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David G. Cammarata named to Risk Management Honor Roll®

Posted On: Apr. 26, 2015 12:00 AM CST

David G. Cammarata named to Risk Management Honor Roll<sup>&reg;</sup>

"What you measure gets managed.” So says David G. Cammarata, assistant treasurer for risk management and insurance for Verizon Communications Inc.

Mr. Cammarata oversees all aspects of New York-based Verizon's risk management and insurance programs, including property/casualty and financial, covering $180 billion in property assets, $120 billion in revenue, 35,000 vehicles and 180,000 employees in 150 countries.

Is Mr. Cammarata's job quantitatively driven?

“I'm trying to make it that way. We're trying to measure everything that we do. We're trying to put in measurements across the organization that helps us do our jobs more effectively,” he said.

Whether taking control of the company's workers compensation claims in the New York office, embracing predictive modeling to enhance efficiency or instituting rigorous reporting regimens to help ride herd over the telecommunication giant's massive information flows, Mr. Cammarata relies heavily on his background in accounting and finance.

“I think it absolutely helps. There are a lot of decisions that you make that are financially oriented,” said Mr. Cammarata, who is based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, who was named to the Business Insurance 2015 Risk Management Honor Roll®.

After taking on the company's risk management duties in January 2012, Mr. Cammarata moved quickly to take responsibility for Verizon's large New York workers comp claims volume from its human resources department. He transformed the claims department during a two-year integration plan involving outsourcing important claims functions, reducing its headcount and introducing better claims management techniques.

This involved enlisting Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. as a third-party administrator and instituting regular meetings and data exchanges with the service provider, Mr. Cammarata said.

Because workers compensation is the largest portion of Verizon's risk management program, accounting for about 35% to 40% of costs, according to Mr. Cammarata, it was critical to assert strong control over the operations.

The integration of the New York workers compensation claims resulted in $5.5 million in cost savings in 2014 over 2013 and a 27% reduction in open claims, according to Mr. Cammarata, as well as better and more accurate reserving, improved claims file documentation and improved Medicare reporting compliance.

“Another innovation involved the introduction in mid-2013 of predictive modeling analytics for workers comp claims,” he said.

While the company is still measuring its results, Mr. Cammarata estimated that the program has saved an estimated $3 million in the first 6 months of implementation and reduced the average severity of claims by $13,200, or 34%, while also increasing claims closures by 590 basis points and reducing attorney involvement in claims.

Yet captive insurers play the largest role in Verizon's risk management strategy. They are the “cornerstone” of the company's risk management strategy, said Paul Johnson, Verizon's Basking Ridge-based director of captive operations.

Between 72% and 76% of the risk management budget is retained in the captive insurers, which include Vermont-domiciled Exchange Indemnity Co., founded in 1996 and the company's main captive, as well as Exchange Indemnity Co. New Jersey and Exchange Indemnity Co. New York, both founded in 2012.

“A very large portion of our risk management budget is paid to the captives in the form of premiums,” Mr. Johnson said.

“I think there are a lot of benefits you get from using a captive,” Mr. Cammarata said. “Certainly there are a lot of risks you don't want to transfer to an insurance company. You gain a lot of efficiencies by doing it that way. You can centralize the funding for the risks and centralize the management of the claims processes around the risk, and you certainly gain some tax advantages, potentially, if you are set up right with your captive.”

Training and professional development are also important parts of the risk management regimen at Verizon, both for Mr. Cammarata's Basking Ridge team and the company at large.

He developed a focus on maintaining and improving the competency of his risk management team, targeting more than 20 hours of risk management-related training in 2014 and achieving more than 90% compliance among team members.

Further, in 2014, the risk management team conducted 28 training sessions throughout the company in which approximately 1,400 employees were trained and educated on various topics including workers compensation rules, regulations and procedures, appropriate insurance language for contracts and the owner-controlled insurance program process.

To strengthen his own industry relationships and knowledge, Mr. Cammarata sits on the client advisory boards or councils of American International Group Inc., Ace Ltd., Swiss Re Ltd., Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., and Sedgwick.

He is quick, however, to recognize the key support he gets.

“All of the work doesn't get done in my office,” he said.

In addition to Mr. Johnson running the captives, William McCullough, national claims manager for treasury and risk management, manages all general liability and auto liability for Verizon; Mark Denesevich, director of financial planning and analysis, is in charge of the workers compensation program as well as aviation and construction insurance; and Danielle Roth is responsible for insurance procurement. All of the executives are based in Basking Ridge.

Mr. Cammarata's honor continues a tradition of strong risk management at Verizon: Sheila Small was named Risk Manager of the Year® in 2003.

“Sheila was a terrific role model for me, and I learned a lot from her during the almost 10 years that I worked for her,” Mr. Cammarata said. He credits Ms. Small, who is now with Alvarez & Marsal L.L.C., with creating much of what he now manages.

“She put in place a lot of the structure that we have today at Verizon in terms of the risk management program and our captive insurance companies,” he said. “She built a lot of programs within the captive that have turned out to be huge successes including our handset insurance program that has almost 30 million subscribers today.”

Mr. Cammarata adds that Ms. Small opened him to be more receptive to change.

“One of the biggest things I learned from Sheila was that we can't be afraid to try new things and new approaches. She was never afraid to try something new or be the first to do something that was innovative,” he said.

That influence seems to be reflected in Mr. Cammarata's own approach, according to Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis, also in Basking Ridge.

“One of the things I was always impressed with about Dave is that he is always willing to look at something differently. I never get the answer, "That's how we've always done it,'” Mr. Ellis said.

Mr. Ellis also noted Mr. Cammarata's ability to bond with the market. “The depths of the relationships that Dave has developed with a number of the larger carriers we have and the brokers we work with has really, I think, put us in a position to be very well-informed as we go to market and choose what to do from a risk management standpoint,” he said.