino, director, insurance services and claims, VCU Health System.
The award-winning risk manager went on to say that an organization pays for an injured worker whether it is on the group health side or under workers’ compensation.
So, focusing on where that payment is coming from is less important than bringing the worker back to health, he said.
“We do have to treat the patient as a whole,” said Jill Leonard, assistant vice president of claims operations, Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp.
In three vignettes, the panel examined a chronic pain case, a case where a worker was ingesting a wide range of pharmaceuticals, and a scenario where a worker with an injured back failed to understand or comply with his return to work options.
Too often, according Dr. Robert Goldberg, chief medical officer, Healthesystems, there is a rush to surgery or a failure to fully educate an injured worker on their treatment and recovery options.
High Net Worth Insurance Summit Gains Traction
A summit aimed at increasing awareness for and educating high net worth insurance agents and carriers is quickly gaining traction.
The Private Risk Management Association, which held its third annual summit in Itasca, Ill. the week of Nov. 14, is experiencing double digit attendance growth.
According to Jim Kane, a Philadelphia-based senior vice president with USI Insurance Services, the conference has its origins in a belief that the consultants offering advice to net worth clients merit their own networking event and education tracks.
“The origins of the association really come from the insurance side,” said Kane, who serves as PRMA’s president and trustee.
He credits Ross Buchmueller, the CEO of high net worth insurer PURE (Privileged Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange), with having the foresight to form the association.
“He believed that although we all compete fiercely, that we have shared interests in creating the path to a successful career,” Kane said.
Buchmueller and other high net worth insurance veterans now sit on PRMA’s board.
“Although the carrier side had the idea, it was the broker side that put it into execution,” Kane said.
“We felt that on the broker side we had as much interest as anybody and that it might be better received if it were driven by the brokers and not the carriers,” Kane said.
The association held its first meeting in Chicago in 2014. Attendance that year was just under 200. A meeting last year at Georgia Tech University sold out with 230 attendees. This year’s conference, held at the Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, reached capacity at 255 attendees.
Lisa Lindsay, a former Marsh private client executive and PRMA’s executive director, says PRMA is also seeing eye-opening participation levels in its education track.
“People want to be able to differentiate themselves, they want to be able to continue to provide value.”– Lisa Lindsay, executive director, PRMA.
The association plans to bestow its Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor(CPRIA) certificate to 125 brokers and consultants at next year’s PRMA Summit in Tempe, Ariz.
The first class to begin working toward the certificate launched in May, 2015. It’s fifth segment now has 320 participants.
Lindsay said PRMA is partnering with New Level Partners and the St. John’s University School of Risk Management to develop and quality-check the curriculum.
Lindsay says the strong response to the certificate program indicates that PRMA has tapped a well of interest.
“People want to be able to differentiate themselves, they want to be able to continue to provide value,” Lindsay said.
“You can’t just slap private client on your card anymore,” Kane said.
“This is a chance to say you are dedicated to it and educated in it.”
Carriers in attendance at this year’s summit included PURE, AIG, Chubb and Ironshore.
Brokerages in attendance included Arthur J. Gallagher, Aon, HUB, USI Insurance Services and Willis.
In addition to educational sessions and presentations from indusry leaders, the summit featured a roundtable discussion involving the first six Private Client winners of the Risk & Insurance Power Broker award, which recognizes the best brokers in a number of industry sectors.