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Today isworkersdaymemorial Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual international observance to pay tribute to workers who have died or experienced exposures to hazards on the job.

Thanks to the efforts of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and talented risk management and safety professionals across the nation, U.S. employers maintain very high standards when it comes to safe working conditions. Nevertheless, unforeseen accidents happen, and regrettably 4,679 U.S. people died in 2014 from work-related injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because of Sedgwick’s role in the workers’ compensation arena, we know all too well the life-changing impact that a catastrophic injury or fatality has on the fallen employee’s extended family and team of colleagues. Managing claims that involve loss of life is some of the toughest work that we do. Because of our caring countsSM philosophy, our clients entrust us with the responsibility of dealing compassionately with employees who have experienced a loss at work and families who have lost a loved one. These interactions can be painful, and our colleagues are charged with making these unspeakably difficult situations a bit easier for those turning to us for assistance during a time of grief.

A meaningful way that Sedgwick gives back to the industry and honors workers killed on the job is by supporting Kids’ Chance, a national organization founded to ease the burden of families who face loss of income due to death or disability as the result of a workplace injury. Kids’ Chance provides educational scholarships to the children of fallen workers, and we are proud to join them in this worthwhile endeavor. Click here to read more about our special partnership with Kids’ Chance.

I am proud to be part of the most caring claims team in the business.  At Sedgwick, caring counts.

Darrell Brown
Chief Claims Officer
Sedgwick

 

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lightning-ID-1005000According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, it is not uncommon for lightning to strike a vehicle, moving or parked. The effects of the strike vary from vehicle to vehicle depending on the circumstances related to the storm and vehicle type.

For insurance adjusters, it is easy enough to determine that major visible damage to the vehicle – such as large burn marks in the paint, shattered windows or blown tires – was, more likely than not, caused by a major lightning strike.  In other cases, the damage may not be as obvious and may be misidentified as stone chips.

Modern-day vehicles are more susceptible to the effects of lightning due to the amount of microelectronics controlling vehicle systems. Newer vehicles have engine control modules, body control modules, shift control modules and door control modules, to name a few. All of these components have individual fused circuits; however they use the same ground path. These low-voltage components can be damaged when the polarity of voltage is reversed by energizing the ground path. Because today’s vehicles use fuses on the power-supply side of a component, the fuses may still be functional after a lightning strike event though the individual component may be destroyed.

A recent case we took care of involved a new 2015 Jeep Cherokee parked for display in a parking lot. A lightning-producing storm came through the area. One of the salesmen noticed the driver’s window was in the down position. He identified the vehicle and got the keys to roll the window up. The vehicle did not respond to the key. The service department was contacted to jump start the vehicle. The vehicle still did not respond. After days of diagnosis by the technician, small marks were observed on the metal luggage rack above the driver’s door. Those marks, after microscopic examination, were determined to be from a lightning strike. Further examination of the vehicle revealed three strike points on the top edge of the luggage rack, one discharge mark exiting the luggage rack, one entry mark in line with the luggage rack discharge mark on the body above the driver’s door, and a final exit mark located at the right rear aluminum alloy wheel.

Strike area on front of luggage rack

Strike area on front of luggage rack

Closer view of three points of contact

Closer view of three points of contact

Microscopic view of large center strike point; note: mound in the center of strike

Microscopic view of large center strike point; note: mound in the center of strike

Microscopic view of small strike point; note: mound in center of strike

Microscopic view of small strike point; note: mound in center of strike

Discharge point from luggage rack to body

Discharge point from luggage rack to body

Microscopic view of discharge point from luggage rack to the vehicle body; note: no mound in discharge area

Microscopic view of discharge point from luggage rack to the vehicle body; note: no mound in discharge area

UIS-lightning-7-lr

Discharge point from right rear rim to earth

UIS-lightning-8-lr

Microscopic view of the discharge point on the right rear rim; note: no mound in the center of the damage point

