Spring to Sponsor RIMS 2018 Annual Conference

RIMS 2018

Spring team at RIMS 2017

It’s been a busy conference season for us here at Spring, and it’s not over yet! We are excited to be sponsoring and exhibiting at this year’s RIMS (The Risk Management Society) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas from April 15th – 18th. Spring has been actively involved with the RIMS organization for over a decade and we are pleased to continue this partnership. Further, after having just endured three Nor’Easters in a two-week span, we are ready to pack our bags for warmer weather!

The event boasts an incredible turnout each year, and we’re sure this year will be no exception with an expected audience size of almost 3,000. This ties in well with the 2018 theme, “Go Big.” RIMS is one of the best events for risk managers to network, learn and share ideas. The four-day conference combines a good mix of work and play and brings an impressive list of talent when it comes to speakers and content. We’re particularly excited to see Jay Leno!

If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you will be at RIMS too, so please don’t forget to come say hi to us at booth #753. We’ll have giveaways, raffle prizes and more, and we’d love to chat with you!

Spring to Speak About Absence Management at the IBI Annual Forum

This is a busy time of year for the Spring team when it comes to conferences, and we’re excited to announce that one of our Partners, Karen English, will be speaking on a panel at this year’s Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) Annual Forum. We have sponsored and been involved with the organization for many years now, and we look forward to continued participation as we join other benefits professionals for another thought-provoking summit. This year’s conference will be held from March 12th-14th in San Francisco and boasts about 25 different educational sessions, along with networking opportunities like a dinner cruise.Employee Benefits Conference

As a speaker, Karen will be in good company, with other IBI Forum sessions being led by representatives from companies including Delta Airlines, Prudential Financial, Walmart, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Walgreens and many others. On Wednesday, March 14th  from 8-9 AM, Karen will join Gene Lanzoni of The Guardian Life Insurance Company, Claudia Ruggiero of Chevron and Kerry Daley of Robert Half International.

The presentation, entitled “Evolving Your Absence Management Strategy: Let’s Talk Best Practices” will provide an overview of the different companys’ absence management programs, best practices and how it all works for that company based on things like corporate culture. The need to constantly adapt and modify your program will be stressed, a concept that will be demonstrated with specific examples.

Attendees of this session can expect to come away with strategies for identifying trends in your absence management program, tips for how to take action and implement changes, an understanding of key metrics to consider and more. If you’re wondering how to keep your absence management program updated and running with optimal efficiency, don’t miss out on this presentation!

With a Nor’Easter coming our way, we’re especially excited to head out to California, and we’re never disappointed by the quality of content or turnout at the IBI Annual Forum. Hope to see you there!

Spring to Lead Two Sessions at This Year’s CICA Conference

The Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) Annual Conference is just about around the corner, and Spring is excited to be participating in two of the conference’s many valuable sessions this year.

The conference, penned with the theme, “The Challenge of Change” this year, is set for March 11th-13th at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. We expect about 400 of the industry’s best and brightest to attend, and hot topics are sure to include regulatory issues, preparing for the future of captives and global and emerging captive markets, among others.CICA Annual Conference

The Arizona sun and warmth, as well as the opportunity to meet and network with so many esteemed colleagues, isn’t all the Spring team has to look forward to this year. This will be our 10th straight year of involvement in the CICA annual conference, so we are excited to be speaking in two sessions: “Captives 201: Is It Time for a Captive Refresh?” and “The Risk Business of Cyber: From Traditional to Terrorism”.

Representing Spring and speaking to the importance of keeping your captive fresh and optimized will be Karin Landry, Managing Partner. She will be joining Brian Johnson of Risk International Consulting and Steve McElhiney, President of Tall Pines Insurance Company in discussing this critical issue. The session is scheduled for Monday, March 12th from 1:30-2:30 PM. 

