3 Topics that Captivated the 2017 VCIA Conference

Each summer our team looks forward to returning to Burlington, Vermont for the annual Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) conference. Our Managing Partner, Karin Landry, is a long-standing member of the VCIA strategic planning committee and has been an active participant in the organization’s events for over a decade now. This past year a group of Spring colleagues congregated in Burlington where we learned, networked, presented and caught up with familiar faces.Vermont Captive Insurance Association

While the conference’s official theme this year was “Mission Impossible”, I noticed a few captive-related topical concepts that continuously emerged throughout the 3-day event: optimization, technology and legal and ethical considerations. In addition, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was also a cornerstone of the conference 🙂

1. Optimization

Setting up and managing the day-to-day tasks of a captive are one thing, but getting the most out of your captive is another. No one knows this better than the industry veterans who flocked to Burlington, Vermont from all over the world, and the topic was central to several educational sessions.

One presentation called, “Getting the Most out of Your Actuary”, covered just that, discussing factors like loss studies, program design, cost allocation and TPA assessments. The Managing Director of Global Risk at Cummins, Inc. led a discussion on optimizing your captive’s risk profile, emphasizing realignment over time in terms of the different parties’ captive goals. A third session entitled “Reinventing Your Captive for Maximum Results” presented two case studies and focused on different tax cases and actuarial observations. All three sessions offered tips and best practices to attendees, and while I know a lot about captive optimization, I can’t say I didn’t learn a thing or two.

2. Technology

It’s 2017. Technology is everything and everywhere. But how does it play into captives specifically?

Well, one session focused on the oncoming of self-driving cars and presented the different risk and insurance consequences they pose, not to mention changes in regulation. Control and liability are likely to shift if autonomous vehicles actually become mainstream, and all sorts of policy, insurance and cost changes could affect the captive market.

In “Innovative Spotlight: Using Technology to Mitigate Risk”, a panel including the General Counsel from Cook-Illinois Corporation, who spoke of his own experience, outlined three areas for efficiency-based opportunities: data, human capital and software. The group discussed things like apps, social media, the elusive “Internet of Things” and mathematical models that companies should be considering in tandem with their captives. They also covered how to train and manage your people as they become familiarized with such technology.

Cyber Insurance

Lastly, “Cybersecurity and Captives” was a two-part presentation (our own Teri Weber led part 2) that explored cyber threats and attacks, different types of risk involved and trends in the marketplace. Teri presented proprietary Spring survey data on the landscape of putting cyber insurance into a captive – who’s doing it, who’s considering it, what are the different challenges or reservations, what are the benefits of cyber in a captive? Cyber attacks continue to happen every day, and hackers always seem to be one step ahead, but these sessions helped audiences feel more prepared and armed for what hopefully will never happen to their organization. But like they say, better safe than sorry!

3. Legal & ethical considerations

A panel including Mary Ellen Moriarty from the College Insurance Company and Dan Petterson of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation led the discussion, “Captive Governance Best Practices: Ethics, Conflicts of Interest and More”. They talked about the importance of each role staying within their role – and when over different duties of directors. They highlighted ways to ensure captive compliance such as ownership structure, plan of operations and your Board of Directors, and discussed how things might differ depending on your captive type (i.e. group vs. pure).

Another session got more into the weeds and provided an industry tax update – crucial information for captive professionals to be on top of. Specifically, the group focused on the recent supposed crackdown on microcaptives, or 831bs by the IRS – what kinds of captives they’re after, what their red flags are and how to make sure your captive doesn’t end up on their list.


In summary, the 2017 Annual VCIA conference brought good weather, great ice cream, informative and important educational sessions, and myriad of networking opportunities. Our team was happy to be back, especially having kicked off the conference with an award from the US Captive Review! We are already looking forward to next year’s event. If you didn’t have a chance to stop by our booth or weren’t able to make it to the conference, please feel free to reach out with any questions, In the meantime, you might also enjoy this white paper: Funding Employee Benefits Through a Captive.

