Reputation Risks

Risks of Celebrity Sponsors

Companies should review 'what if' scenarios before attaching their products or services to a celebrity sponsor.
By: | February 11, 2015 • 3 min read
Topics: Reputation
Sponsorship risks

Companies are using actors, prominent sports figures and other celebrities to endorse their products more than ever before.

However, while they may generate lots of publicity around a product or service, not all of it is good publicity.

You only have to open up a copy of the newspaper to read about  scandals engulfing stars such as Bill Cosby, Brian Williams or Tom Brady with the New England Patriots’ ‘deflate-gate’ saga.


Sponsors have reacted by withdrawing their support, most notably in the NFL, where domestic violence allegations hanging over the sport prompted Procter and Gamble to pull the plug on a deal to supply players with pink mouthguards during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and cancel all on-field marketing.

The risks for any sponsor associated with this type of negative publicity are infinite, said experts, often resulting in the cancellation of lucrative advertising and marketing contracts, ultimately costing the company millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Worse still, the sponsor may be forced to pull its product from the market altogether, with the end result that millions of dollars are wiped off its share value.

The main risk of hiring a celebrity to endorse a product is the unexpected or disgraceful behavior of that individual, or unforeseen events such as death. — Lori Shaw, executive director, entertainment practice, Aon Risk Solutions

Lori Shaw, executive director of Aon Risk Solutions’ entertainment practice, said the main risk of hiring a celebrity to endorse a product is the unexpected or disgraceful behavior of that individual, or unforeseen events such as death.

“The first step is to analyze the potential risks, discuss ‘what if’ scenarios; outline the financial consequences; and to be aware of the risks that can be avoided, those that can be transferred contractually to the celebrity or talent, those that can be transferred to insurance and the risks that must be retained,” she said.

Shaw said that companies need to take a holistic approach to their branding and marketing activities in order to assess the potential impact of any adverse publicity on their balance sheet.

Nir Kossovsky, CEO, Steel City Re

Nir Kossovsky, CEO, Steel City Re

Nir Kossovsky, CEO of Steel City Re, a corporate reputation measurement and risk management specialist, said another major problem of negative publicity is the damage to a company’s reputation.

“The primary risk is that an adverse behavior at an event or by a celebrity will be viewed by stakeholders as a reflection of that company’s culture, values or operational ineptitude,” he said.

“In this situation where the stakeholder holds the company culpable for any such action, often they will respond by altering their future expectations and exercising their financial clout, usually to the company’s detriment.”

Kossovsky said that, rather than calculate the potential risk, sponsors need to first determine the value gained from the sponsorship deal, and the costs of acquiring that value.

Then they must assess the costs of communicating to stakeholders the steps it took to mitigate against any adverse events and publicity that may occur, he said.

“There are two instances when a company should walk away from a deal,” he said.

“The first is if the costs of a parallel communication strategy coupled with the direct costs of sponsorship outweigh the value of the expected gain.

“The second is if, on objective reflection, there is a compelling case that the average stakeholder will hold management culpable for an adverse event no matter what the management says to the contrary.”

To mitigate against these risks, corporations are increasingly turning to specialized insurance plans and writing clauses into their contracts allowing them to cancel a deal if the celebrity is considered to have acted in an inappropriate manner that may damage the company’s brand.

Recently, AIG launched a new policy protecting sponsors that hire celebrities to endorse their product.


Celebrity Product RecallResponse is triggered by any “actual or alleged criminal act or distasteful conduct” from the celebrity that has a significantly adverse impact on a company’s product.

It covers certain costs incurred by companies to remove or recall those products bearing the celebrity’s name and image, as well as the costs of removing advertising.

“In this age of social media and instant news,” said Jeremy Johnson, president and CEO of Lexington Insurance Co., which provides the policy, “reports of indiscretions by celebrities or high profile athletes can spread worldwide instantly, with swift, adverse implications for products or brands associated with the individual.”

