As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, it was only fitting that the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) hosted their Annual Summit just a couple of weeks ago. Mental health awareness and wellbeing resources are top of mind for employers and HR teams across the nation, and, as we saw at NEEBC, specifically a focus in New England. Some additional hot button topics during the conference included:

1) Inflation/cost control strategies

Maneuvering around inflation and costly claims are top priorities for benefits professionals nationwide and was a constant topic of discussion by both presenters and attendees. The first keynote panel focused on the “Current Economic, Political and Cultural Landscape:  Where We Are. Where We’re Going. Why It Matters.” They explored typical cost drivers, workplace trends (hybrid, remote, and on-site), and how HR teams can help preserve New England’s unique culture within their workforce.

2) Understanding the needs of your workforce

As many employers have shifted to remote and hybrid models, communication and understanding the needs of the workforce has been challenging for many. One session that really resonated with me included two benefits specialists from ZOLL Medical; they reviewed how benchmarking and survey data helped give their workforce a voice when it comes to their benefits. On the other side, they also looked at pitfalls and obstacles they faced initially and how they overcame them, and steps they took to optimize their survey process.

3) Promoting wellbeing and mental health

Finally, mental health and employee wellbeing continue to be top-of-mind at HR and benefits conferences across the nation. As mental health resources have become a mainstream benefit area, employers are now looking at alternative and new programs to stand out and retain/attract talent. A professor from Northeastern University’s Department of Health Sciences presented on social determinants and their impact on employee health and wellbeing. He leveraged his research to outline best practices and how HR teams can alter their offerings to fit the needs of a diverse workforce.

As a pharmacy consultant, I was excited to see the interest people had in Rx cost control tactics, PBM logistics, and specialty drug strategies. The costly and challenging landscape of pharmacy benefits should motivate employers to implement program changes; we can help. Here are some considerations and tools employers can utilize to address employee wellness, which, in turn has a direct impact on pharmacy costs. Thank you to NEEBC for another insightful event and we look forward to the next one.

Every year The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) hosts their annual RISKWORLD conference, which brings together thousands of risk professionals from across the globe to network and discuss current trends and new innovations in the industry. This year the conference took place in Atlanta, GA and featured a wide range of fun activities including a pickleball tournament, a golf event, and a group of service and therapy animals to play with. Outside of all the “extracurricular” activities the conference had to offer, it helped paint a clearer picture of what is driving the risk management sector and how employers are combating different obstacles. We noticed that the following five areas got a lot of spotlight at RIMS this year.

1. Career Development

It seems like every year increasingly more sessions are focused on the future of the risk management sector and how young professionals can grow into industry leaders. As boomers begin to retire and millennials start taking on larger roles, conferences like RIMS are recognizing the need to be sure the next generation has the tools they need to be successful. Below are some of the top sessions I found most interesting:

– A session titled, “How to Take Risk Off the Books and Demonstrate Your Value to the C-Suite” focused on strategies risk professionals can take to properly explain risk mitigation strategies to C-suite executives to help elevate their value.

– Risk Directors from two different universities presented on the importance of teaching the next generation about non-traditional risks and preparing them for future barriers (ex. cyber liabilities, ESG, climate change, etc.).

– One session took a unique approach and brought together three industry leaders that were originally on the same team but all accepted different opportunities. Each presenter gave insights into their specific journey and what young professionals can do to drive the trajectory of their careers.

2. Claims Management

As inflation is top of mind for businesses across the globe, cutting costs and managing claims is a high priority for risk teams. This year presenters looked at a range of business lines and various approaches to handling claims processes.

3. Cyber and Technology Risk

Although cyber is not a new concern the risk-world (no pun intended), we are seeing a lot of evolution and maturation in this space. This year speakers tackled cyber coverage from many different points of view, some of which included:

– In the session, “Ransomware Postmortem: The Anatomy of a Cyber Breach,” the presenters expressed what employers can do at different stages of a cyber breach to mitigate losses, and what is going through the minds of hackers during planning, execution, and post cyberattacks.

– In response to the Ukraine-Russia War, one group presented on current cyber warfare trends and how international sanctions can impact regulations and cyber claims.