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Spring Sponsoring “Run to Home Base” for Veterans

Spring Consulting Group is proud to sponsor and participate in Run to Home Base, a Boston walk/run to benefit post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families.

The evRun to Home Base Bostonent is part of a larger program, Home Base, established jointly by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007. The organization focuses on clinical care, education, training and research for those who have served or have been affected. Home Base has made an impressive impact since its founding a decade ago, having served more than 11,000 veterans and family members. The annual race, Run to Home Base, is critical to the program as 95% of its funding is through individual or corporate donations.

Run to Home Base takes place on Saturday, July 15th this year. There are two different race options: a 5K route and a 9K route, both running through Boston and ending with crossing over home base at Fenway Park. It’s a fun, family-friendly event with various activities going on before and after the race for those participating.

Spring will have several team members at the event, both volunteering and racing. As an active member of the Boston community, we are delighted to co-sponsor a water table along the race route with  MetLife. We’re excited to be part of such a meaningful cause.

If you’ll be at the event, come say hi and stay hydrated – mid-July can be a scorcher!



Spring to Present at VCIA Annual Conference

Captive InsuranceThe Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA), established in 1985, is the world’s largest trade association for captive insurance. In addition to various networking and educational opportunities throughout the year, the VCIA also brings together over 1000 global captive experts and professionals once a year at their annual conference in Burlington, Vermont. Spring, an active member of the organization for over a decade, is proud to be sponsoring and presenting at this year’s conference, which will take place from August 8th to 10th.

Among the event’s impressive and educational lineup of speakers will be our very own Partner, Teri Weber. Teri’s presentation, “Cyber Security and Captives (Part 2): How to Stay One Step Ahead“, will take place on Wednesday, August 9th from 3-4 PM and will focus on some of Spring’s recent survey results regarding the integration Cyber Insuranceof cyber and captive insurance. Teri will discuss current benchmarks and trends related to the funding of cyber insurance through captives and give advice for those who may be considering this approach. If you’re a captive expert with cyber security concerns (doesn’t everyone have those nowadays?), you’ll want to join us for this session.

The conference will also address issues like:

  • Captive governance best practices
  • Tax updates
  • Health care benefits captives
  • Maximizing your captive
  • & more

But we’re not just speaking at the VCIA Annual Conference, we’re sponsoring too! So please be sure to stop by booth #2 and pick our team’s brains on all things captive insurance. Until then, you might be interested in our recent white paper: Funding Medical Stop-Loss Insurance in Captives: What You Need to Know.

Spring to Present at DMEC Annual Conference

ADisability Managements the DMEC (Disability Management Employer Coalition) celebrates its 25 anniversary, Spring is celebrating its 9th year in a row attending the DMEC Annual Conference. This year’s event will be held from July 31st to August 3rd in Anaheim, California and will bring together over 700 professionals in the employee absence and disability management fields. As a regular DMEC sponsor, Spring is thrilled to continue its involvement in and support of the organization – one of our Partners, Karen English, is on the DMEC Executive Advisory Board and another Partner, Teri Weber, will be presenting at this year’s annual conference.

Teri will be joining the Vice President of Benefits and the FMLA/Disability Manager – both of Memorial Sloan Kettering – in a presentation entitled “Accommodation…It’s Not Just Return to Work.” The ADA Compliance discussion, which will take place from 8:30-9:30 AM on Thursday, August 3rd, will focus on innovative employer trends when it comes to the ADA. Teri will explain how to go above and beyond mere compliance (and why you should) and institute a more comprehensive, proactive disability model involving additional stakeholders. If your company is looking to be a thought leader in this realm, be sure to join!

Other topics addressed at the conference include:

  • Mental health at work
  • Paid parental leave (especially during Trump’s presidency)
  • Employee productivity & retention
  • Workplace violence
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Informal care-giving
  • Handling complicated FMLA requests
  • Drug abuse in the workplace
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Mobile approaches to compliance
  • Early disability intervention
  • & more!

If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend the 2017 DMEC Annual Conference, you’ll hear from speakers from companies like GlaxoSmithKline, American Electric Power, T-Mobile, Starwood Hotels and Nike, among many others. Additionally, Spring is a proud event sponsor, so be sure to stop by booth 314 and say hello to our team in between networking receptions and MLB baseball games!

