2016 NWCDC Keynote Preview

Disney’s Tim East Tapped for NWCDC Keynote

The 2016 opening keynote speaker for NWCDC is passionate about harnessing technology to keep injured workers engaged with their recovery.
By: | May 19, 2016 • 5 min read
Welcome to New Orleans

When your brand is synonymous with happiness, there’s a lot riding on making everything look effortless — no easy feat when you’re managing risk. Tim East knows that better than most — he’s been doing it for decades.


Burbank, Calif.-based East, one of the risk management directors for The Walt Disney Company, is positioning his company to keep pace with a world that’s moving faster than a ride on Space Mountain.

That is why the advisory board of the 25th annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo selected East to deliver the opening keynote presentation at this year’s event, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

From the Ground Up

East currently oversees risk financing, construction insurance programs, risk management government affairs, and risk management for the company’s international theme parks.

Tim East, director of risk management, The Walt Disney Company

Tim East, director of risk management, The Walt Disney Company

But he got his start in 1974, in the administrative services area.

“I was in the janitorial department at Disneyland. That’s where I started,” he said. By 1982, he was Supervisor of Safety, involved with “training and preparing the policies and procedures and training the executives of the park’s operations.” He was also involved with training and supporting the opening of Tokyo Disneyland.

From there, East served in a variety of risk management positions at The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. From his role in safety, he went on to head the workers’ compensation claims department and implemented the first Limited Work Program at Disneyland. He assumed his current role in January 1996.

Outside his company role, East is the chair of the California Self-Insurers Security Fund, a past chair of the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation, and a trustee of the California Self Insurers Trust Fund. He regularly meets with lawmakers, policy advisors, trade organizations, and the California governor’s office on insurance and workers’ comp issues.

East’s resume boasts an impressive list of degrees and certifications. He was named the Insurance Institute of America’s Distinguished Graduate in 1995. That same year, he also received the Christy Award from the Risk and Insurance Management Society for having the highest composite score of 1,400 associate risk management candidates.

Change With the Times

If, like East, you were in the industry in the ’80s, you may recall it was common to see mail clerks walking through claims offices pushing carts loaded with files for claims examiners. When a claim went before an appeals board, it was typical to see attorneys and others on both sides carrying 10-inch files.

The move to a paperless system was a sea change in that era. East believes the time has come for another profound shift in the way the workers’ comp system conducts business.

In his keynote address, East will explore strategies for leveraging rapidly changing technology to engage injured workers and facilitate recovery.


“We have to make another transformation in our use of technology, and we’ve got to link technology and social media change so we bring the two together in a way that makes us more effective in our roles,” East said.

Communicating with injured workers is a key piece of managing claims, and East says that’s one area where the power of technology can effectively be harnessed.

“Twenty or 30 years ago we would send a ‘hello’ letter [to the injured worker]; a two- to three-page letter with everything they needed to know. It was very personal,” he said. “Nobody reads a two-page letter. That is so counterproductive today. It’s like horse and buggies at an Indy 500.”

Instead, East said, many people, especially younger workers, use electronic forms of communication. The industry needs to take notice.

“The injured worker of today, the next generation, wants shorter communication from employers. Brief bits of information that help them, and that they find useful and relevant,” East said. “Young people want to know, ‘How is this going to help me?’ We’ve got to find a way to communicate.”

The same applies to physicians’ offices and supervisors. Snail mail, he says, “is not necessarily the way they want to be communicated with. We have to change that.”

As businesses are increasingly driven by attaining better outcomes, East says many are starting to come around to the idea of providing shorter, more frequent, succinct information to their employees and others involved in the workers’ comp system.

“Young people want to know, ‘How is this going to help me?’ We’ve got to find a way to communicate.” — Tim East, director of risk management, The Walt Disney Company

“It is finding new platforms, new ways of communicating,” he says, “be it text, Twitter, and social networks to actually parse information down to small little packets to injured workers who don’t want a letter, form, or phone call. Letters, forms, and phone calls were the biggest tools in the toolbox once. They are bygones.”

The same changes need to occur throughout the industry’s efforts to attract and retain talent, East said. Outdated modes of communication are hampering recruitment efforts.

