3 Unique Use Cases for Captives, From VCIA 2019

Every year for over a decade, Spring has sent team members to Burlington, Vermont in late summer for the annual Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) conference. As a leading US Captive domicile, Vermont has long been at the forefront of captive expansion and policy, and their yearly summit brings together some of the best and the brightest in the industry. This VCIA in particular was special for me personally, as I was recognized as an emerging professional in the field. It is always special when you win an award, more so, when it is your peers who recognize you.Captive Review Award Winner 2019

As per usual, seminars covered a wide range of topics, from drones and artificial intelligence, to ROI, reinsurance negotiation and tax updates. However, after taking the time time to reflect on what really stuck with me from the conference (and to jot it all down), I realized that many were interested in the different, perhaps untraditional ways to use a captive. As such, I am sharing some key takeaways centered around that theme below.

  1. Product & Program Innovation

Not only are captives in and of themselves are a mode of innovation, but they also serve to proliferate further innovation, in terms of coverage lines, products and program structures.  In one Innovation Spotlight session, edHEALTH and HCMS Group highlighted their use of captives to reduce health spend, implement population health management and develop predictive modeling. In “Captive as Laboratory”, Steve McElhiney and Ed Koral covered emerging and future risks, encouraging the audience to think about what unique risks their organization faces, both internally and externally. They then discussed how to use a captive to provide a tailor risk
offering with potential risk support, for risks such as TRIA or contingent business interruption.

  1. Group Health Plans

Unfortunately for both employers and employees, the unaffordable healthcare trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Reducing healthcare spend is a key component of many organizations’ captives, as they allow for more control and transparency. Beyond that, there is an opportunity for captives to serve as a group health exchange structure for like organizations who band together. As mentioned above, edHEALTH is a great example of a group of higher education institutions joining together for group purchasing power for health and other benefits. Further, Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry, spoke on Association Health Plans, which have hit some regulatory hurdles, but have a clear tie to the self-insured captive model. This session featured a case study on Agri-Services Agency, a subsidiary of the Dairy Farmers of America, who is in the process of using a captive to allow for the provision of group healthcare for its diverse membership, many of whom reside in rural areas or are sole proprietors.

 

  1. Retention

“Utilizing a Captive as a Talent Retention Tool” brought a different angle to the benefits and use cases of captives. The presentation emphasized how captives can boost employee benefits in a noticeable way to the end-user: the employee. Captives also create unique roles and responsibilities within an organization that enable valuable experience and growth for employees.

 

As you see, in between an exciting awards ceremony for myself and Spring, and plenty of dinner and cocktail receptions, I was certainly still able to further my industry knowledge and I met a lot of great people along the way. We are already looking forward to VCIA’s 2020 conference and hope to see you there!

4 Areas That Kept Popping Up at the DMEC Annual Conference

Now that the dust has settled and we are even ahead to next year’s conference, we’ve had the time to reflect on key learnings from the 2019 DMEC Annual Conference. Spring, and myself, have been active participants in the organization’s events and programs for many years, and the Annual Conference is one of the industry’s largest hubs for thought leadership. This year was no exception. Between cocktail receptions and dueling piano bar outings, there was a lot of knowledge shared among the (approximately) 500 professionals who came together from August 5th-8th in the D.C. metropolitan area.

As a general practice, we at Spring like to reinforce a conference’s highlights by putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and jotting them down to share with our colleagues. While the pre-conference material was focused on behavioral health in the workplace, there were four other hot topics that we couldn’t help but notice creating a thematic backbone to the main conference. Generally, what piques people’s interest most at a conference like DMEC is a good indicator of trends in the HR and benefits market at large. So, here they are!

  1. Paid Leave

I wasn’t surprised that paid leave was on a lot of people’s minds at the conference. After all, eight states and Washington D.C. have now enacted statewide paid leave policies, and there are several more, similar legislations being proposed in other states. While this is all great progress for the American workforce, it does complicate things from an HR and leave administration and compliance perspective. Various DMEC presenters were out to share their experience to help employers across the country who are grappling with the policies.

 

There was, “A Case Study: Developing a Paid Parental Leave Program”, which walked the audience through Halliburton’s approach. We also heard from an attorney on how to design a compliant paid sick leave policy, and in “They’re Here! A Deep Dive Into Paid Family and Medical Leaves”, we were given a national, trend-based overview as well as a granular, state-by-state look at the existing paid family and medical leave programs, as well as tips for employers getting started with a program.