Single microchip damage in door module; this module was closest to the strike point

Single microchip damage in door module; this module was closest to the strike point

It was discovered during the systems diagnosis process that the electronic modules located between the strike point (luggage rack) and the discharge point (right rear rim) was shorted. There were no open fuses in the vehicle. None of the vehicle’s wiring circuits or connectors showed any thermal damage. The affected modules were removed from the vehicle and further diagnosed in the laboratory. Each module affected showed isolated internal circuit board damage in the way of burning and microchip damage. The harness connector terminals showed no damage. The voltage spike on the ground side of the circuit was enough to destroy at least one of the circuit board microchips in multiple electronic modules resulting in the component internally short-circuiting.

UIS-lightning-10-lr

IC damage from over voltage on the power side; Dodge engine control module

The damage resulting from the lightning strike on this vehicle’s modules was compared to damages observed on a different vehicle module circuit board resulting from overcharging. There was a significant difference in the electrical damage between over voltage applied to the power side of the module versus power applied to the negative side of the module. Over voltage damage on the power side of the circuit showed a majority of the integrated circuit (IC) microchips were damaged, the power transistors were blown, and multiple fuses were affected.

If lightning strikes, take a closer look. Examining a vehicle’s module circuit boards is an effective way to determine what happened to the electronics and move a case toward resolution.

Mike McGee, CFI, CFEI, CVTI, ASE
Senior Investigator, Investigative Locksmith
Unified Investigations & Sciences, Inc., a Sedgwick company

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CMandel-RIMS2016-RMMaturity2Earlier this week at the annual RIMS conference, I partnered with Iman H. Al-Gharabally, Team Leader ERM, from the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) to delve into the nature of mature and, by inference, effective risk management programs. My partner, in case study format, shared the details that defined the journey she has been on to instill risk discipline and maturity into this Fortune 100-sized state-owned oil and gas concern. After ten years, she has accomplished almost all that she set out to do. Yet, because as I like to say, risk management should never be labeled a “project,” the job is never done. In fact, as she shared, some big, aspirational goals remain that are critical to long-term effectiveness and sustainability.

As a prelude to her case presentation, and based on my tenure as the head of enterprise risk management (ERM) at USAA (2001-10), as well as my subsequent work as an ERM consultant, I spent time delving into the more generic questions that surround risk management maturity and, by extension, effectiveness and ultimate success.

The starting point for this discussion should be two key questions. First, how are you defining “risk” and have you driven a consensus among key stakeholders about that definition? The second and related issue is both which risks are you going to manage and where on the loss curve do they fall? This may sound simple and straightforward, but the reality is that many risk leaders have responsibilities for only a portion of the risks organizations face – often only the insurable risks. If that’s the case, you have your answer to both concerns nailed.

If, on the other hand, you are a risk leader with broader accountability for more or all risks (ERM) that could impact an organization (both negatively and positively), then the first question of “what is a risk to your firm?” requires clear definition. The most commonly accepted definition of risk is “uncertainty.” I like this simple definition and it captures the most central element of concern. However, the real challenge remains the question about the level of uncertainty (aka frequency/likelihood) and, to many, even more important is the level of impact or severity. Here’s my favorite chart to help illustrate this concept:

CMandel-RIMS2016-RMMaturity-chart
Do we care more about likelihood or impact or are they equal? If the above is a typical loss curve, then the dotted line represents what most would call the “expected” level of loss and the black swan sits out on the tail of this curve, where the x-axis is impact of severity of loss and the y-axis is the frequency or likelihood of loss. While many hazard-focused leaders put their attention on risks at expected and to the left of the dotted line, the challenge is where to the right of the dotted line should one be managing? While the possibility of loss becomes increasingly remote as you move out towards the tail of the curve, the impact of events become more destructive. Key questions that must be answered include:

  • What level of investigation do we apply to remotely likely risks?
  • How do we apply limited resources to remotely likely risks?
  • Do we have a consensus among key stakeholders as to what risks we should focus on and how?
  • Do we have or need an emerging risk management process?
  • Do we have a consensus on and clear understanding of how we define risk in our organization?