– The session, “Understanding Autonomous Vehicle Risk and Insurance,” speakers gave a comprehensive review of autonomous vehicle risks and market conditions to pay attention to, such as legislative developments and availability of insurance products.

It seems like every year we are seeing new developments in the world of captive insurance on both the national and international scales. After recently attending The Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) 2023 International Conference, I wanted to share some of the hot topics on the minds of captive professionals around the world. As a board member of CICA and chair of CICA’s NEXTGen young and new professionals committee, I was excited to be so involved this year. The conference definitely did not disappoint; in addition to “extra-curriculars” like the golf tournament and brewery tour, the event also provided great opportunities for networking and learning about current trends and best practices in the world of captives and what the future holds for the industry. I hope you enjoy these highlights.

4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

As we progress through 2023, employers across the nation and internationally are working to develop programs that address DEI efforts. Although DEI was not the leading topic of discussion this year, I still wanted to share some of my favorite sessions that address unique social issues in the risk management/insurance space.

– Workers’ Compensation experts clarified how understanding DEI needs of injured workers can directly help with the recovery process and their return to work. Furthermore, they explained how greater communication can reduce the risk of continued disability and litigation.

– As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making headlines globally for its potential (both negative and positive), many fear for perpetuated biases the systems may hold. One presentation investigated potential discriminatory liabilities when it comes to automating recruitment and other employment decisions and how it can intersect with different compliance regulations.

– A group of 5 female executives tackled the issue of women in leadership positions in the risk management/insurance space and tools they utilized in their career paths to help combat gendered stereotypes and achieve leadership roles.

5. Strategic and Enterprise Risk Management

When it comes to developing a concrete and concise program, risk management teams have an abundance of options and strategies to consider. This year, enterprise risk management (ERM) was a hot button topic, with sessions covering:

– The session, “Social Media: Managing the Continuous Stream of Emerging Risks” explored a new stream of liability, social media risks. Speakers from Oracle and Salesforce reviewed the history of social media risks and potential response plans for future incidents.

– Two insurance executives reviewed how the pandemic forced organizations to integrate resilient and adaptive programs, opposed to more traditional and defensive programs we saw pre-pandemic. They then laid out risks and disruptions organizations should be ready to face in the post-pandemic world.

– A representative from Merit Medical dove into her company’s approach to ERM and how they optimized their program through strong leadership support. Her session was titled, “Enterprise Opportunity Management: Optimizing the Value of ERM with a Focus on the Positive.”

As a regular RIMS attendee, I have to say, this conference was one of the best. I was able to connect with so many interesting people and deepen my understanding of best practices and trends. Aside from the socializing and happy hours, Spring had a great time exhibiting and attending the informative sessions; I look forward to next year’s conference! In the meantime, our team will continue to assure we provide clients with industry leading captive and alternative risk financing services.

As we progress through 2023, maneuvering changing regulations and compliance updates have been challenging for HR professionals across the nation. Many COVID-19 provisions are expiring soon, states are constantly shifting paid leave policies and managing hybrid/remote workforces are just a few hurdles employers are facing when it comes establishing effective and compliant leave programs. Every year the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) hosts their Compliance Conference, where experts from around the nation discuss current trends in compliance, best practices for employers, and the future of the industry. This year I traveled to the beautiful (and warm) Orlando, Florida, to attend this year’s conference. As per usual, the conference provided a great platform for networking and ensuring attendees are tuned into the most pressing compliance matters.

This year, my colleague, Jennifer Campagna and I presented on Navigating Ancillary Paid Leave Options to Support Employee Well-Being, but with a unique twist. We included an interactive game to help attendees understand the benefits of ancillary leave options and how they can intertwine with your current offerings. During the session we handed out “Leave Bingo”, a Bingo-style game where attendees listened for key works and concepts throughout the presentation, to see if they have the words on their Bingo board. Winners received prizes and we all got a little pick-me-up from the chocolate provided. I was impressed with the leave offerings employers across the nation have adopted, some of which we covered in our presentation, like leave related to domestic violence, bereavement, mental health, and more. Although all these ancillary options sound great, they can be costly and difficult to manage from a compliance standpoint.

Aside from the game, we reviewed federal and state laws influencing corporate leave policies and how successful companies are managing their policies. Our presentation included case studies on organizations that implemented alternative leave programs and how it impacted their workforce. Many employers have realized one key to retaining/recruiting talent and combating productivity loss is by revaluating their leave policies and addressing pain points.

