Spring to Sponsor Cayman Captive Forum

Spring is delighted to be sponsoring the 25th annual Cayman Captive Forum this November 28th to the 30th in the Cayman Islands. We have been involved with the organization for about a decade, and enjoy attending the event each year (the warm weather helps!).

Cayman Captive Forum

The event kicks off with a golf tournament and then we’ll dive right into three days of educational sessions, receptions and networking opportunities. Our team is excited to see familiar faces and meet new industry professionals as well. Topics covered will include workplace safety, cyber risk, telehealth, regulatory updates, group captive strategies and more. This conference never disappoints and we’re happy to be a part of it.

If you’ll be at the Cayman Captive Forum, be sure to stop by booth #7 and say hello to our team, and enter our raffle! We’ll be in the back left corner of the exhibitors room and we’d love to chat with you.

 

Spring to Lead “Is Your Leave Program Compliant?” NEEBC Session

The landscape of employee leave is ever-changing, with new regulations frequently popping – both at national and local levels. As an employer, it’s your duty to understand what it means to have a compliant leave program, and how to keep it that way. It’s no easy task, though, which is why we’re leading an educational session on the topic, in partnership with the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC)Leave Law Compliance

Spring Partners Karen English and Teri Weber will be presenting, “Is Your Leave Program Compliant? Getting and Staying Ahead in this Constantly Changing Landscape” on Tuesday, October 10th from 12-2PM at 800 Boylston Street in Boston. Karen and Teri have helped many clients of varying sizes, industries and geographic locations navigate this complicated employer area, and are looking forward to sharing their advice and best practices with session attendees.

The discussion will involve a deep dive into leave laws, including but not limited to FMLA, ADA, PFL and PDL and then explanations on how to keep up with compliance through all of these different policies and nuances. So if you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head over a new regulation, or worry about your leave program’s compliance status, be sure to join us on October 10th. Questions are welcome and lunch will be served!

For more information on registration and professional education credit, click here.

DMEC Recap: 5 Employer Policies to Consider

After every conference I attend, I try to take time to reflect on the core themes that popped up. In fact, this is one of the primary ways that I can stay on top of industry trends and employer needs. As an advisory board member for the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), I am wholly familiar with the organization and have been attending their events for many years. To this day, each conference leaves me with new knowledge gained and something(s) unexpected.Employee Absence Management

DMEC celebrated its 25th anniversary and welcomed over 700 professionals in the absence and disability management fields to its summit in Anaheim from July 31st to August 3rd.  With summer having winded down I’ve finally had time to put my thoughts together on the event. So if you didn’t have a chance to make it to the conference, or could merely use a refresher, here are the highlights from my perspective, organized into policies for employers to consider.

 

  1. Parental & Family Medical Leave

With states such as New York and Washington having recently passed paid family leave laws, it’s no wonder this topic was prevalent throughout the conference. Each year, there is something new to discuss on this topic – if not several.

Paid Family LeaveThis year, speakers from MetLife discussed the challenges of striking a balance between productivity, compliance and retention when it comes to leave management. A panel including Mary Chavez of Levi Strauss & Co. and Dianne Arpin of T-Mobile spoke about how and why employers in the US, the only developed nation without a standardized leave policy, are still going above and beyond what is legally required. Robyn Marino from Cigna led a session on where the current White House administration stands on paid leave and how it relates to employer mandates and decision making. On Wednesday afternoon, speakers from Aetna discussed the relationship with Family Medical Leave and Short-Term Disability – how the former often leads to the latter, and what to do about it.

Ultimately, many employers are determining how to best to structure their policies with regard to paid leave, whether or not it’s legally required of them.

 

  1. Drugs in the Workplace

While the topic only played a key role in two of DMEC’s education sessions, they were both strong in emphasizing the crisis. With an uptick in awareness and new laws being passed in states like Massachusetts around the legality of marijuana, it is definitely a topic worth noting.

One session did a deep dive on how to navigate marijuana in the workplace – how does legislation affect workplace policies? Does this change employer drug testing? If marijuana is legal, does that mean it should be allowed in the workplace?

Further, Michael Coupland of IMCS Group got serious when presenting on opioids in the workplace. As the opioid crisis continues to sweep the nation, the session provided employers with guidance on how to stay ahead of the issue and steps to intervene and mitigate problems should they arise.

 

  1. Getting Ahead of Mental and Behavioral Health Issues

Having long been a “taboo” issue, it’s great to see mental health continuing to get more attention and being spoken about openly. In fact, the pre-conference was incredible and gave so many real-time examples Employee Behavioral Healththat many of us in the audience were beside ourselves, and wanting to do more. The question “Are you okay?” has taken on a new meaning for so many of us as a result, and will no doubt prompt us to work on increasing awareness and making tools and resources available for those struggling. This also includes offering benefits or EAP programs that align with tackling mental and behavioral health problems.

On the second day of the conference, a presentation led by Broadspire highlighted ways to identify different types of mental health issues – what are the red flags? How can they be addressed early on? They also discussed how and when it’s appropriate for an employer to intervene, and encouraged the audience to help de-stigmatize mental health. As one in five of your employees is suffering from a behavioral health problem, it’s important to learn how to motivate them and help them get better.

 

  1. ADA and Compliance Challenges

Keeping up with regulations and compliance requirements is very difficult in this industry; new regulations are sprouting up across different regions of the country every day. Luckily, several presentations at DMEC helped attendees come to grips with these challenges.

A panel including Adrienne Paler from Sutter Health discussed the importance of integrating and accounting for Workers’ Compensation as it relates to federal laws like the ADA and the FMLA. A later session addressed obscure or difficult-to-manage FMLA requests and how to best handle such claims. Representatives from Aetna talked about how oftentimes a family medical leave will turn into a disability leave, and let employers know what to watch out for, providing research-based stay-at-work strategies for at-risk employees. A different presentation went over ERISA regulations and, lastly, a Thursday morning session covered how to use mobile apps and platforms to improve FMLA and overall leave compliance, providing employers with more efficient and modernized solutions to respond to an evolving workforce.

 

  1. Returning to Work

It’s not uncommon for employees to realize that coming back to work after some sort of leave is a great hurdle. It’s important for employers to recognize that the transition isn’t easy, and provide ways to mitigate anxiety and make the shift run as smoothly as possible for employees.

Return to Work ProgramReturning to work has been a hot topic for years, but with each passing year there are new challenges to overcome and new strategies to help do so. A group of representatives from Guardian discussed the positive impact of vocational rehabilitation, while another panel explained how to proactively get in front of leaves and how to retain employees, happily and healthfully, upon returning to work.

Spring partner and my close colleague, Teri Weber, led a Thursday morning session with Memorial Sloan Kettering that looked at return to work from a broader perspective, that is accommodations overall. She emphasized the difference between merely doing what’s legal vs. doing what is best for your employees. The group recommended expanding the stakeholders involved in return to work strategies to include those who work in areas like health and safety, recruiting and diversity. They presented the client’s methodology and showcased how it’s helped in communication, compliance and record-keeping in a timely manner.

Overall, the 25th annual DMEC conference exceeded my expectations. I always enjoy going and seeing familiar faces, as well as meeting new ones. The topics covered at the event were informative, grounded in research, relevant and diverse. Beyond that, DMEC always does a great job organizing activities and networking opportunities throughout the course of the conference, and I caught my first Angels game!

If you have questions about any of the topics above, feel free to reach out. I’d love to chat about your disability and leave management goals and challenges – any time!

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.

Actuarial Firm of the Year

by Reciprocity Studio

 

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!