These issues are the starting point to the risk management maturity question. From these answers, you can chart your course for what this will mean to your firm. The answers will define the process elements of maturity that will be needed to achieve your target state. But we need to define what risk maturity is in order to track progress towards it and to ensure that stakeholders are aligned around the chosen components.

In our RIMS session, I reviewed the common components among the numerous risk maturity models that are most often used. Here’s one generic set of attributes of maturity:1

  • Specifically defined appetite and tolerances for managing risk
  • Management support for the defined risk culture and direct ties to the corporate culture
  • Disciplined risk process aligned with other functional areas
  • Process for uncovering unknown and/or poorly understood risks
  • Effective analysis and measurement of risk, both quantitatively and qualitatively
  • Collaborative focus on a resilient and sustainable enterprise

The first, and I think most thoroughly developed model, comes from the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS).2 It was developed some ten years ago or so, but remains in my opinion a simple yet comprehensive view of the seven most important factors that inform risk maturity and that, when well-implemented, should drive an effective approach to managing any risk within your purview.

The components of the RIMS model include:

  • Adopting an enterprise-wide approach, supported by executive management, which is aligned well with other relevant functions
  • Determining the degree to which repeatable and scalable process is integrated in the business and culture
  • Determining the degree of accountability for managing risk to a detailed appetite and tolerance strategy
  • Determining the degree of discipline applied in using the elements of good root cause analysis
  • Determining the degree to which a robust emerging risk process is used to uncover uncertainties to goal achievement
  • Determining the degree to which the vision and strategy are executed considering risk and risk management
  • Determining the degree to which resiliency and sustainability are integrated between operational planning and risk process

Like all risk management strategies, no two models I’ve seen are exactly the same and there is no one way to accomplish maturity. Importantly, every risk leader needs to do for his or her organization what the organization needs and will support.

During our session, I touched on two other maturity models and concepts and contrasted them with the RIMS model. The first of those other models is the Aon model3 which, like RIMS’ model, enables multiple levels of maturity and methodology for charting progress towards an ideal state sought. Unique characteristics of the Aon model include:

  • Assurance that the board understands and is committed to the risk strategy
  • Effective risk communications
  • Emphasis on the ties among culture, engagement and accountability
  • Stakeholder participation in risk management activities
  • Use of risk information for decision-making
  • Demonstration value

This is not to say that the RIMS model ignores these issues; simply, a different emphasis is made between the models.

The third model we discussed is from Protiviti4 on risk maturity as it relates to the board of directors’ accountability for risk oversight. A few highlights of their perspective include:

  • Emphasis on the risks that matter most
  • Alignment between policies and processes
  • Effective education and use of people and their place in the organization
  • Assurance that assumptions are supportable and understood
  • Board’s knowledge of asking the right questions
  • Understanding of the relationship to capability maturity frameworks

Certainly the good governance of organizations is critical to ultimate success and the board’s role in it is the apex of that consideration. If the board is engaged and accountable for ensuring their risk oversight responsibility is effectively executed, the successful execution of the strategy is likely and, by inference, risk will have been effectively managed as well.

This background information provides the foundation for the KPC case, summarizing key considerations for addressing a risk maturity strategy:

  • There is no one right approach; each organization must chart their own course aligned with their culture and priorities
  • Risk must be treated as an integral aspect of strategy
  • Like all corporate processes, there should be a focus on additive value
  • Risk maturity has helped secure documented valuation premium for studied users

My colleague from KPC illustrated the key tactics of her plan, how her maturity strategy related to corporate strategy and priorities, the specifics of what KPC accomplished over ten years of development and implementation, how risk and risk management drove performance results and what remains to be done to achieve their longer term aspirations. By listening to her insights, hearing about her ERM results, and learning more about the impact that has been achieved for her major, complex, corporate entity, risk managers we spoke with this week took a step toward being able to translate a successful ERM journey into a plan for their own and understanding key tactics to exploit and pitfalls to avoid as they craft risk management strategy.