Alex Wright is a U.K.-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected]
Share this article:

Risk Insider: Hala Helm

Unseen Costs of Measles Outbreak

By: | February 11, 2015 • 2 min read
Hala Helm is Chief Risk Officer for the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group where she is responsible for the development and maintenance of the overall risk management program. She holds a JD, MBA, and numerous professional health care and risk management certifications. She can be reached at [email protected]

By now, we have all heard about the measles outbreak in California. We have heard both sides of the vaccination “controversy,” even though all of the evidenced-based research findings are uncontroversial.

What you probably haven’t heard much about is the immense time, effort and expense expended by health care providers and the public health department to respond to a known or suspected case of measles.

When a person begins to experience the signs and symptoms of measles, it is likely that they will seek medical care.

If the medical staff is aware that the patient may have measles they can take precautions like masking the patient and physically isolating them from others to prevent the spread of infection.

In reality, however, the health care providers might not suspect a patient is infected until a medical professional has performed a physical examination and taken their history.

A known or suspected measles exposure triggers a cascade of response activities.

Facility staff must identify the infected patient (the index case), interview the patient to determine where he or she has been, who they might have come in contact with, and whether or not they were masked, and at what point.

Any person who has shared air space with an un-masked measles patient is considered at risk of exposure.

The response costs to a potential measles exposure have been calculated at as much as $100,000 per event in lost productivity and remediation expense.

While waiting one to two days — or up to a week — to get results from measles serology and PCR analysis, facility or public health department staff compile a list of any patients who likely shared air space with the index case.

These are primarily patients who had appointments proximal to the time and location of the index case and for one hour afterwards, who may have shared a waiting room area.

Obviously, this is an incomplete list, as it cannot possibly include contact with individuals in public places like elevators, restrooms, etc.

If measles is confirmed, every patient who is at risk of exposure must be contacted. The clinic or public health department may offer prophylactic MMR vaccinations to any exposed patient who can’t produce documentation of immunity, but that is only effective for 72 hours post-exposure.

If an exposed patient can’t produce proof of immunity and can’t obtain a prophylactic vaccination within the 72-hour time window, the public health department may order them quarantined for 21 days.

The response costs to a potential measles exposure have been calculated at as much as $100,000 per event in lost productivity and remediation expense.

It introduces cost and inefficiency into the health care system, a system that many already criticize as being costly and inefficient. Measles is on the rise, from under 200 documented cases in 2013 to nearly 650 in 2014, and 102 documented cases in January 2015 alone.

An exponential increase in measles will tax the system to the point where it will not be able to respond effectively, leaving our most vulnerable at risk.

And unfortunately, those most at risk from an exposure are exactly the types of people most likely to be found in hospital and clinic waiting rooms.

Read all of Hala Helm’s Risk Insider articles.

Share this article:

Sponsored Content by CorVel

Telehealth: The Wait is Over

Telehealth delivers access to the work comp industry.
By: | November 2, 2015 • 5 min read


From Early Intervention To Immediate Intervention

Reducing medical lag times and initiating early intervention are some of the cornerstones to a successful claims management program. A key element in refining those metrics is improving access to appropriate care.

Telehealth is the use of electronic communications to facilitate interaction between a patient and a physician. With today’s technology and mass presence of mobile devices, injured workers can be connected to providers instantaneously via virtual visits. Early intervention offers time and cost saving benefits, and emerging technology presents the capability for immediate intervention.

Telehealth creates an opportunity to reduce overall claim duration by putting an injured worker in touch with a doctor including a prescription or referral to physical therapy when needed. On demand, secure and cost efficient, telehealth offers significant benefits to both payors and patients.

The Doctor Will See You Now

Major healthcare players like Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield are adding telehealth as part of their program standards. This comes as no surprise as multiple studies have found a correlation between improved outcomes and patients taking responsibility for their treatment with communications outside of the doctor’s office. CorVel has launched the new technology within the workers’ compensation industry as part of their service offering.

“Telehealth is an exciting enhancement for the Workers’ Compensation industry and our program. By piloting this new technology with CorVel, we hope to impact our program by streamlining communication and facilitating injured worker care more efficiently,” said one of CorVel’s clients.

SponsoredContent_Corvel“We expect to add convenience for the injured worker while significantly reducing lag times from the injury to initiating treatment. The goal is to continue to merge the ecosystems of providers, injured workers and payors.”