In-house cyber expert and Senior Consultant at Spring, Prabal Lakhanpal, will be sharing his knowledge of cyber risk and its prevention and mitigation at this year’s conference, along with Stephen Vina from Marsh & McLennan who will be focusing on the relationship between cyber and terrorism. This session will take place on Monday, March 12th from 4:15-5:15 PM. 

If you’ll be attending the CICA conference this year, be sure to tune into the above presentations – you won’t be disappointed!

World Captive Forum Recap: 5 Hot Topics

The World Captive Forum, sponsored by Business Insurance, held its 27th annual conference earlier this month in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From captive owners, reinsurers, brokers, regulators and more, the event brought together about 300 of industry thought leaders, and we were happy to have taken part (and not just because we got to temporarily escape winter in Boston).

It’s been a few weeks now and we’ve had time to reflect on the topics and issues that really stuck with us after leaving the conference. As always, we wanted to share our vieGlobal Captive Marketwpoint. So if your schedule didn’t allow you to attend the World Captive Forum, or you’re just a little fuzzy on the details several weeks later, we’ve got you covered! Stay in the loop with our event highlights below.

1. International Regulations & Markets

Being the World Captive Forum, it makes sense that there was a significant focus on captive happenings outside of the US. A panel including employees of Willis Towers Watson and the State of Delaware commented on Brexit,, BEPS, IAIS, US tax reform and other issues related to international regulations that are important for the captive market. Later, we heard an update on the Latin American captive market from regional thought leaders. Among other lessons, we learned that Mexico and Colombia have the leading captive markets, while Peru, Argentina and Brazil have various obstacles hindering their captive development and growth.

2. Captives & Benefits

Captives can be a powerful, advantageous funding mechanism for an organization’s employee benefits. But as the world of benefits continues to change and evolve, so too has that structure. Bill Fitzpatrick and Mark Cook provided updates on global (there’s that word again) employee benefits and captives best practices. They outlined some of the different considerations for benefits and captives in different countries. Marsh then led a session on using voluntary benefits to grow your captive. They highlighted the advantages (or benefits, you could say) of voluntary benefits, different products available, factors involving ERISA and other pertinent issues.

3. Medical Stop-Loss

Mark Weinstein of Independent Colleges and Universities Benefits Association (ICUBA) led a discussion around the adding of medical risk to a captive, and all that entails. His panel explored different medical risk structures as well as the significance of risk diversification. In a separate roundtable, representatives from companies like Coca-Cola and Kirkway International covered medical stop-loss captives – their advantages and factors to consider.medical stop-loss

4. Microcaptives & Cells

In light of last year’s Avrahami vs. Commissioner court case ruling, it’s no surprise that microcaptives have been grabbing more of the industry’s attention. Specifically, one panel including Jeremy Huish and Mary Ann McMahon focused on pooling in microcaptives: how it works, best practices, IRS considerations, a look at how pooling relates to Avrahmi and more. The presentation included a case study highlighting The Spinx Company. Later, David Provost of the Vermont Department of Insurance presented with colleagues on the innovative ways to utilize a cell company. The session highlighted benefits like stop-loss protection , outlined the various possible structures and demonstrated it all through a look at an actual client’s experience. Further, a roundtable discussion delved further into the topic of microcaptives and cells.

5. Captive Optimization

A captive is a worthwhile endeavor, but it is a large one. As such, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of it and continually checking for new opportunities that may have arisen due to market or regulatory changes. This theme appeared in a few different sessions at World Captive Forum. In one, “Spicing Up Your Captive”, introduced pensions, cyber, intellectual property, climate risks, reputation and others as food for thought when it comes to new captive strategies.

In another session, our very own Karin Landry, along with Michael Lubben of Henry Crown and Company/CCI, highlighted the importance of undergoing captive refeasibility studies on a regular basis, to ensure there are no missed opportunities and that your captive is keeping up with the changing needs of your organization. The presentation also included a case study. The topic got even more stage time when it was discussed in a roundtable – “Doing More With Your Captive.”