I hope this insight helps you gain perspective, as well. To continue the ERM discussion, please join me and other influencers in our industry as we collaborate in the Enterprise Risk Management group on LinkedIn.

Chris Mandel
SVP, Strategic Solutions, Sedgwick
Director, Sedgwick Institute

 

1 Source: How Can Risk Maturity Model Benefit Your Risk Management, www.RiskMethods.net
2 Source: Why a Mature ERM Effort is Worth the Investment, RIMS, www.rims.org
3 Source: Aon, Inc., Risk Maturity Index, aon.com/rmi
4 Source: Protiviti Inc., Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight, www.protiviti.com

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Alpha SquareTime spent at RIMS is always worthwhile. We are fortunate to enjoy many opportunities to connect with friends, clients, colleagues and other industry partners, and it has been a pleasure spending time in San Diego this year. However, in the midst of all the activity, I believe those of us at #RIMS2016 have become keenly aware of the homeless population around us in this city.

After some research, my eyes were opened to the realities of the homeless issue here. California accounted for nearly 21% of the nation’s homeless population in 2015 and San Diego’s is the fourth largest homeless population among cities in the U.S. 48% of these individuals sleep on the streets. Last year, the total of homeless individuals here rose to 8,742 from 8,506 the prior year; it peaked at 10,013 in 2013. I learned all of these things through Alpha Project for the homeless, a San Diego organization empowering individuals, families and communities by providing work, recovery and support services to people who are motivated to change their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.

Alpha Project

Today, we visited the Alpha Square facility and had an opportunity to meet with Bob McElroy, President and CEO of Alpha Project. After seeing the facility and understanding their model for sustainable housing can make a real difference for the homeless, I am excited Sedgwick has decided to pledge $10,000 to help the Alpha Square facility in its efforts to care for over 200 residents who are no longer homeless. Alpha Project’s methodology is firmly entrenched in the idea that homeless individuals are an asset to the community when provided with opportunities rather than handouts. They offer affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for people with special needs, basic and emergency services for the homeless, transportation assistance, employment training, preparation and placement, education, outreach and prevention, and community services. Alpha Project strives not to manage homelessness, but rather to end it for its clients.

Alpha Project also supports individuals through mental health counseling; this aligns closely with Sedgwick’s focus on mental health and well-being, and we applaud the organization for working in such a proactive way to help individuals and families find appropriate care and resources. We know that one out of four people, or nearly 61 million Americans, suffer from mental illnesses, and we are committed to continuing the dialogue, finding ways to support individuals, helping them improve productivity and gain access to care, advocating for them in times of need, and reducing the inherent stigma attached to mental illness.

The people and organizations in our industry are known for their generosity. It has been incredible to see such continued and growing support for RIMS’ annual community service projects, as well as charitable initiatives through Kids Chance and the Spencer Educational Foundation. We were honored to sponsor and promote this year’s Spencer 5K Fun Run, which helped raise $50,000 for industry scholarship programs.

We encourage that giving spirit to spread even farther; join us in showing how caring counts℠ – pledge your own contributions to the Alpha Project at AlphaProject.org.

Jonathan Mast, Director Social Media, Sedgwick

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RJoinesEditor’s Note: Robin was awarded the prestigious Ron Judd Heart of RIMS Award at the 2016 Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annual conference in San Diego, CA. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the Memphis RIMS chapter and advancing the study of risk management throughout the area. Her fellow Sedgwick colleagues are very proud of Robin and her accomplishments on behalf of Sedgwick. Congratulations, Robin!

—–

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  -Benjamin Franklin

When I began my risk management career, I was completely overwhelmed. Everyone in the industry seemed to have their own language that I had not yet learned, and I was not sure that I would ever “get it.” Were it not for some key people who mentored me, learned alongside me, and some who did both, I would not be where I am today.