“Young people are looking for relevancy in their roles,” he said. “I don’t think there is anything more relevant than helping people maintain their jobs and health. We have the relevancy, but we are not communicating it. I don’t think we help people feel the relevancy and see how important their roles are.”

East also says it’s time for a move away from what he calls the focus on big massive claims administrative systems.


“It’s a necessary infrastructure, but it needs to change in two directions — toward the injured worker and the employer,” he says. “The first is leveraging these massive claims administration systems and data systems to provide better analytics, better information that [employers] can make decisions more accurately, more timely, and formatted so employers can grasp the message.”

That involves extracting information from the huge amounts of robust data. Additionally, there’s a need to link the systems to better focus on the injured worker and manage the process more effectively.

To hear more of East’s thoughts on the future of employee engagement, join your fellow industry professionals at NWCDC this fall.

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]
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Teddy Awards

Teddy Awards 2016: Share Your Success

Apply now for the 2016 Theodore Roosevelt Workers' Compensation and Disability Management Awards.
By: | March 17, 2016 • 3 min read

Last November in Las Vegas, the 2015 Teddy Award winners faced a packed session at National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo, with attendees eager to learn more about their successful programs.The session was enthusiastically received.

Afterward, attendees were overheard saying to colleagues, “We should start doing that … let’s discuss it when we get back to the office … .” Clearly, conference organizers were spot-on when naming that session “Steal These Ideas!”

Does your company have ideas worth stealing too? Are you proud of what you have been accomplishing with your workers’ compensation and injury prevention programs? We’d like to learn more about them.

The application is now available online for the 2016 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Awards, aka The Teddys.

The awards are open to both for-profit and nonprofit employers, as well as governmental entities. And while there are quite a few large employers among our list of past winners, small and mid-size entities are encouraged to apply.


Our judges look for quality rather than quantity, and plenty of past winners have proven that it’s possible to accomplish great things even with limited resources.

Some food for thought as you prepare your application. We are looking for well-rounded programs that take a holistic approach to safety, workers’ comp and disability management. Teddy Award winning companies, no matter their size or industry, have several core characteristics in common.

They do everything possible to protect their most valuable asset: their people. They strive daily to reduce workplace risks and prevent injuries from happening.

When injuries do happen, winning companies waste no time securing expert care for their workers. They also have systems and practices to ensure that they’re getting the best possible outcomes for their medical spend.

Our judges look for quality rather than quantity, and plenty of past winners have proven that it’s possible to accomplish great things even with limited resources.

Teddy winners frequently amaze us with their 110 percent commitment to getting all injured employees back to work, using imaginative strategies that turn the old model of return-to-work on its head.

They also track and measure everything — continuously and aggressively looking for opportunities to improve outcomes while eliminating wasted expense.

Along the way, many of them also develop effective strategies that help manage challenges such as union negotiations, legacy claims, litigation and fraud.

Not least of all, Teddy winners get results. We look at the last five years’ worth of performance data to gauge whether the company’s programs really help achieve the intended goals.

Judges factor in every element potentially affecting that performance, including the intensity of the challenges faced, as well as the age of the program.

Teddy winners go above and beyond best practices, and they have a firm grasp of the big picture. They leverage the talent of internal teams as well as vendor partners to build programs that enable them to drive year-over-year improvement for the long-term.

For inspiration, read about last year’s Teddy Award winners. It could be your organization whose praises we’re singing this year.

The 2016 Teddy Award winners will be profiled in the November 2016 issue of Risk & Insurance®, and will be recognized at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo in New Orleans, held Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, 2016.

For questions about the awards or the application process, please contact Michelle Kerr at [email protected] or 215-784-0910, ext. 6216.

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]
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Sponsored: Liberty International Underwriters

Helping Investment Advisers Hurdle New “Customer First” Government Regulation

The latest fiduciary rulings create challenges for financial advisory firms to stay both compliant and profitable.
By: | May 5, 2016 • 4 min read

This spring, the Department of Labor (DOL) rolled out a set of rule changes likely to raise issues for advisers managing their customers’ retirement investment accounts. In an already challenging compliance environment, the new regulation will push financial advisory firms to adapt their business models to adhere to a higher standard while staying profitable.

