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2019 Women to Watch: Rosa Royo

Rosa Royo

Rosa Royo
Director of workers compensation claims
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Age: 56

When Rosa Royo was young, she made a list of vocations she thought might make her happy. Nun and scientist were at the top of that list, but a career in insurance was nowhere to be found.

“I know very few people who say they want to be in insurance when they are young,” Ms. Royo said. “I think most of us kind of fall into it.”

After graduating from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in humanities, Ms. Royo lived in Italy and contemplated her career choices. She came home after realizing, in hindsight, that the sisterhood wasn’t for her after speaking to a Catholic nun.

She found a job in administration with the YMCA of Miami and worked her way up to loss prevention. Sixteen years ago, she joined Miami-Dade County Public Schools as director of workers compensation claims. She oversees the claims department of the fourth-largest school district in the United States, which comprises 450 schools, 345,000 students and over 40,000 employees, and provides direct oversight and leadership to the school board’s $33 million workers comp program.

“Rosa is one of the most principled, passionate and genuinely compassionate individuals I know,” said Vilma Palma-Blackmon, Miami-based senior vice president with third-party administrator Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. “She treats everyone with respect and the care they deserve, and she inspires us all to be better people and leads by example.”

One of the programs Ms. Royo spearheaded and designed was FlexWorks, a platform that allows Miami-Dade to negotiate directly with physicians and providers, leveraging care for injured workers at reduced rates. Another program she led was the Rebuilding Me program, created by the school district’s risk management division to prevent injury, reduce disability days related to injuries, and address the coexisting conditions accompanying claims.

“I will be forever grateful to those who gave me the opportunities to be in the insurance industry,” Ms. Royo said. “There is so much depth and niches people can pursue in this business, but most of the time you just fall into it.”

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