At an early point in my career, I was asked to participate in my local RIMS chapter and, despite my intimidation and hesitation, I agreed. I have never once regretted that choice. I made professional connections, learned more about my chosen industry, and began to feel like what I was doing mattered to risk management students and professionals outside of my company. As years passed, I became more deeply involved in Memphis chapter leadership, and was privileged enough to make critical connections (and dear friends) at the RIMS Society headquarters in New York. Through conversations with these individuals about how I could become more involved, I volunteered and was fortunate enough to be selected for the Society’s Member and Chapter Services Committee. Serving on this committee over the course of four years, in addition to making lifelong friends, I was able to see examples of amazing things that other chapters were doing to effect change in their areas, and was further inspired to contribute to my local chapter.

I have been told that it is “better to be lucky than good,” and this has proven to be more than true for me. I was lucky enough to become involved with several universities in the Mid-South through my work with the Memphis RIMS Chapter, and now have longstanding relationships with the remarkable faculty leadership at the University of Mississippi, University of Central Arkansas and Mississippi State University. Through my more recent involvement with the Spencer Educational Foundation, the RIMS Student Advisory Council and Gamma Iota Sigma, my involvement and educational connections have expanded to a national level, and I am continually heartened by the promise and energy that I see in our next generation of risk management leaders.

I have been privileged enough to recruit, hire, and cultivate two of the most amazing risk management professionals I know – Matt Neil at Wright Medical and Anna Bendgen at Sedgwick. I can hardly wait to see where their futures take them, and hope that I have had some small impact on their professional development and direction. Additionally, my remarkable daughter Judy, currently a sophomore in high school, is currently insistent that she wants to pursue a career in risk management. Judy has recently completed her school’s capstone project on the impact of the September 11th attacks on the interaction between business and insurance companies – specifically in regard to contract certainty and policy language, as well as the changes in emergency protocols and the prioritization of business continuity planning within companies, which was fundamentally altered at the company and federal level. Nothing could make me more proud than knowing that at the age of 15, she is already starting to “get it.” She is intrigued by what I do every day, seeing that no two days are the same, none of them are boring, and every single one of them is fulfilling.

I believe that volunteering and mentoring at any and every level is both crucial to the future success of the industry and necessary to cultivate the next generation. Serving as teachers, role models and ambassadors, we not only build new relationships and future professionals, but we strengthen our own connections to others in the industry, and are blessed enough to continually learn from each other.

Robin Joines, SVP Risk Management, Sedgwick

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RIMS2016Today I have the fortunate opportunity to present at RIMS 2016 with Scott Daniels, Director of Disability, Comcast on the topic of Achieving balance: Managing mental health and stress-related issues in the workplace. Mental illness is a leading cause of employee absence in America. Historically workers’ compensation stakeholders considered primarily the physical attributes of an illness; with culture of health advancements in communities and workplaces, we are seeing a broad shift of interest to whole person health, with physical and mental health receiving equal consideration of importance.

A 2015 Integrated Benefits Institute membership survey noted that four of the six most important issues in health and productivity, as ranked by employers, relate to mental health:

  • Workplace culture of health
  • Employee health engagement
  • Wellness and health promotion programs
  • Wellbeing

These issues are meaningful to the health of a workforce, regardless of how an accident or disease originates. Along with musculoskeletal disorders, mental and behavioral health is nearly always a leading cause of short-term disability.

Life events happen and when events have a negative impact on our lives, or even those we love and care about, we may require treatment for depression, stress or anxiety. Consideration for short-term intervention, or more for those with chronic mental illness, requires a proactive approach to engage employees with the treatment plan, improve the health experience during care, and manage work considerations.