Some less traditional types of leave include:

As a board member of DMEC and an advocate for equitable paid leave programs, I am delighted to see where the future of the industry is headed. It is unlikely that we will see a nation-wide Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program introduced in 2023, but we are consistently seeing updates and clarifications to regulations such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in addition to the uptick in state PFML programs and adjustments to existing state plans. Spring and I will continue to keep you up to date with updates in the absence management space and provide our clients with industry-leading programs that best match the needs of their specific workforce.

*Additionally, all Spring/Alera clients receive complimentary access to AleraHR and Alera Dashboard, which provide digital tools that help employers and HR teams manage employee benefits compliance deadlines and updates. It also provides users with a robust compliance library with insightful guides, comprehensive checklists, tools and calculators to create forms, job descriptions, explore salary comparisons.

It seems like every year we are seeing new developments in the world of captive insurance on both the national and international scales. After recently attending The Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) 2023 International Conference, I wanted to share some of the hot topics on the minds of captive professionals around the world. As a board member of CICA and chair of CICA’s NEXTGen young and new professionals committee, I was excited to be so involved this year. The conference definitely did not disappoint; in addition to “extra-curriculars” like the golf tournament and brewery tour, the event also provided great opportunities for networking and learning about current trends and best practices in the world of captives and what the future holds for the industry. I hope you enjoy these highlights.

1. Regulatory and Tax Updates

As per usual, regulatory updates were a highly discussed topic during the conference. As a long-term attendee and speaker at CICA’s annual conferences (and other captive conferences alike), regulatory updates are always pertinent, as laws and best practices are constantly shifting, as seen in the following:

– In a session titled “The Lay of the Land: Captive Taxation,” speakers explored recent administrative, legislative, and judicial updates affecting captive taxation, with a focus on 831(b) small captives.

– Following the addition of 87,000 IRS agents (following the Inflation Reduction Act), a group of tax experts and a lawyer discussed how this will most likely impact audits of small captive cases.

– Three state regulators from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oklahoma discussed updates we can expect to see from various domiciles during their session, “There’s a New Sheriff (Regulator) in Town.”

– On the second day of the conference, I presented on “What’s New with the DOL and Employee Benefits?”, where we delved into the upsides of writing employee benefits into a captive and how it intersects with DOL regulations.

2. Navigating Inflation

From eggs to rent, no sector can avoid inflation, including the captive/alternative risk financing arena. With that being said, controlling costs and reducing risk is a top priority for many employers across industries and around the world. This year I heard some exciting ideas when comes to addressing inflation, some of which included:

3. The Captive Formation Process (Experiences from Captive Owners)

A couple sessions turned the tables and looked at captives from a different point of view: that of the captive owner. It was very interesting hearing from captive owners on their experiences with forming a captive and what goes through their minds during the process.

4. Shaping the Future Captive Arena

As the Chair of CICA’s NEXTGen young and new professionals committee, I was impressed with the focus CICA put on providing sessions and events aimed specifically towards young professionals looking to enter or grow within the industry. As regulations, best practices, technology, lines of services and more constantly change, it is essential that the next generation of captive professionals are equipped and ready to shape the future of the practice.

– One of my favorite parts of the conference was the CICA Student Essay Contest. University students were given 3 case studies to select from and wrote an essay on establishing a captive for their specific case study (including selecting policy options, determining underwriting and pricing, etc.).

– During the session, “Building Your Personal Board of Directors – Considerations During the Different Stages in Your Career,” speakers discussed the upsides to developing a personal Board of Directors to support career growth and how to get started.

– Finally, I spoke on a panel that discussed what NextGen captive professionals value most in a job. We looked at ways to combat the great resignation and how organizations can better align with young professionals’ career goals.

With many conferences under my belt, CICA never fails to provide a great platform for networking and sharing ideas, I am excited to see what the future has in store for the association and for captives overall. In the meantime, our team will continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of captives to assure we provide clients with industry-leading captive and alternative risk financing services.

