By John Leonard, former President and CEO, MEMIC
Addressing the education deficit in workers’ comp was a laborious task in the early years of The MEMIC Group. As I noted previously, we were facing a significant skills gap in the early days of MEMIC, and the in-house training and development programs we created would only take us so far. Running our formalized education reimbursement program was a time-consuming task, and would never fully address 100 percent of the highly specialized needs for MEMIC employees. It wasn’t until I fully understood the opportunities available through the American Society of Workers’ Comp Professionals (AMCOMP) and the value of their Workers’ Compensation Professional (WCP®) designation that I was able to find a solution unlike any other to address the industry’s need for education and training to gain true workers’ compensation expertise.
Attending AMCOMP meetings and seeing the quality of education being provided led me to learn more about the WCP® itself. The coursework in the program provides industry professionals with a better understanding of how the various pieces of the workers’ compensation industry (e.g., claims, risk management, pricing, ratemaking) work together to create the greater system. The program—now in its third edition—also covers a range of topics including the history of workers’ comp, federal legislation and exclusive remedy challenges—to name a few. It is one of the only programs that focuses exclusively on workers’ compensation.
The MEMIC Board of Directors and employees welcomed the program with open arms after learning about its curriculum and benefits. MEMIC’s entire senior management team—myself included—took the course and studied alongside others in the company. Going through the learning process together fostered a camaraderie between company leaders and employees which strengthened MEMIC at a time when we needed to build our employees’ trust and cultivate a corporate culture dedicated to continual learning and improvement. In addition, the ability to compare scores among those in the program’s graduating classes created a friendly competition that improved performance and increased engagement across the board.
The value of AMCOMP’s WCP® program was obvious to our team, and it allowed MEMIC’s leaders to demonstrate a commitment to training, education and the growth of the company. It also supplements the ongoing internal education and training programs MEMIC continues to provide to employees.
What this program provided, and we certainly needed, was a comprehensive educational program. Training employees on the intricacies of security arrangements and underwriting, cost containment strategies, standard workers’ comp policies, endorsements, and federal coverages is vital to developing a highly competent workforce. What most companies require of a training curriculum is one that provides employees with a solid foundation of knowledge to build on along with a deeper understanding of the day-to-day realities. This is why finding a trusted resource to provide this unique type of workers’ comp education should be at the forefront of every leadership team’s agenda.
As in all businesses, there’s a tight correlation between an educated workforce and the success of employees. After years of using AMCOMP as a resource for training our employees, hundreds of whom have earned the WCP® designation, MEMIC decided it should be an integral part of the hiring process. If you work in workers’ comp for MEMIC, you are encouraged to complete the AMCOMP program. In part due to the leadership team fostering an educated workforce culture, MEMIC turned around the single worst workers’ comp state in the nation, cutting costs and improving safety—something of which everyone at MEMIC is proud. As a billion-dollar enterprise, MEMIC now operates all along the East Coast and boasts some of the best trained employees in the industry.
What I and the rest of the leadership team at MEMIC learned through this experience is that there is no substitution for ongoing education and setting a standard for training excellence among employees. For workers’ comp programs, this is certainly true. Our two-decade pursuit of education and certification programming turned MEMIC into a model for the industry. And I believe this success can be duplicated, but it starts with creating a culture of continuous education among your workforce.
About John Leonard
John T. Leonard, President Emeritus of MEMIC, recently retired from the MEMIC Group where he served as President and CEO since 1993. During that time, the company grew from a start up to an organization that is now firmly established as one of the premier Workers’ Compensation specialists along the eastern seaboard. Mr. Leonard currently serves on a number of insurance industry related Boards and Committees and also provides consulting services as an expert in the field of Workers’ Comp.
He currently serves on the ACORD Board and is a member of its Executive and Compensation Committees. He is Director Emeritus of the American Society of Workers’ Compensation Professionals, Inc. and previously received the Legends award from AMCOMP for his leadership within the Workers’ Comp industry.
John was a member of the NCCI Board for two separate terms and served as the Board Chair from 2010-12. Recently, he completed service as a member of the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Association where he served as Board Chair in 2015. He received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 2001 and was elected to the Maine Business Hall of Fame in 2003. John has served on many local boards throughout New England that support education, health, children and the arts.
Founded in 2000 by Donald T. DeCarlo, The American Society of Workers’ Compensation Professionals (AMCOMP) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to professional and educational excellence in the field of workers’ compensation. Led by an experienced Board of Directors, AMCOMP was established due to the lack of a professional society that recognized and certified individuals in the highly specialized field of workers’ compensation. AMCOMP’s certified Workers’ Compensation Professional (WCP®) education program is a leading professional designation in the industry. Further, the WCP® is now offered in a flexible, online format. For additional information on the WCP® and AMCOMP membership, contact AMCOMP Executive Director, Thomas Shovlin, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.amcomp.org. Train and certify your staff with AMCOMP.