Captive Optimization


We hope this recap helped you glean all of the most prevalent and highly discussed issues of the 2018 World Captive Forum, whether you were able to attend or not. As you can see, we weren’t just in it for the weather! We enjoy having the opportunity to look back at each event we go to and sharing our takeaways with like-minded professionals. Keep an eye out for a similar synopsis after the CICA Annual Conference next month!



Spring Spotlight: John Cassell

Apologies for the delay in programming, we have been busy evacuating the building because one of our coworkers can’t seem to stop burning toast in the kitchen*. Learn about the Toaster Culprit below.

Title: Senior Partner and token BritSpring ConsultingCaptive insurance strategy

Joined Spring in: John is a “Founding Father” if you will, having been involved in the company’s inception in 2004.

Professional interests/skills: John has a strong background in both healthcare and strategic planning. At Spring, he works with the other partners and senior leadership on overall organizational direction, product and service development and company growth. He also works on client projects ranging from strategy development, to captive insurance companies, to the creation and management of employer groups.

Outside-of-work: Work is always crazy, so John spends a lot of his free time catching up on sleep. He also does his best to keep fit and enjoys listening to jazz, buying art and antiques and watching Formula 1 racing, the Pats and the Red Sox. A UK native (as if you couldn’t tell), he tries to visit his daughter and her family there as often as he can. Further, renovating his vacation home also keeps him busy on the weekends.

Around the office, he’s also known for a) grabbing the odd cocktail with coworkers like Aadil, Prabal and Lai-Sahn and b) setting off the fire alarm from burning toast*. Brits and their toast, am I right?

Favorite season: “Definitely summer. Us Brits never get enough sun!”

Favorite flower: John favors daffodils – specifically in the Lake District in England – as well as Rhododendrons (“Rhodies”) and beach plums while he relaxes in Rhode Island.

Favorite food: “I’d have to go with Confit de Canard. Although it’s really bad for you, my late French grandmother-in-law knew how to prepare it beautifully.”

Favorite part about working at Spring: John loves the team at Spring and the fact that every day is a new day, never the same as the one before.

If you could live in a different time period from the past, which would it be and why? Probably a middle-class Victorian in England around 1850 while Prince Albert was alive and everything was happening.”

Could this guy be anymore British?


Association Health Plans | Everything You Need to Know About AHPs

As the future of healthcare in the U.S. remains uncertain and, at times, confusing, we wanted to take a moment to share a potentially game-changing provision in a Presidential Executive Order that came late last year regarding Trade Associations and Small Businesses across the country.

Association Health Plans Executive Order

The provision relates to the expansion of Association Health Plans (AHPs) and, given that Spring is a facilitator for one of the only two State-Approved Healthcare Cooperatives in Massachusetts, we are tentatively excited to see the administration loosening regulations for AHPs and recognizing the benefits that buying together offers to small businesses and employers. By joining together to purchase coverage for their employees, these businesses can dramatically cut costs while both better serving their employees and reinvesting in their own economic growth.

Small businesses specifically benefit from the freedom to join together across state lines and, in some cases, pool their risk by forming an AHP, because it opens up the freedom to craft coverage that better suits the needs of the companies and their employees. Without this option, these smaller employers often are forced to purchase overpriced plans that are either excessive or ill-suited for their workforce, wasting resources and straining their already tight finances.

This small provision in the executive order – and the new regulations that will soon follow – may well enable small businesses much greater control over building their benefits packages, but constructing a stable long-term Association Health Plan remains complex and challenging. Spring Consulting Group has developed best-in-class solutions for AHPs and their members, and recognizes the key role benefits play in helping businesses attract and retain the best possible workers.

The Executive Order was signed in October of 2017 and then went to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for consideration. As of January 4th, 2018, the proposed regulations are still on the table, and we are in a comment period until March 6th.