  1. Data

Not all of the work of benefits and disability management professionals is always at the forefront of a business, but it sure does make an impact. As such, there was a heavy focus on the data and numbers behind all of that work being done. In “Got ROI?”, led by two of our Senior Vice Presidents, Teri Weber and Karen English, data was name of the game  – what types to look for, how to collect it, how to measure success, and how to take numbers and turn them into actionable insights.

 

Further, one session focused on paid leave data, and how it ties into corporate communications, cyber security and onboarding. CoreHealth Technologies presented on data specifically for healthcare organizations, focusing on their unique challenges. Lastly, in “How to Use Absence and Disability Data to Understand Your Workforce”, discussions revolved around turning health and populatio

Employee Absence Management

n data into insights you can use for various early intervention tactics.

 

  1. Employee Experience

It’s the employee’s world and we’re just living in it. Not really, but there was a definite emphasis at DMEC on the customer, which in many cases means the employee. Our very own Teri Weber led a workshop called “Your Self-Audit Checklist”, which, at its core, is really centered around making processes more seamless and compliant-friendly so that employee and employer alike have a more pleasant work environment. Another session revolved around advocacy, and how it can be used to elevate the employee experience. In “Winning the War for Talent by Perfecting the Employee Experience”, a panel discussed the importance of the employee experience for retention and recruitment, and suggested strategies for improvement.

 

  1. ADA/FMLA

With a name like Disability Management Employer Coalition, the ADA and FMLA are always prevalent at the conference. This year, however, with the DOL’s proposal of form changes for FMLA and several high-profile court cases around both policies, we wanted to make sure to note it yet again as a pressing priority for professionals in this space. The topic(s) appeared in the following presentations:

  • “It’s Complicated: The Always-Evolving ADA/FMLA Relationship”, which covered how shifts in technology and business needs necessitates pivots to your FMLA and ADA approach.
  • “Opioids and the ADA/FMLA”, where a doctor and a representative from Lincoln Financial Group discussed the opioid epidemic, how it came about, how it impacts the workplace, what to watch out for and how to develop employer policies and strategies for prevention and management.
  • “Reducing Your ADA Burden by Implementing a Return to Work Strategy” outlined myths and benefits of return-to-work and stay-at-work programs, an employer’s ADA obligations, EEOC guidelines and tips for a successful program.
  • “FMLA/ADA Lessons Learned: Jury Verdicts, Settlements & Recent Court Cases” provided an overview of court cases like Gunter v. Bemis Company, Hawkins v. Grinnel Regional Medical Center, Jacobs v. Wal-Mart Stores, and Ramirez v. Jack in the Box. The presenters reiterated what it means to be compliant in areas such as reasonable accommodations and “essential job functions”, so that employers in the audience were better equipped to prevent having their own court case on their hands one day.

I hope you found our event recap useful. From attending great industry events like DMEC, we know that sharing knowledge is the best way to make progress, so we wanted to pay it forward. You might also be interested in this summary on another session my colleague Karen English led, called “The RFP Process: A Deep Dive”.

We are already looking forward to – and planning for – DMEC’s two annual conferences next year.

Spring Wins Two of Captive Review’s 2019 Awards

We are incredibly excited to announce that the Spring team had a great night this past Monday at the CaCaptive Review Award Winner 2019ptive Review awards reception in Burlington, Vermont.

Spring took home the award for Employee Benefits Specialist of the year, and our Senior Consultant, Prabal Lakhanpal, won the Emerging Talent award for service professionals.

Our team works tirelessly day in and day out to deliver the best, research-driven and innovative service to our clients, with the goal of always producing tangible results. All of our staff is encouraged to participate in educational and industry related events and organizations so they can continue to build their skills and knowledge, and Prabal is a prime example of this development and growth. Always at the forefront of employee benefits and how they intersect with captives, we are constantly thinking outside-the-box to help clients fund competitive benefits packages that makes sense for their organization, its culture and its risk profile. This has been a particularly strong year for us, and we thank Captive Review for the recognition.

Spring to Speak in 3 Sessions at DMEC Annual Conference

As a long-time sponsor and advocate for the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), Spring is excited to continue our involvement in this year’s annual conference.