How are employer health and productivity programs evolving to consider mental health? Risk managers, benefits leaders and disability directors are working together for improvements in total employee health, inclusive of mental and behavioral health. They are engaging knowledgeable consultants, claims administration firms, advocacy specialists and their own operations to increase awareness of access to care, excellence in healthcare and benefit programs which, in turn, drive engagement in health by the employee. An increased level of stakeholder involvement improves the organization’s understanding of claim trends and outcomes.

Employers advancing total health considerations, inclusive of physical and mental health and wellbeing, are acutely aware of mental health stigma in the workplace and within society, the importance of resilience and balance within employee health and productivity models, and the retention impact their programs have. A total health approach can make a major difference in workforce health, productivity and the top and bottom lines for business.

Special thanks to RIMS for selecting our session on mental health and stress-related issues in the workplace for this year’s annual conference. We are passionate about total employee health and are grateful for or the opportunity to share insights into Comcast’s program and evolving mental health solutions. For additional information and my take on why caring counts for mental health, take a look at these additional resources and continue to connect with both Sedgwick and I through social media and this blog.

Kimberly George, SVP, Corporate Development, M&A, and Healthcare

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2016-RIMS_Twitter-CC-countdown-graphics_032816Spring is a time of promise, inspiration and excitement and part of that annual anticipation is attending two of my favorite events – Sedgwick’s annual Most Valued Performer (MVP) awards and the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) conference. As I’ve prepared for these events, I have been reflecting on the important work our colleagues do. At Sedgwick, we take care of people and we do that because caring counts.℠

Each year, our colleagues take care of the needs of more than 2.6 million people who have something unexpected happen to them. More than 10,500 people contact us every day because they have a workplace injury, need time away for the birth of a child, experience a medical situation that will lead to time off of work, are involved in an auto accident or suffer property damage. They call us to help make things right.

Taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do at Sedgwick, and that matters. It matters to the consumers of our services – they count on us to support them through a complex process and advocate on their behalf. It matters to our customers – they count on us to guard their reputation by taking good care of their own employees, customers and property. It matters to our communities – they count on us to be responsible and giving neighbors. It matters to our colleagues – we support each other as part of the Sedgwick family.

During our recent MVP event, we recognized our outstanding performers. These individuals exemplify the values our more than 13,000 colleagues live every day. As I read through the MVP nominations, I saw evidence of how caring counts in every single one. What makes me most proud is that our colleagues come to work every day knowing that they make a difference in people’s lives.

Our first step this spring will be engaging in meaningful discussions with many of you next week during RIMS about why caring counts. I look forward to sharing more about how we are taking care of the business needs of our customers, contributing to our communities and supporting the betterment of our industry starting Sunday at #RIMS2016. I am proud that our colleagues will show the industry our revolutionary ideas for rethinking the claims process and taking a compassionate approach for consumers. I look forward to connecting with many of you next week and continuing the dialogue about why caring counts.

Dave North, President and CEO
Dave North, President & CEO

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It was my privilege to present along with Dr. Paul Peak of Sedgwick at the 2016 National RX Drug and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss dangerous prescribing practices and at-risk patients. The conference was highlighted by a public appearance by President Obama who spoke to those in attendance. One thing the President said that really resonated with me is that, even though there is a lot in the press about getting NARCAN in the hands of addicts, it is equally important that we find a way to prevent the addiction in the first place. President Obama was on a panel moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN and it included an ER doctor and a young woman who was a heroin addict. She had a very powerful story that demonstrated the need for more resources to quickly address life-threatening addictions. She shared that when she hit rock bottom and wanted to get into rehab she had to wait three weeks for approval.

The conference also emphasized the necessity for removing the stigma related to addiction and to treat addicts as individuals with a life-threatening disease. The most powerful thing at the conference was the summit’s “Life Counts Clock” which revealed an estimated 201 deaths due to opioid-related overdoses occurred during the conference. Statistics show that 78 people die every day in this country from drug overdoses. The leaders at the conference included governors, members of congress, business leaders and medical professionals who gathered to emphasize the urgency to find a comprehensive, multi-faceted solution for the national drug epidemic.