In the meantime, you might be interested in reading our white paper: Managing an Absent Workforce: A Guide to the Family Medical Leave Act.

Spring at the DMEC Compliance Conference

In an industry with regulations that are constantly changing, it’s important for professionals in the Benefits and Absence Management fields to come together and make sure everyone is up to speed. As such, we were happy to be able to attend the DMEC (Disability Management Employer Coalition) FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance conference in Minneapolis earlier this month. Spring has a long-standing relationship with the 25-year old DMEC, having presented at and sponsored many of their annual events since 2008. One of our partners, Karen English, sits on the DMEC Executive Advisory Board and as such was excited to be able to make it to Minneapolis for the event.

Topics addressed at this year’s compliance conference included increasing FMLA access to paid family and sick leave, the importance of documentation, how to make sure employees are also aware and adhering to the FMLA, how to go above and beyond the ADA instead of doing only what’s required, how to deal with intermittent leaves, how to impact or reduce leave and various other issues.

The Spring team will also be attending and sponsoring DMEC’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA from July 31st to August 3rd. If you’ll be there too, be sure to stop by booth #314 and say hello!

Spring to Sponsor NEEBC’s Annual Employee Benefits Summit

Spring is excited to be sponsoring the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) annual summit and trade show again this year. NEEBC, with over 1,350 members to date, has been bringing together HR and Benefits professionals from the New England area since 1979 – providing ample educational sessions and networking events so that everyone can learn and grow from one another. Spring has been a proud partner of NEEBC for about ten years, staying actively involved with events and programs. As one of our partners, Teri Weber, sits on the NEEBC board as Vice President of Programs, we have enjoyed a close relationship with the organization for many years and are happy to be sponsoring their upcoming conference.Employee Benefits New England

This year’s Annual Employee Benefits Summit and Trade Show, themed “Riding the Winds of Change: Strategies for Success” will take place on Wednesday, May 24th at the Newton Marriott. Several Spring team members will be in attendance to support the organization, take advantage of its informational sessions, and meet with both familiar and new faces within the industry. Speakers will include the Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, the VP of Total Rewards at BJ’S Wholesale Club, a Health Economist from Harvard Medical School and several others. Sessions will cover a range of topics like behavioral health financial wellness.

If you’ll be joining us and other industry professionals at this year’s NEEBC Summit, please be sure to to stop and chat with a Spring team member – we’d love to meet you!





Spring to Sponsor the NHDS Annual Meeting

Spring’s brokerage arm, Spring Insurance Group, will be exhibiting at the New Hampshire Dental Society’s annual meeting in Meredith, NH from May 18th to the 20th. This is a two and a half day conference that brings together dental professionals and industry experts to network and learn from each other. As the official employee benefits partner of the NHDS, Spring has enjoyed attending for the past few years and is excited to participate again.  insurance for medical practices

Attendees will  hear from leaders, educators and authors of the oral health industry as well as experts in IT, business development and more. Topics at this year’s conference will include:

  • Treatment planning & delivering complex, multidisciplinary cases
  • Advanced hygiene therapy
  • Invisalign – misconceptions, identifying candidates, etc.
  • How to finance your practice while reducing costs
  • Improving oral health in rural areas
  • HIPAA & security for dental practices
  • Integrating oral health into primary care training
  • Risk management for dental businesses

Spring Insurance Group has a longstanding relationship with various dental practices and associations, as we offer multiple products and solutions that allow small to medium-sized medical practices provide cost-effective insurance and benefits for their employees. We look forward to meeting new faces and hearing the latest updates within the field at NHDS later this month. If you’ll be attending, be sure to stop by booth 33 and chat with our team!