This year we had the pleasure of spending Valentine’s Day with some of healthcare’s sharpest minds within the Boston area at the Boston Business Journal’s “State of Healthcare” luncheon. Spring was excited to sponsor the event again as we take pride in both our Boston roots and in our commitment to advancing innovation in healthcare. As attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch, an impressive panel took the stage to share their different viewpoints on healthcare: Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO of Mass General Brigham (the Brigham); Lora Pellegrini, Esq., President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans (MAHP); Kevin Tabb, MD, President and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health; and Greg Wilmot, President and CEO of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

After every conference or event, I like to take the time to reflect. Here are my five key forces impacting healthcare today, in Boston and beyond.

1. Capacity

Anne kicked things off by addressing a crisis in national healthcare: capacity, meaning there is not enough room to take in the patients who need the kind of care in which Massachusetts prides itself. In fact, every day over 200 patients within the system sit in the emergency room or elsewhere because there is no bed for them. This type of emergency capacity used to happen once every few months, but it is now the daily norm.

The problem is obvious. What is not so obvious is the solution. However, Anne provided the following insight: access is capacity. So, when we think long-term, we need to focus on efficiency and access in order to solve for capacity issues. The discussion called to mind the following questions:

– Are community hospitals being fully leveraged for the kind of care they are best suited for?

– What kind of care can be delivered virtually, and are we maximizing those capabilities? A recent development here is virtual urgent care.

– How can we increase hospital at home usage? The fact is that people prefer this method, and it increases care while decreasing costs.

– How can we increase our ability to treat patients in an outpatient or ambulatory setting? Massachusetts is near the bottom in the country when you look at the number of outpatient sites available. We need more sites, closer to home, with a lower cost model, so that we can save beds at highly specialized facilities like the Brigham for patients who need them most.

2. Affordability

Lora joined the stage to help uncover the factors behind the longstanding issue of affordability. At MAHP, they are focused on trying to make healthcare both simpler and more affordable. In Massachusetts, Lora said, we have the best data in the country regarding the drivers of healthcare costs, and that data identifies the two top drivers as unit price and pharmaceutical costs. Lora stressed the importance of the pharmaceutical and life sciences companies taking responsibility and being a part of the conversation around healthcare costs. While health plans traditionally take very little margin, and instead make most of their money from investment income, pharma on the other hand is taking in approximately a 30% profit for drugs that are sometimes federally funded. In this regard, more transparency around pricing and accountability is needed. Additionally, Lora highlighted the following affordability factors:

– Technology can and should be leveraged for things like prior authorization and streamlined credentialing. “There should be no paperwork,” said Lora. While you might be surprised that telehealth is not its own item on this list, the panelists pointed out that it is critically intertwined with affordability. Kevin pointed out that the big costs in healthcare are not individual visit payments, but rather frequent trips to the ER and people becoming sicker because they didn’t get care sooner. By marrying this goal of moving more people to outpatient or community health centers when appropriate with the access benefits of telehealth, we can make a difference in costs.

– Healthcare costs are prohibiting employers from offering other innovative benefits to employees. How can employers find a balance? For self-insured employers, which Lora says make up about 60% of the MA market, there is more of an ability to customize programs and invest in wellness initiatives and other perks. On the flip side, for fully-insured employers, especially small businesses, this is harder to do. What we see sometimes is when costs are added due to new legislation or another development, employers start considering a self-insured model, but when more parties leave the merged market, the older and sicker populations are left behind.

– The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) is doing great work, but Lora says they hold too little authority, something that needs to change.

To expand upon this topic, Greg pointed out that the key to the cost problem was to increase access and utilization of primary care and preventative medicine, stressing that by improving health outcomes upstream, we can mitigate the downstream impacts on the rest and more expensive aspects of our health system. Community health systems like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center plays a big role here.

3. Workforce

Kevin brought us up to speed on the core challenges in healthcare related to workforce, a topic which he emphasized is a widespread issue across industries and geographies. In healthcare, though, he explained that it is the top issue keeping executives up at night and described it as an “acute on chronic crisis.” Importantly, Kevin noted that the workforce crisis didn’t come to fruition overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight either. We were at the edge of a precipice, and the pandemic tipped us over. At Beth Israel Lahey Health, they are focused on competitiveness of job offers, adaptation of roles and flexibility, and partnering to train up both within the community and within their system.

