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May 21, 2020

Amy Wrightsel

Louisville, Kentucky-based CEO, Preferred Medical

Louisville, Kentucky-based chief operating officer, Preferred Medical

Consolidation within the industry is not done yet and COVID-19 will have a huge impact on where it’s going. Being a service provider in workers comp is profoundly different during shelter-in-place and it will still be different post-COVID because how you do business has changed. For example, during the past several years client offices increasingly would not let sales in to visit with claims adjusters. So if they’re not even in offices but working from home (now and into the future), methods to stay in touch must continue to evolve. The big question is how to connect with payers and prospects. All of that means consolidation could accelerate as the fastest way to grow with fewer claims (also a new reality) is acquisition/merger. There are internal changes as well. For example, hiring. After we moved to a virtual environment in anticipation of shelter-in-place, we hired someone for our customer service team solely based on a resume and virtual interview.

While the title is new, the responsibilities are not, as I have been effectively acting as CEO for several years. But with the official title, and corresponding changes to the management team (including Craig Towner taking my previous COO role), I’m changing how decisions are made. Previously, strategic business decisions were primarily made between ownership and myself. It now is about gaining consensus from the executive team, all of whom have their own responsibilities – but, more importantly, their unique perspectives. This increased collaboration will not only result in a broader perspective but also help each of them grow professionally as they’re involved in more areas than their own, which not only strengthens them but our company.

I started at Preferred in the customer service department. Since then, I have worked in every job except for ancillary care coordinator. In fact, I could probably take an inbound customer service call right now and address the issue, albeit not as quickly as one of my team currently in that role. I would not be a clueless “Undercover Boss”! That knowledge and experience helps me stay connected to both people and process, which helps greatly when making strategic and tactical business decisions.

Workers comp is such a small, niche marketplace – although it seems big to us on the inside. The problem I often see is that if you stay in workers comp too long, or in one segment of WC too long, you can become like a typecast actor. That’s not good for either personal motivation or professional growth. Whether you’re a newcomer or old-timer, I think it’s best to find a way to diversify within the industry. That could be through networking (connecting with people that don’t do what you do and share insights), constant education and learning (reading outside your job description) or maybe even different jobs over time.

Sell balloons on Main Street at Disney World.

Watching the company and our people grow. That comes from providing opportunities for everybody to expand and give them the ability to fly (or not). I have learned best via experience, and sometimes the best experiences from which to learn are those where you failed but adjusted and moved on. I want to instill a sense of adventure with all of my teammates because as they grow, we grow.

Steak and Brussels sprouts. I am a foodie, and proud of it.

Going to Disney (World, Land, wherever). I love to vacation and see the world with my family.

Watching any University of Louisville sports team.

Spend time with the family. About 10-12 weekends per year, I travel with my teenage son to his gymnastics meets around the country. It’s a great way for me to just be a mom.