The event, which takes place from August 5-8 in Washington, D.C., will bring together around 500 professionals in HR, Benefits, Disability and Absence Management fields, and is sure to be a thought-provoking and fun few days. This year, Spring team members will be featured a few times on the conference agenda:DMEC Annual Conference

  • Launching Your Organization’s Self-Audit Checklist: Tuesday, August 6th, 3:35PM
    Senior Vice President Teri Weber will be running this short quick-dive session, which will guide audience members on effectively conducting an internal compliance audit.
  •  The RFP Process: A Deep Dive: Wednesday, August 7th, 2:30PM
    Teri Weber and Senior Vice President Karen English will be joined by clients on this panel that outlines the who, what, and the how of conducting an RFP. Best practices and case studies will be shared.
  • Got ROI?: Thursday, August 8th, 9:30AM
    In this general session, Karen, Teri and Disability Management professionals from Baystate Health Systems and Chevron will speak to how to determine if an absence management program is producing ROI. The audience will be left with a framework to overcome common challenges and learn from the success of large employers.

So, if you are heading to the DMEC Annual Conference, be sure to catch us at one (or all!) of these sessions, and say hello to our team at booth #312. We promise good conversation and fun giveaways!

Spring to Speak at VCIA 2019

Our team has long been involved with the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA), an organization that has done much to advance the captive industry in one of the country’s strongest captive domiciles. The VCIA Annual Conference is a hot event in this sphere, bringing over 800 professionals together each year in Burlington, Vermont to share their experienceCaptive Insurance and learn from each other.

This year, not only is Spring an exhibiting sponsor at VCIA, but our Managing Partner, Karin Landry, will also be leading a session, Association Health Plans & Captives: New Regulations, New Opportunities. This advanced session will feature a panel and will cover why Association Health Plans (AHPs) came to be, the shifting regulatory landscape around them, where that leaves us today, and an employer case study that ties in captives. The session will represent multiple perspectives: the consultant, the attorney, and the insurer.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, August 7th from 10-11AM. We hope you can join, but if not, be sure to say hello to our team at booth 44 at VCIA!

Spring to Present at RIMS 2019

This year the annual Risk Management Society (RIMS) conference is in our neck of the woods, which is very exciting! We are looking forward to playing host and showing colleagues and clients around town.

RIMS is one of the most renowned events in the risk management and insurance spaces, for which we have been proud sponsors and participants for over a decade. This year, we are delighted to not only be a sponsoring exhibitor, but to be speaking as well. Spring’s Senior Actuarial Consultant and Property & Casualty Practice Lead, Peter Johnson, will be leading a session, “IBNR: Your View Versus the Actuary’s” on Tuesday, April 30th from 1:30-2:30PM. He will be joined by Lynn Tenerowicz, Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Baystate Health. The pair will be doing a deep dive on Incurred But Not Reported (IBNR) claims, covering:RIMS 2019 Speaker

  • Term definition
  • The differences between your view as the employer and an actuary’s on reporting and calculations
  • Different reserving methods and their pros and cons
  • IBNR industry trends and benchmarks across different coverage and benefit lines
  • Loss development methods
  • The effects of claim frequency and severity
  • The impact of IBNR on a company’s financials

The presentation will include a case study and plenty of graphics to help paint the picture for you. This session is great for risk and claims managers of all industries, or anyone simply looking to learn more about financials.

We hope you can make it! But if you can’t, please be sure to stop by booth 579 to chat with our team throughout the 3-day event.

CICA 2019: Preparing for the Future by Learning from the Past

Event Recap

We are off the heels of another great Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) annual conference. This year, I was happy to escape Boston’s cold and head to Tucson, Arizona from March 10th-12th for a few days learning, networking, and as you see here, some impromptu sight-seeing. CICA 2019This was Spring’s 12th year attending and being involved with the CICA event, and I wanted to share what we view as the key takeaways and over-arching theme of the conference: preparing for the future – captives and otherwise.

It’s true what they say, that you can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t understand where you’ve been. So before we dive into the future-focused learnings of CICA 2019, we can set the stage with “Captive History: Lessons Learned Through the Years”, where a panel of “Michaels” led the audience on a trip down memory lane. They started with the 1920’s, brought us to the first captive in 1950s, and landed where we are now, with over 6,000 captives in existence worldwide. They covered key lessons learned from factors such as:

  • Corporate globalization
  • Domicile specialization
  • Access to internet

And others.