As Greg noted, healthcare workers have “been running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace.” He is focused on rebuilding the workforce, one that is reflective of the populations they serve and emphasized the need to focus on the next generation of talent.

On the topic of workforce, Anne added that it’s not just about salary. At the Brigham they are rethinking how to create a safe and healthy work environment. We have seen a rise in workplace violence in healthcare and beyond, so how do we better protect our staff? “We are what we tolerate,” remarked Anne, so we need to make sure we’re not tolerating behaviors and practices – both from staff and from patients and other constituents – that we shouldn’t. This brings us to our next point.

4. Equity

As Anne pointed out, allowing gender-based or racist remarks, or violent behavior prohibits the development of a safe and inclusive workplace. Greg brought a unique viewpoint to the conversation as his community health center serves a very diverse population. Smaller clinics and health centers are often over-looked, but as Greg noted, one in five MA residents are receiving care at a community health center. He stressed the need for a two-prong approach:

  1. What happens in the exam room, which at community health centers is largely primary care and preventative medicine.
  2. What happens outside the exam room. Here Greg noted the importance of social determinants of health such as behavioral health, housing stability, food insecurity, education disparities, language barriers, and technology. How do we bring these issues into governmental policy? How do we invest in communities of color to address things head-on instead of waiting until they fester into bigger problems? How do we ensure equitable opportunities in the job market?

Greg argued that only by focusing on these two health components in tandem will we make any difference in health equity, and healthcare at large.

When it comes to telehealth, a digital divide still exists related to broadband, Wi-Fi, devices, medical literacy, and age (there is a large gap in senior utilization of telehealth). This needs to be part of the equity equation too. Do we need fancy technology? Or, as Kevin pointed out, “almost everyone has a phone.” Could a phone call suffice in some cases?

Lastly, all panelists agreed that COVID-19 highlighted the inequities that had been there all along, creating an urgency around equity that we very much needed.

5. Unity

Greg left us with a powerful, albeit brief poem by Muhammad Ali to ponder: “Me, We.” His point was that while we all have a personal responsibility for affecting change, we also can’t achieve that change on our own. It takes a “me” and it takes a “we.” The consensus was that each stakeholder has a role – providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, the government, and so on. When these cogs in the wheel operate in silos, the wheel does not turn.

Anne remarked that when the pandemic hit, it created a galvanizing force that brought all types of parties, including so-called competitors, together for the common good. Now, the impacts of COVID-19 have faded, but the panelists pondered why we can’t use our broken system as the next galvanizing force to bring everyone to the table. Numbers 1-4 on this list cannot be addressed without prioritizing number 5. This will require more active listening and compromise.

Overall, the Boston Business Journal’s State of Healthcare luncheon provided a thought-provoking and multifaceted conversation that gave me much to think about. But as we move toward what is hopefully a brighter future for healthcare, I will leave you with one final thought from Greg Wilmot:

“If we were to rewrite our [healthcare] system, would we design it the same way? We have been writing the same story and changing the last chapter and expecting a different outcome. That doesn’t work. We need to go back and start at the beginning, and rewrite chapters 1-10.”

Greg Wilmot

Last week we wrapped up Business Insurance’s 2023 World Captive Forum (WCF) in Miami, FL. This year’s conference brought together hundreds of stakeholders in the captive space to network and discuss leading trends in the industry. As a member of the advisory board, I’m glad the event was such a success; below are some of the topics I found most prevalent during this year’s conference.

1) Captive Updates

When it comes to captive regulations, we have seen many changes in just the last year. With the growth and development of different domiciles all around the world comes new regulations to which captive owners and employers must adhere. Below I have included a couple interesting sessions that explain how regulations surrounding captives have changed across the globe.

2) Cyber Captives

Although writing cyber liability coverage into a captive is not a new practice, it is still nowhere near as common as placing medical stop-loss or property & casualty lines into a captive. This year cyber coverage was a hot-button topic at the conference and will most likely continue to be, as cyber attacks continue to pose substantial risks.