5 Key Risk Management Themes from the RIMS Annual Conference

5 Key Risk Management Themes from the RIMS Annual Conference

Our team was excited to head back to The Risk Management Society’s (RIMS) annual conference for the 10th year in a row last week, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The three-day conference, which took place in Philadelphia this year, is one of our top events for keeping our pulse on the industry and meeting both new and familiar faces within the risk management field.  Risk Management

We sent a team of our consultants to the RIMS conference and asked them to report back on hot topics and trends. As it turns out, there were a few undeniable themes that sprung up at the event. They were so prominent that they shone through even despite the many networking receptions, inspirational keynote speakers like Michael J. Fox, charitable causes such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand for childhood cancer research, and a Wellness Zenter – all of which could be found at RIMS.


If you work in risk management and were unable to attend the conference or could simply use a refresher, you’ll want to know about these themes we uncovered:

  1. Technology

In this day and age, it’d be odd if technology wasn’t a focus at the conference, but we noticed it highlighted in three different but related regards:

  1. The Internet of Things:

Presenters from Intel, NCR Corporation and other companies explained how the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing things in both good and bad ways. Security, privacy and chain of liability were cited as growing risks thanks to IoT, while automation, “smart manufacturing” and telehealthcare were pointed out to be opportunities for efficiency.

     b. Social Media:Risk Insurance

Sessions led by professionals from Oracle, Zurich and Social Detection, Inc. spoke about risk as it pertains to social media. Speakers cautioned against computer viruses, lack of anonymity, poor public relations, employee behavior online and reputational risk when it comes to social media. They encouraged attendees not to ignore these digital platforms, but instead provided tips on how to build a solid management framework for social media risk.

    c. Wearables:

Wearable devices, such as FitBit or Apple Watch, were among the tech discussions. Specifically, risk professionals at Under Armour and UPS explained how to leverage wearables to increase safety, gather data and improve health while accounting for HIPAA and other legal implications.


  1. All Things Cyber

While this could be classified under technology, the subject got so much attention at RIMS that we thought it deserved its own category. Cyber obviously presents huge risks with respect to security, whether an attack comes from a stand-alone hacker or a terrorist group. As a group from Liberty Mutual pointed out, the worst cyber-attacks can result in a total system shutdown, and they advised on how environmental insurance ties into the issue.

Cyber Insurance

Risk Management Director of Morgan Stanley, Andrew Weisman, led a presentation on cyber insurance – vetting carriers, knowing limitations and understanding various complicated claims. A separate session focused on a specific ransomware attack and its different ramifications. Lisa Walton of JC Penney was among those who explained considerations for commercial property cyber insurance specifically, while another presentation cautioned against cyber-attacks at a mass-scale and explained why cyber security is not merely an IT problem.

We could go on and on, as the topic of cyber headlined over ten RIMS sessions, but we’ll leave you with just the above glimpse.


  1. International/Global Risk Issues

Global Risk ManagementRisk management is difficult enough when merely trying to comply with one nation or region’s regulations. For multinational companies, it gets even trickier. Speakers from Zurich and Corning talked about the need to modernize international program regulation and university professionals discussed how to align your company’s strategy with its ERM and different cultural, political and economic considerations when going global. Additionally, risk management factors and advice within specific geographies such as Canada and Latin America were covered.


  1. Data and Analytics

Among presenters who focused on the importance of data in risk management were professionals from The Institutes and Aramark. One session focused on big data and how to utilize it from the descriptive to the prescriptive stages of risk management. Analytics was highlighted in various sessions throughout the other four themes as well – playing a central role in technology and cyber, in particular.

Captive Insurance

  1. Workplace Violence

Last but certainly not least, Ariel Jenkins of Safety National and Mario Pecoraro of Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group covered violence in the workplace – how to prevent it, how to anticipate it and how to manage post-incident. They and other speakers noted that there can be many sparks to workplace violence such as mental health issues and racism, and highlighted warning signs as well as lessons learned from real-life attacks.


Needless to say there was a lot there was a lot to take in at the annual RIMS conference! We were also impressed with the number of industry-specific sessions at the event, including those aimed at the financial services, utilities, construction, entertainment, restaurant and casino markets.

If you attended RIMS or work in risk management, you might also be interested in our white paper: Risk Managers Guide to Funding Employee Benefits in a Captive.