2016 Women to Watch: Jennifer SaddyReprints
Director of workers compensation, corporate insurance and risk management
American Airlines Group Inc.
Fort Worth, Texas
When news broke that two of the largest airlines in the United States were merging, Jennifer Saddy translated that into a restructuring of a workers compensation system that would encompass 115,000 employees between American Airlines and US Airways.
In 2013, with the ink drying on the merger between the airlines’ parent companies, Ms. Saddy, who was then the workers compensation manager for US Airways, was selected to manage a risk management department of 18 employees for what would become American Airlines Group Inc.
It was a massive undertaking, she said.
“The biggest challenge that we had with workers comp was the volume of legacy claims that remained opened,” she said, adding that there were 7,224 combined workers comp claims under both airlines, some still open. “We had to work on how to move forward, and try to work through those, and try to combine the program for the more recent injuries.”
It wasn’t her first merger: Ms. Saddy was working at US Airways in 2005 when it absorbed the much-smaller American West Airlines. With a total of 40,000 employees, it was “substantially different” in scale and complexity than the latest round of combining two systems for the best program, she said.
Paul Morell, Dallas-based vice president for safety, regulatory compliance, and environmental for American Airlines, said Ms. Saddy’s “enthusiasm, talent, and insight” made all the difference. And her work goes beyond the insurance component, he said.
“She’s not just managing workers comp,” he said. “She is very active and engaged in working with the safety organizations and the operations groups, where the injuries happen. If you think about what we are trying to do, to take care of employees who are injured … We try to keep our employees from getting injured.”
Ms. Saddy, who has received accolades from American Airlines’ leadership, says her biggest compliments are from her 7-year-old daughter, Tessa.
“My daughter wants to be in insurance and workers compensation,” she said. “Nobody wants to be in insurance, but she … thinks it’s amazing… She wants to follow in my footsteps.”