3) Healthcare & Captives

Whether an employer in the retail space is looking to use a captive to fund health benefits, or whether a hospital organization is leveraging a captive for its medical malpractice and other unique liabilities, captives and healthcare have always been closely intertwined. At WCF this year some highlights of this dynamic included:

– Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry, presented on trends in medical stop-loss (MSL) and how this tactic can help employers proactively manage healthcare costs and lessen the impact of catastrophic claims. The discussion included a deep dive into what is driving upticks in healthcare costs; walk-throughs of case studies illustrating MSL advantages, including an overview of Canon USA’s captive story; and a detailed explanation of Medical Expense Cost Containment (MECC) and how it comes into play.

– The first session of the final day reviewed implications of medical malpractice coverage following the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion services and best practices for healthcare providers.

In the session “Global Medical Claims Developments – Covid-19, Hyperinflation, Musculoskeletal and Mental Health,” the panelists discussed how captive managers should address specific medical conditions and unusual medical claim patterns.

4) The Future of Captives

Although nobody knows for certain the future of the captive industry, we are seeing various patterns that suggest we will see many changes to come. Aside from new domiciles and new types of coverages, we are also seeing different approaches when it comes to current captive practices.

– In a session on “Hybrid Captives,” I presented on innovations in the property & casualty market that allow captives to more meaningfully control property exposures and premiums.

– As a newer member to the World Captive Forum Advisory Board, I was joined by University of California’s Karen Hsi in a roundtable for younger professionals entering the industry, including a discussion of what the next generation of talent is looking for and how they can get themselves on a promising career trajectory.

– As diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is a current top priority for many companies, this session discussed how by reinvesting underwriting profits, captive programs can be used to finance DE&I strategies to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.

Getting a break from Boston winter was a plus, but the ability to reconnect with industry leaders and collaborate on strategies was the real draw. We are excited to see what the World Captive Forum holds in store for us next year and we will continue to keep you up-to-date with developments in the captive space.

the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans recently wrapped-up their 32nd Annual Health Benefits + Conference Expo (HBCE) in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The conference brought together healthcare and benefits professionals from a range of industries to discuss leading topics and share expectations for the future. Having heard such positive feedback about the event, Spring was glad to attend, exhibit, and speak at the conference. Below are some of our biggest takeaways.

Spring Booth HBCE

1) Pharmacy Cost Containment

This year there was a lot of talk surrounding the price of prescription drugs and tactics employers can adopt to help control costs without cutting benefits. There are many factors influencing the high costs of pharmacy drugs, some of which include chronic disease prevalence, the aging population and the growing volume of specialty medications. Below are some of the top sessions focused on controlling Rx costs.

– Representatives from Express Scripts explained the upsides to working with a Pharmacy Benefit Manger (PBM) and how they can help address pharmacy policies in their session titled, “How to Work With Your Pharmacy Benefit Manager.”

– The CEO and Co-Founder of TruDataRx, Cataline Gorla, discussed how comparative effectiveness research (CER) is being used by other countries to decide which drugs work best for specific medical conditions, and how self-insured employers can save money with said data.

2) Addressing Chronic Conditions

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 90% of the nation’s healthcare spending goes towards people with chronic and mental health conditions1. As chronic diseases are very common among the American workforce, employers have started implementing specific benefits and policies to address common conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. Some of the sessions around this topic that we found most interesting include:

– Speakers representing the Nashville Public School System explained how they were able to introduce free resources such as telenutrition and fitness center access to help combat obesity and other health disparities.

– Dr. Mudita Upadhyaya from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital presented on prevention strategies to address mental health and obesity in a pre- and post-COVID world; and why a mixed approach may be best.

– The Diabetes Leadership Council’s CEO, George J. Huntley spoke on diabetes and chronic disease risk management strategies, including medicines and technology that can help patients manage and prevent the disease.

3) The Future of Healthcare & Benefits

In recent years we have seen a great shift in the healthcare and benefits industry; we saw a great increase in telehealth, mental health resources, new/alternative types of paid leave, including sick leave and more. As we transition to a post-COVID world, we expect the evolution to continue. Below are some of the top trends professionals believe we will face in the coming years.

– Our Senior Vice President, Teri Weber, presented on market forces employers can utilize to meet future absence management challenges. Her session listed techniques employers can adopt to improve day-to-day administration of disability, absence and accommodations.

– In a session titled “Innovative Health Care Models—The Future of Direct Primary Care,” the presenter explained how many employers are changing to value-driving healthcare models to boost access and reduce costs.

