Spring Consulting Group Receives First Patent for Captive Funding of Employee and Retiree Benefits

(Boston, MA July 2010) On July 20, 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent No.7,761,352 entitled “Program for Alternative Funding of Employee and Retiree Benefits” to Spring Consulting Group, LLC. The patent relates to a system and method for configuring, optimizing, managing and tracking alternative funding of employee and retiree benefits and benefit plans. Spring is the first company to develop the patented technology enabling alternative funding of employee and retiree benefits.

Over the last decade employers have been forced to seek alternative funding methods that will deliver greater cost control and predictability in response to ever-increasing employee and retiree benefits expenses. Retiree medical and pension obligations, for example, can represent a multi-million dollar balance sheet liability for many companies.

Spring’s patented funding process enables organizations to manage and stabilize these costs while still ensuring benefit coverage for employees and retirees.

Karin Landry, Managing Partner at Spring said: “The team at Spring has been building innovative employee and retiree benefit funding methodologies for some of the most sophisticated organizations in the U.S. and overseas. I am very pleased that our innovation in this field has been recognized in the form of a patent.”

Spring Wins Top Employee Benefits Consultant

(Boston, MA June 2010) Spring, the parent company of Spring Consulting Group, an internationally recognized consulting firm is pleased to announce and congratulate two of their own; Karen English, Partner and Teri Weber, Partner on being named Top Employee Benefits Consultant 2011 by Risk & Insurance in the Voluntary/Disability category. The Top Employee Benefits Consultant Award identifies benefit brokers and consultants who have done extraordinary work for their clients during the past year. Candidates were judged by an independent panel of industry experts on the following criteria:

  • Client service
  • Creativity and innovation in problem?solving
  • Cost?savings and quality improvements
  • Insurance and benefits expertise

“Putting it all Together”, that’s how Risk & Insurance describes the work Karen English does. Karen is committed to researching how disability, absence and health management programs can be integrated and then using that research to develop employee focused solutions that provide cost savings for the employer. She is praised by her clients because of her diverse knowledge of the disability marketplace but also how disability relates to absences in general and her ability to deliver a really clear picture of what that looks like.

With the recent amendment to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Risk & Insurance describes the work Teri Weber does as “Perfect Timing”. Teri’s continued efforts to educate employers on the importance of integrating disability management with total absence management programs have never been so important. She recently assisted a disability carrier in expanding their products to include Family and Medical Leave Act administration and total absence management, but it was her research that led her to develop and implement a solution that allowed the carrier to enter the marketplace quickly. Teri is praised by her clients because of her ability to create clear and consistent communications for employees around total absence management programs; mitigating the employer’s exposure to risk for discrimination.

Spring Consulting Group Partner is Lead Editor on DMEC's Tools of the Trade

(BOSTON, MA, September 2009) – In the current economy, employers are searching for ways to contain the rising costs of healthcare, maximize their benefits programs and maintain compliance with ever changing regulations. DMEC’s newest publication “Tools of the Trade” is a comprehensive guide for integrating absence, disability and productivity programs which can help employers cut costs.

Spring Consulting Group, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to companies of all sizes and industries, worked with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) to publish the “Tools of the Trade” guide, which was released during the DMEC 2009 Annual International Conference in July.

Karen Trumbull English, CPCU, ARM, one of Spring’s founding partners, was the lead editor and co-author of this publication. Several other members of the Spring team, including Teri Weber and Karin Landry, contributed to the publication, which contains over 260 pages of information from industry experts. Whether it be starting an initiative, reviewing legal compliance, developing processes, metrics or ROI, “Tools of the Trade” should be on every benefit professional’s desk.

“Tough economic times are forcing many organizations to take on parts of projects themselves or at least be more directive with external resources,” says Karen. “Tools of the Trade recognizes that organizations are at different places with their integration efforts, and attempts to ‘meet them where they are’ by covering the different topics they may be considering.”

Spring Consulting Group, LLC to Attend CICA 2009 International Conference

(BOSTON, MA, February 2009) – Spring Consulting Group, LLC, provides strategic consulting services to employers, captive and traditional insurers and financial services organizations, and will be attending and exhibiting at the 2009 CICA International Conference in Palm Springs, CA March 8-10, 2009.

As the economic climate forces companies to tighten their belts, many are searching for money saving solutions. Recently, Spring has assisted several clients in funding employee benefits in a captive. Savings in this area can be very significant and easily implemented.

At the conference, Karin Landry, Spring’s managing partner, will discuss the effect of CICA’s Best Practices Guidelines and the next step in providing best practices to the captive industry during the Best Practices Follow Up session on Monday, March 9, 2009 at 1:45 p.m. She will also be moderating a discussion of Effective Claims Management on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 12:30 p.m.