In what ways would the proposed regulation expand the market for Association Health Plans?

  1. Association Health PlansIt would allow a reclassification for AHPs, eliminating some prerequisites that previously existed, such as the provision of mental health services. This means more groups would qualify as AHPs.
  2. It would allow individuals to buy an AHP, something which wasn’t permitted previously.
  3. It would allow small business to band together for the purpose of affordable group healthcare, whereas before an AHP could only be formed as a sort of spin-off of a group that already existed for some other reason not pertaining to health plans.
  4. It would allow AHPs to be sold across state lines.

These are the most notable ways this could be a positive change for US healthcare, and one that opens many doors that had previously been closed. Now more than ever, it is critical that the accessibility of affordable yet effective health plans increases.

More About Association Health Plans

This video below spotlights what the AHP regulation means for businesses and existing associations. We provide an overview of AHPs, the current laws that pertain to them and the ways in which this could be a game-changer for your business or association.

Find Out More

Employer Alert: Congress Delays Key ACA Taxes

Lost in much of the drama of this weekend’s government shutdown and the inclusion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding extension in the continuing resolution (CR) that finally passed, was that the CR also addressed a few of the more onerous aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here is a quick rundown:

ACA Tax UpdateThe ACA’s Cadillac Tax implementation was pushed back even further to January 1st, 2022. You’ll recall that this 40% excise tax on higher-cost employer medical plans was originally set to go into effect in 2018 and was then moved to 2020 back in 2015. While this latest delay doesn’t kill the tax, the constant kicking of this can down the road certainly gives its opponents hope that it will never actually see the light of day.

The ACA’s Medical Device Tax has been delayed 2 years to 2020. This 2.3% tax on medical devices was included in the ACA legislation to offset some of its costly insurance subsidies, much like the Cadillac Tax.

The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) will be suspended for all of 2019. It will be collected in 2018 and then presumably again in 2020, unless another suspension or other Congressional act occurs. The HIT is essentially a health insurance excise tax which was included in the original ACA legislation and took effect this month.

What this means to employers: in the short-term, not much. Your health insurance premiums likely already reflect the 2018 HIT and the other two taxes have not taken effect yet, so their delay will not have any immediate financial impact on your company.

In the medium-term, this is a win for employers, as the HIT will go away for at least a year, resulting in temporarily lower 2019 renewals. Further, any employer with generous benefits won’t have the Cadillac Tax looming over their heads for at least four more years.

If the HIT is reinstated in 2020, fully-insured groups will see a big 2020 rate increase. Self-funding with stop-loss would avoid this unknown. It is also worth noting that these delays and suspensions, combined with the recent tax bill’s repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate, significantly reduce the ACA’s funding mechanism. We will be watching these issues closely and will be issuing further employer alerts as the ACA picture gains a bit more clarity.

Spring Spotlight: Anne Hart Davies

We thought we’d give you a break around the holidays, but we’re back in action with our Spring Spotlights so you can get to know our team. Happy 2018!

insurance broker small businessTitle: Account Manager

Joined Spring in: October of 2016

Professional interests/skills: Anne is a member of our brokerage arm, Spring Insurance Group, and an expert in employee benefits and Medicare products. She manages hundreds of client relationships and is also responsible for the post-65 plans for the office.

Outside-of-work: When not at the office, Anne enjoys spending time with her family and antiquing. She is also part of a women’s group that meets monthly, and she serves as the recording secretary of her group.

Favorite season: Anne prefers the fall due to its not-too-hot, not-too-cold weather.

Favorite flower: “Too many to choose from! But I love Foxgloves and Gladiolas.”

Favorite food: According to Anne, there’s nothing better than a rack of lamb.

Favorite part about working at Spring: “The best part about working here is the people that I get to work with each day.”

If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for? (no wishing for more wishes – that’s cheating!): “I’d wish for my son to lead a happy and successful life.” Anne’s far more selfless than I would be!