Our presentation, “Dangerous prescribing practices and at-risk patients” focused on three things:

  1. Identifying dangerous prescibing practices observed in management of workers’ compensation insurance claims
  2. Highlighting strategies that have proven successful in resolving dangerous prescribing practices
  3. Finding approaches to identify and manage high-risk claims within the workers’ compensation population

bestpracticesdrbartlett

I have provided a link to our full presentation at the end of this post. What I hope you can take away from this information is that it takes a team approach to really provide meaningful drug prevention and intervention strategies. At Sedgwick, our approach is proving extremely successful for the injured workers we help each day. Being an advocate for the injured worker is central to finding the best outcomes. Best practices to follow are:

  1. Preventing compound medication prescriptions
  2. Avoiding dangerous combinations of medications
  3. Using over-the-counter topical medications when needed
  4. Educating the physician and injured employee regarding the dangers of prescription drugs

These are straightforward and successful practices. In 2015, we showed that we care in our pharmacy program by decreasing the morphine equivalent dosage for impacted workers by 50% and we restored life for 640 people who were weaned from long-term opioid use. This is just one of the many ways having a successful program can make a difference.

I encourage you to view our slide presentation located here. Most importantly please leave your thoughts and comments here as Dr. Peak and I both are interested in hearing what you have to say on this important topic.

Dr. Teresa Bartlett, SVP, Medical Quality

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What does being the largest really mean?

Number-oneBusiness Insurance magazine recently released their annual TPA rankings and Sedgwick was again named the largest in the industry. We have been ranked the largest for over a decade based on revenue. Are we proud of that? Of course we are, but not for the reasons you may think. We are proud of it because being the biggest allows us to care more.

We care more about attracting and retaining talented colleagues. Recently, Sedgwick was recertified as an Employer of Choice® for the tenth time. This designation is granted to select businesses that achieve organizational objectives through excellence in leadership, culture and practices that attract, optimize and retain top talent. We earned the award based on survey results from our 13,000 colleagues and an independent third-party assessment of our culture, leadership, care of people and compensation and benefits practices. Sedgwick is the only risk and insurance services organization to receive the designation.

We care more about continually enhancing and expanding our services. To help customers manage medical costs, we introduced our proprietary provider benchmarking and search tool, which helps our team direct employees at the onset of an injury to quality providers with a proven history of superior claims outcomes. To help customers address the growing problem of escalating pharmacy costs and potential opioid abuse, we added complex pharmacy services provided by a team of specialized nurses and pharmacists who are dedicated to improving narcotic management on complex cases. These are just a few recent examples of how we are always looking for new ways to invest in solutions for our customers’ business challenges.

We care more about ensuring that our colleagues have state-of-the-art technology to help our consumers and customers achieve the best possible outcomes. We are also doing all we can to keep customers and consumers informed; with our cloud-based claims management tools, they have multiple ways to view their claims information and stay connected to their Sedgwick team.  We recently invested $25 million in software and system enhancements and have an annual technology spend of $100 million.

We care more about providing a positive experience to our consumers. When someone has a workplace injury or illness, is in an automobile accident or suffers property damage at their business, it can be a stressful time. When something unexpected like this happens, a Sedgwick colleague reaches out to the person immediately after a claim is reported to ask how they are doing, make sure they have access to quality medical providers if they are injured, set expectations, answer questions, explain the roles and responsibilities of the team, and assist them throughout the process.

We care more about our industry. Because of Sedgwick’s breadth and depth of experience across many lines of business and industries, we are uniquely able to share perspectives on diverse topics of interest to our industry through webinars, articles, Sedgwick’s edge magazine, presentations at industry conferences, our blog, the Sedgwick Connection and on social media. We also recently introduced the Sedgwick Institute, an interdisciplinary community of thought leaders dedicated to elevating the dialogue around issues impacting the risk and benefits industry. We feel it is our responsibility to join in the conversation wherever our consumers and customers need us.