The new proposal mandates a fiduciary standard that requires advisers to place a client’s best interests before their own when recommending investments, rather than adhering to a more lenient suitability standard. In addition to increasing compliance costs, this standard also ups the liability risk for advisers.

The rule changes will also disrupt the traditional broker-dealer model by pressuring firms to do away with commissions and move instead to fee-based compensation. Fee-based models remove the incentive to recommend high-cost investments to clients when less expensive, comparable options exist.

“Broker-dealers currently follow a sales distribution model, and the concern driving this shift in compensation structure is that IRAs have been suffering because of the commission factor,” said Richard Haran, who oversees the Financial Institutions book of business for Liberty International Underwriters. “Overall, the fiduciary standard is more difficult to comply with than a suitability standard, and the fee-based model could make it harder to do so in an economical way. Broker dealers may have to change the way they do business.”

Complicating Compliance

SponsoredContent_LIUAs a consequence of the new DOL regulation, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be forced to respond with its own fiduciary standard which will tighten up their regulations to even the playing field and create consistency for customers seeking investment management.

Because the SEC relies on securities law while the DOL takes guidance from ERISA, there will undoubtedly be nuances between the two new standards, creating compliance confusion for both Registered Investment Advisors  (RIAs)and broker-dealers.

To ensure they adhere to the new structure, “we could see more broker-dealers become RIAs or get dually registered, since advisers already follow a fee-based compensation model,” Haran said. “The result is that there will be likely more RIAs after the regulation passes.”

But RIAs have their own set of challenges awaiting them. The SEC announced it would beef up oversight of investment advisors with more frequent examinations, which historically were few and far between.

“Examiners will focus on individual investments deemed very risky,” said Melanie Rivera, Financial Institutions Underwriter for LIU. “They’ll also be looking more closely at cyber security, as RIAs control private customer information like Social Security numbers and account numbers.”

Demand for Cover

SponsoredContent_LIUIn the face of regulatory uncertainty and increased scrutiny from the SEC, investment managers will need to be sure they have coverage to safeguard them from any oversight or failure to comply exactly with the new standards.

In collaboration with claims experts, underwriters, legal counsel and outside brokers, Liberty International Underwriters revamped older forms for investment adviser professional liability and condensed them into a single form that addresses emerging compliance needs.

The new form for investment management solutions pulls together seven coverages:

  1. Investment Adviser E&O, including a cyber sub-limit
  2. Investment Advisers D&O
  3. Mutual Funds D&O and E&O
  4. Hedge Fund D&O and E&O
  5. Employment Practices Liability
  6. Fiduciary Liability
  7. Service Providers D&O

“A comprehensive solution, like the revamped form provides, will help advisers navigate the new regulatory environment,” Rivera said. “It’s a one-stop shop, allowing clients to bind coverage more efficiently and provide peace of mind.”

Ahead of the Curve

SponsoredContent_LIUThe new form demonstrates how LIU’s best-in class expertise lends itself to the collaborative and innovative approach necessary to anticipate trends and address emerging needs in the marketplace.

“Seeing the pending regulation, we worked internally to assess what the effect would be on our adviser clients, and how we could respond to make the transition as easy as possible,” Haran said. “We believe the new form will not only meet the increased demand for coverage, but actually creates a better product with the introduction of cyber sublimits, which are built into the investment adviser E&O policy.”

The combined form also considers another potential need: cost of correction coverage. Complying with a fiduciary standard could increase the need for this type of cover, which is not currently offered on a consistent basis. LIU’s form will offer cost of correction coverage on a sublimited basis by endorsement.

“We’ve tried to cross product lines and not stay siloed,” Haran said. “Our clients are facing new risks, in a new regulatory environment, and they need a tailored approach. LIU’s history of collaboration and innovation demonstrates that we can provide unique solutions to meet their needs.”

For more information about Liberty International Underwriters’ products for investment managers, visit www.LIU-USA.com.

Liberty International Underwriters is the marketing name for the broker-distributed specialty lines business operations of Liberty Mutual Insurance. Certain coverage may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds. This literature is a summary only and does not include all terms, conditions, or exclusions of the coverage described. Please refer to the actual policy issued for complete details of coverage and exclusions.

This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Liberty International Underwriters. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.


LIU is part of the Global Specialty Division of Liberty Mutual Insurance.
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