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2019 US Insurance Awards: Gilbane Building in partnership with Travelers, Risk Management Team of the Year

Donald Naber

Falls are a stubborn workplace safety challenge for construction sites, but Gilbane Building Co. in partnership with Travelers Cos. Inc. and Triax Technologies took it on headfirst.

Gilbane officials were examining technologies to improve safety when they came across the Spot-r clip technology from Triax, said Donald Naber, Gilbane’s senior vice president and director of risk management based in Providence, Rhode Island. The device detects falls and identifies the person, location and fall distance, improving response time by up to 91%, according to Triax.

The technology allows employees to generate alerts based on unsafe work conditions, which facilitates an immediate response from the project team, he said.

There were some early stumbles, namely false readings on one project site. “It was almost as if the little boy was crying wolf and the project team was getting frustrated,” Mr. Naber said.

Rather than removing Spot-r from the worksite, he called in the Triax team, which discovered the clips were set at a very low threshold so the technology was registering falls if someone jumped down a foot or quickly went down stairs.

An “unexpected” benefit was that the observation process revealed that subcontractor workers were taking shortcuts into project areas not in compliance with established exits and entrances, partly to try to meet their contractual schedule obligations, he said.

Gilbane officials spoke to employees identified as jumping and said, “‘You’re relatively young and it seems like you’re going to be in this business for a long time, but if you continue to have those repetitive jumps … it’s going to take a toll on your joints, your ankles, your hips and your knees,’” he said.

Gilbane is still gathering Spot-r data specific to its worksites, but company officials and Travelers discussed how the data could be used not only to improve safety at Gilbane sites, but to overlay with Travelers loss information and share safety lessons with other policyholders – with the insurer agreeing to partner on the technology expense — because “data is such a valuable tool within our industry, and unfortunately it’s not shared as well as we would like it to be,” he said.


• ABD Insurance & Financial Services Inc. — ABD’s property/casualty team worked with a rapidly growing e-commerce company to better design their insurance program to align with their risk philosophy while finding ways to lower costs.

• Henry Crown & Co. — CC Industries Inc. — The Henry Crown risk management team found creative ways to manage their total cost of risk, reducing expense and mitigating losses, while introducing enterprise risk management across a diverse portfolio of businesses.

• The Graham Co. and Penn Medicine — Graham and Penn Medicine partnered to support the hospital facility’s world-renowned researchers, clinicians and faculty by developing custom and collaborative programs to manage risk, negotiate insurance options and strategize outside-the-box approaches to ensure safety for a major building project.

• Walmart Inc. — Walmart’s global risk management team delivered innovations in casualty claims management that drive reductions in administrative expenses and ultimate claim costs; and that deliver better claims results and continue to evolve Walmart’s approach to risk transfer and retention to deliver a more balanced risk profile.

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