A number of sessions around regulatory and tax updates help illustrate the current captive landscape, such as “Regulatory Hot Topics”, “Captive Tax Developments – What They Are and What They Mean”, and “Addressing the Extra-Domicile Regulatory and Premium Tax Risks”.

Now that we’ve addressed the past and present, I believe the true emphasis at CICA this year was the future. Here are all the ways in which this theme came into play.

The Next Generation

The captive industry has a range of talent thought leaders and experts, but a fair amount of attention went to making sure the next generation is prepared to take over.

  • In “Shaping the Captive Leaders of the Future”, Courtney Claflin of the University of California and John Prescott of Johnson Lambert highlight the importance of recognizing an aging workforce and reacting accordingly. Among other advice, they recommended campus recruiting, internship programs, emerging leader programs, and data and technology as recruiting methods.
  • During “Succession Planning: Has Your Company Begun?”, a panel offered training and development best practices as well as on-boarding and transition guidelines.
  • “Keys to Succeeding as a Young Professional in the Captive Industry: Mentorship” was another discussion centered around bolstering the younger workforce demographic for not only successful careers, but for a strong industry as well.
  • CICA has always been focused on education, so it’s no surprise that students had a seat at the table at the conference. Specifically, one session spoke to bridging the gap between the classroom and the office environment, while another served as a spotlight on Butler University’s student-run captive.

The Geo-Political Landscape

The captive industry, and the insurance industry at large, are among those that can be most impacted by changes in the political and/or environmental climates. Thus, in speaking about the future, these areas were important to reflect upon.

  • A session led by Jason Flaxbeard, Jim Bulkowski and Eric Bishop spoke to changes in US tax reform, technology, corporate governance, cyber and more to emphasize the dynamics at play. They then speculated whether these new risks can be seen as an advantage, a danger, or both for captives.
  • During “The Political Climate and the Future of Captives”, the audience was led through some “Hotspots of 2019”, such as Brexit, the substance requirement for captives, and Association Health Plans. For each scenario, they outlined key lessons to be taken by captive and risk professionals.

Innovation

If we as an industry can’t continue to innovate as the industries around us do, I don’t need to tell you that the outcome won’t be great. The following topics shed light on how captives can adopt creative strategies for future growth.

  • Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry, led a panel discussion on the opportunities for integrating workers’ compensation and disability through a captive. This is an emerging trend which we see larger employers moving toward, and the session offered strategical advice and case studies revealing tangible results of an integrated approach.
  • One Captives 101 session spoke to captives themselves as vehicles of innovation, stressing their importance for a stable and blossoming organization.
  • Andrew Rennick and Ryan Ralston presented innovative solutions for micro-captives, which have recently taken some press hits. Enterprise Risks, Extended Warranties and Product Recalls were some of the use cases they went through.
  • We can’t talk about the future and captives without mentioning cyber, can we? One session reviewed an AM Best and Guidewire Cyence Report to educate the audience on breach expenses, cyber market growth, and modeled carrier portfolios.
  • Speaking of topics trending in the industry, Steve McElhiney of EWI Re spoke to blockchain technology and its ties to captives through a case study. He listed several potential captive blockchain examples, such as exposure management, medical captives, and RRGs.

 

All in all, the conference was certainly valuable for industry professionals of all types and levels of experience. Myself and the rest of the Spring team are already looking forward to next year’s event, and putting these recent learnings to work!

Spring to Speak at 2019 CICA International Conference

The Spring team is excited to once again break from Boston’s cold winter and head to Arizona for the 2019 Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) annual international conference, which takes place from March 10th to 12th in TucsonCICA 2019 Conference

Spring has been involved with the annual CICA event for over a decade, and has acted as a sponsor, exhibitor, and speaker in the past. This year, Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry, will be leading a session, “Getting Smart with Lost Time: Integrating Workers Comp & Disability”, on Monday, March 11th at 2:15 PM. The discussion will center around the advantages of integration between programs and the related trends, challenges and approaches. We will also cover optimization and impacts on various stakeholders. Several case studies will demonstrate cost savings opportunities as well as the different strategies available. The audience will leave with a framework for implementation and be able to draw upon real-life examples and best practices from large, leading global organizations.

We hope you have the chance to stop by Karin’s session, or at least find one of our team members amidst the workshops and networking opportunities to chat in person.