To learn more about funding employee benefits in a captive, visit Spring’s captive experts at Booth #30 at the 2009 CICA International Conference.

Steven Keshner Joins Spring Consulting Group, LLC

(BOSTON, MA, January 2009) – Spring Consulting Group, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to insurance, financial services and health care organizations, announced that Steven Keshner, FSA, MAAA has joined their team as the Chief Actuary. Steven has over 25 years of actuarial, financial, underwriting and strategic insurance experience. He provides leadership to Spring’s actuarial team and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the pricing and financial arenas of life and health insurance.

“We are excited to have an industry leader with Steven’s reputation join our firm,” said Karin Landry, Spring’s managing partner. “His depth of experience will add greatly to our capabilities and help to drive growth.” Prior to joining Spring, Steven was the Senior Vice President, CFO and Chief Actuary of Nippon Life Benefits in New York, a subsidiary of Nippon Life Insurance Company, a global mutual life insurer. At Nippon, he directed and built the actuarial and underwriting functions including pricing, product development, and valuation by building a staff of accomplished professionals utilizing best business practices and state-of-the-art technology.

Steven also led the development and implementation of numerous strategic initiatives including building alternative distribution utilizing third party administrators and re-sourcing insurance services to gain cost efficiencies and access to a broad scope of products.

As Appointed Actuary, Steven assured reserves and other actuarial financial statement items were adequate. He also spearheaded product initiatives focused on improving rate competitiveness including tighter medical plan designs and product language, consumer driven health plans, and value added benefits such as low cost, minimally underwritten LTD plans. Steven earned a B.S. in accounting from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Steven is also qualified as an Appointed Actuary, which allows him to sign off on reserves.

Karin Landry Receives GBA Designation

(BOSTON, MA, December 2008) Karin Landry, managing partner of Spring Consulting Group, LLC, is now designated a Group Benefits Associate (GBA) by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

The GBA designation focuses on healthcare and other group benefits and represents professional and academic achievement. Karin received this designation as a result of the successful completion of a series of examinations. She continues this series of exams towards other designations in the field of employee benefits and compensation.

Karin has over 20 years of experience in the insurance, health care, risk financing and benefits industries. She is an internationally recognized leader in captive insurance strategy, benefits and financing. Karin serves on committees for several industry organizations.

Spring Releases Results of Captive Best Practices Survey

(BOSTON, MA, October 2008) – Spring Consulting Group, LLC, which provides consulting services to employers and financial services organizations, released the results of their Captive Best Practices Survey.

The survey, which was based on a number of industry findings, including CICA’s Captive Best Practice Guidelines, was created as a baseline of where captives are today in the areas of business alignment, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.

The survey included primarily pure captives from the manufacturing, services, pharmaceutical and mining industries and tax-exempt organizations. Specific information about the survey participants was gathered and analyzed including captive premiums, years of operation, domiciles, type of captive, lines of coverage and benefits in a captive. Some key results of the study are below:

  • 60% of survey participants have a captive manager on their board
  • 31% of survey participants have introduced an Independent Director on their board
  • 7% of survey participants are rated
  • 25% of survey participants operate multiple captives
  • Average years of operation totaled 12.6 years with a high of 35 years and a low of 8 months
  • An average of 60% are or have considered using their captive for employee benefits funding
  • Only 45% use benchmarks to manage operations
  • The most commonly used benchmarks are Reserves to surplus (31%) and Premium to surplus (32%)

Survey participants were also asked their opinions on issue affecting the future of captives. The largest percentage of participants was concerned about tax regulations, while only 4% were concerned about the arising issue of Solvency II.

* Call (617) 589-0930 for a copy of the complete study.

Spring Consulting Group, LLC Adds a New Partner

(BOSTON, MA, October 2008) – Spring Consulting Group, LLC, announced that Teri Weber has become a partner at the firm.

Teri joined Spring in 2005 as a senior consultant. Prior to joining Spring, Teri worked with Watson Wyatt, Buck Consultants and AON Consulting. In addition, she was an Account Manager with Health Direct, Inc, a disability management company. Teri earned a BS at the University of Connecticut and a MBA at the University of Massachusetts. She is a licensed insurance broker in several states, and is currently pursuing an ACI designation with ICCIE.

She has ten years of experience in health and welfare plan strategy, design, pricing, and implementation. She also works with absence management programs, including disability, family medical leave and leave of absence tracking.

“Teri brings a wealth of experience and insight to our leadership team,” said Karin Landry, Spring’s managing partner. “Her addition to Spring’s team of partners will help build our intellectual capital and further enhance our ability to address our clients’ increasingly complex needs in the employee benefits arena.”