 We care more about the communities in which we work and live, and we encourage our colleagues to share in this spirit. We have donated our time and financial support to multiple organizations over the years such as Enable Community Foundation, which helps people with upper limb differences who need a prosthetic hand; Kids’ Chance of America, which provides scholarships for children of workers seriously injured or killed on the job; as well as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the American Red Cross. Our colleagues have also taken advantage of our corporate matching program with various fundraising projects and donations for disaster relief efforts, military care packages, breast cancer research and many local charities.

We are humbled to again be named the #1 TPA by Business Insurance because being the largest allows us to care more about the things that matter most to our clients, consumers, industry and communities.

Dave North, President and CEO
Dave North, President & CEO

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RMSwebinar-Advocacy-AdvantageWorkers’ compensation is complex, process-intensive and sometimes confusing — as we in the industry know. When an injured employee who is unfamiliar with it attempts to navigate the system, the complexities can be daunting, sometimes leading to frustration, fear, disengagement and, even worse, litigation. Employers and others are discovering the value of providing transparent communication, compassionate care and a focus on the employee experience as part of a more encompassing advocacy approach. We’ve been hearing increasingly about advocacy as an industry buzzword and focus, but when we get to the heart of it, what kind of impact is the trend toward advocacy really making in the industry? Is it just a big idea or is it prompting real change and adding value to our processes to benefit the people at the center of workers’ compensation?

I believe we are on the leading edge of a true paradigm shift in workers’ compensation in America. The workers’ compensation system hasn’t materially changed in nearly 100 years, but as we speak with more and more industry leaders at events like the recent Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation workshop ahead of the WCRI Conference in Boston and this week’s Business Insurance Risk Management Summit, it’s evident that momentum is building around a logical, yet very simple, approach to injured worker communication and engagement that is based in compassion and built on trust. Employers are starting to find the value in real-world application and are seeing tangible results. I have been fortunate to see these results take shape firsthand as many Sedgwick partners have become early adopters of the approach.

At its core, advocacy is about doing the right thing, simplifying the process and removing potential conflict from interactions with injured workers during the claim adjudication process to expedite a healthy and appropriate return to employment and productivity. It may take the form of providing assistance and access to quality healthcare, explaining the “process” of workers’ compensation, setting expectations on timelines, benefit rates, forms they will see, what they should expect when they are ready to return to work, or coordinating resources to ensure the employee’s welfare remains at the forefront throughout the treatment and recovery process. The approach taken doesn’t always look the same, but the result usually does. The injured worker experience is enhanced and the ultimate outcome for all is consistently positive.

Some companies may use in-house advocates, and safety or wellness departments with outsourced support. Others may look to a partner to incorporate an advocacy approach on their behalf. For example, one of our customers is employing an outsourced model with an advocate/clinical team partnership on the front end of an event. Immediately following a first report of injury, the advocate calls the injured employee to answer questions, resolve concerns and provide guidance and reassurance. They are bringing the clinical specialist onto the line and, together, helping direct employees to the right healthcare provider and navigate the claims process as a team.

The key is that you can’t fake advocacy, and you don’t have to. The change must be authentic and fit within your corporate culture. It’s not that hard and I am sure it’s what your organization and your culture is already about. It’s likely just messaging through actions. All employers can make changes to improve the injured worker experience after they suffered an unanticipated and unwanted injury at work. When we familiarize injured employees with the workers’ compensation process and work together to make care easy and effective, we are not just making workers’ comp better, we are making people better.

AdvocacyIf you are interested in hearing additional perspective and real-life examples of advocacy in action, join the upcoming Business Insurance Risk Management Summit follow-up webinar on March 31, where two proactive employers, who have embraced employee advocacy as an integral part of their claims program, join Sedgwick to talk about putting it into practice. The time for change is now; we invite you to be a part of it and learn more about the advocacy advantage.

Scott Rogers, EVP, Casualty Operations, Sedgwick