— David Lupinsky, Vice President, Medical Review Services, CorVel Corporation

As with all new solutions, there are some questions about telehealth. Regarding privacy concerns, telehealth is held to the same standards of HIPAA and all similar rules and regulations regarding health information technology and patients’ personal information. Telehealth offers secure, one on one interactions between the doctor and the injured worker, maintaining patient confidentiality.

The integrity of the patient-physician relationship often fuels debates against technology in healthcare. Conversely, telehealth may facilitate the undivided attention patients seek. In office physicians’ actual facetime with patients is continually decreasing, citing an average of eight minutes per patient, according to a 2013 New York Times article. Telehealth may offer an alternative.

Virtual visits last about 10 to 15 minutes, offering more one on one time with physicians than a standard visit. Patients also can physically participate in the physician examination. When consulting with a telehealth physician, the patient can enter their vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature and follow physical cues from the doctor to help determine the diagnosis. This gives patients an active role in their treatment.

Additionally, a 2010 BioMed Central Health Services Research Report is helping to dispel any questions regarding telehealth quality of care, stating “91% of health outcomes were as good or better via telehealth.”

Care: On Demand

By leveraging technology, claims professionals can enhance an already proactive claims model. Mobile phones and tablets provide access anywhere an injured worker may be and break previous barriers set by after hours injuries, incidents occurring in rural areas, or being out of a familiar place (i.e. employees in the transportation industry).

With telehealth, CorVel eliminates travel and wait times. The injured worker meets virtually with an in-network physician via his or her computer, smart phone or tablet device.

As most injuries reported in workers’ compensation are musculoskeletal injuries – soft tissue injuries that may not need escalation – the industry can benefit from telehealth since many times the initial physician visit ends with either a pharmacy or physical therapy script.

In CorVel’s model, because all communication is conducted electronically, the physician receives the patient’s information transmitted from the triage nurse via email and/or electronic data feeds. This saves time and eliminates the patient having to sit in a crowded waiting room trying to fill out a form with information they may not know.

Through electronic correspondence, the physician will also be alerted that the injured worker is a workers’ compensation patient with the goal of returning to work, helping to dictate treatment just as it would for an in office doctor.

In the scope of workers’ compensation, active participation in telehealth examinations, accompanied by convenience, is beneficial for payors. As the physician understands return to work goals, they can ensure follow up care like physical therapy is channeled within the network and can also help determine modified duty and other means to assist the patient to return to work quickly.


Convenience Costs Less

Today, convenience can often be synonymous with costly. While it may be believed that an on demand, physician’s visit would cost more than seeing your regular physician; perceptions can be deceiving. One of the goals of telehealth is to provide quality care with convenience and a fair cost.

Telehealth virtual visits cost on average 30% less than brick and mortar doctor’s office visits, according to California state fee schedule. In addition, “health plans and employers see telehealth as a significant cost savings since as many as 10% of virtual visits replace emergency room visits which cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for relatively minor complaints” according to a study by American Well.

“Telehealth is an exciting enhancement for the Workers’ Compensation industry and our program. By piloting this new technology with CorVel, we hope to impact our program by streamlining communication and facilitating injured worker care more efficiently,” said one of CorVel’s clients.

Benefits For All

Substantial evidence supports that better outcomes are produced the sooner an injured worker seeks care. Layered into CorVel’s proactive claims and medical management model, telehealth can upgrade early intervention to immediate intervention and is crucial for program success.

“We expect to add convenience for the injured worker while significantly reducing lag times from the injury to initiating treatment,” said David Lupinsky, Vice President, Medical Review Services.

“The goal is to continue to merge the ecosystems of providers, injured workers and payors.”

With a people first philosophy and an emphasis on immediacy, CorVel’s telehealth services reduce lag time and connect patients to convenient, quality care. It’s a win-win.

This article was produced by CorVel Corporation and not the Risk & Insurance® editorial team.

CorVel is a national provider of risk management solutions for employers, third party administrators, insurance companies and government agencies seeking to control costs and promote positive outcomes.
Share this article: