Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with John Culhane, claim services insights manager at Wegmans Food Markets, which is a regional supermarket chain with 101 stores and 50,000 employees. John is responsible for maintaining the integrity of all Wegmans' risk management systems. The team he leads analyzes, develops, interprets, and publishes incident information. With this information, they are able to identify trends; areas of risk; and opportunities to keep employees safe, reduce the number of incidents, and decrease costs.
1) How did you first learn about WCRI?
I have worked for Wegmans Food Markets for over 35 years in areas from warehousing, store operations, marketing, information technology, and pharmacy. Data and continuous improvement have been the common theme in roles throughout my career. About five years ago, a new position was created to focus on areas to improve and provide insights on our workers’ compensation claims team. When I accepted this new role, I began to look for industry information. I was used to having data available to benchmark, like AC Nielsen for the grocery business, and Drug Channel Institute for pharmacy. When I asked my colleagues for sources of workers’ compensation data, WCRI was on the short list of everyone that I asked.
2) What value do you derive from being a member of WCRI?
As a self-insured, self-administered employer, Wegmans has been able to report on our own year over year performance, and we have always felt that we were doing a good job based on the feedback from our employees. I wanted to see how we measured up to other self-insured employers, and WCRI gave us the industry benchmarks we were looking for. The other major value has been the access to other employer members and the ability to network with them on the topic of workers’ compensation. While we may compete with some of the other members in the retail space, we all have a common interest in improving the workers’ compensation system.
3) What is your favorite WCRI study/research area?
Monitoring Trends in the New York Workers’ Compensation System has been a particularly interesting study for me. It contains all the information I was looking for to benchmark the key performance indicators that we measure on a regular basis. With this information, we can see where we are performing better than the industry averages and where we have room for improvement.
4) Can you describe a moment when WCRI’s research was really helpful?
About a month after we became members of WCRI, I was asked to do a presentation for senior leaders in our company. I reached out to Tim Hassett-Salley at WCRI to help gather information that I knew was contained in their studies, but I wasn’t positive where to find all the pieces. It was a Friday afternoon when I requested the information. The following Monday the folks from WCRI had supplied not only the names of the reports, but the exact page and table numbers where I could find the data. So, while the research is excellent, it is the people at WCRI that I have found to be really helpful and committed to making sure we get the most from our membership.
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