– A session titled “Breaking the PTO Mold, Without Breaking the Bank,” reviewed how typical Paid Time Off (PTO) programs can be altered to better support employees’ well-being and financial health.

– The final session of the conference spotlighted how the pandemic has led to an increase in personal, economic and other stressors and has had a drastic impact on mental health, substance misuse and addiction. Attendees were informed on how they can implement workplace solutions that address these issues as well as identify warning signs.

The warmer weather was certainly a bonus, but the insights we gleaned and connections we made were what will keep us coming back to the HBCE conference. We want to thank IFEBP and our fellow colleagues who took the time to share their experience, stop by our booth, and make the energy so positive.


After a two-year hiatus, it was great being able to attend The Cayman Captive Forum in person this year. As the Cayman Islands is the second largest captive domicile, and the first for healthcare captives1; it is the perfect location to share leading trends in the captive world, and the warm temperatures and tropical views made it all the more enjoyable. If you weren’t able to attend or could use a refresher after returning to the “real world,” this quick recap might be of interest. Below are some of the buzziest topics at this year’s conference.

Spring Consulting Group Booth

1) Tax Updates

On large attraction to captive insurance (and certain domiciles) relates to tax advantages. It’s complicated, though. Some of the tax-focused sessions presented at the conference were:

– Mike Domanski, a lawyer from Honigman LLP, discussed offshore federal tax considerations and U.S. tax reporting requirements in his session titled “Captive Insurance: Basic Tax Fundamentals.”

– In a session titled “The State of Tax: What You Need to Know,” experts discussed U.S. federal tax updates and how taxes will be affected by the Inflation Reduction Act and updates to Section 831(b).

The penultimate presentation titled, “U.S. Tax Update” tackled IRS and compliance updates in the U.S. on both the federal and state levels.

2) Cyber Risks

Since the start of the pandemic, employers had to adjust to remote and hybrid workplace policies. This transition forced employers and employees to rely more on digital tools to conduct day-to-day operations and made organizations more susceptible to breaches. This is not the first year that cyber took the spotlight, but there were some great discussions around risk in this area, including:

3) Healthcare-Specific Coverages

In recent years, we have been seeing an increasing number of healthcare organizations leverage their captive to bring new and industry-specific lines. At this year’s Cayman Captive Forum we learned about how captives can be used for the following emerging and alternative risks:

a) Medical Malpractice/Medical Errors

As the Cayman Islands is the most popular captive domicile amongst healthcare organizations, there was a large focus on healthcare-specific risks. There was a particular emphasis on how healthcare employers can reduce and prepare for potential medical malpractice/errors as noted in the following sessions:

b) Workplace Safety & Patient Care

Workplace safety is another non-traditional captive line (outside of employee benefits and Property and Casualty [P&C]) gaining traction. Healthcare organizations and, more specifically, healthcare workers and patients are prone to violence and discrimination more so than staff in other industries.

– In the session “Workplace Violence in Healthcare,” Trinity Health’s Diane Moritz explained initiatives their captive board are taking to prevent workplace violence injuries and support victims of patient violence.

– Children’s National Hospital’s Chief Diversity Officer, Denice Cora-Bramble discussed biases in data reporting for diverse patients, and experiences minority patients face when seeking health services in the session, “DEI Impact on Quality and Safety of Care.”

– I was joined by lawyer, Michael Domanski in a pre-recorded session titled “Using a Captive to Fund Long-Term Care,” during which we reviewed the current LTC market and different captive models (both taxable and tax-exempt) that can cover long-term care policies.

As we transition into a new era of captive insurance, this year’s Cayman Captive Forum acted as a perfect vehicle for addressing current and future themes in the industry. It was a strong end (almost) to an exciting year and we look forward to next year’s conference to continue these and other important discussions. Our team was fortunate to be part of the action in the Cayman Islands this year and is here to answer any questions you may have related to an existing or new captive program. Check out our captive expertise here and let’s chat!


It is estimated that ~44 million Americans are experiencing long COVID symptoms. During a recent Spring webinar, our SVP, Teri Weber was joined by a pulmonologist and a representative from Goodpath to review common long COVID symptoms and how it is impacting productivity and claims. You can access the webinar here.