Check Out the 2019 PRIMA Institute Curriculum!

Daily Themed Tracks:



Day One: Risk Leadership

Information Exchange

PI will begin with introductions. Attendees will learn and share information regarding their public risk management challenges and accomplishments.

The Language of Insurance: Terms, Conditions and Policy Management

This session is designed to lay the groundwork for understanding the layout of an insurance policy and the unique terms and conditions that surround various types of coverages. 


Carleen Patterson, ARM-P, CIC, CRM, Aon Risk Solutions

Claims, Negotiations and Settlements

The new risk professional can be a bit overwhelmed with the number and variety of claims submitted, especially when determining how to best handle each one. Programs will range from fully insured to fully self-administer (or some amalgamation thereof). As the face of your entity where claims are concerned, you need a clear understanding of how to interact with a claimant and what information is necessary for a thorough claim investigation. You also need to understand the basics of negotiations and settlements, even if you do not participate in these processes. This session will provide you with the insight and tools to assist you.


Terri Evans, City of Kingsport, TN

Workers’ Compensation 101

Workers’ compensation is a complex program and the statutory requirements vary from state to state. These claims are generally the greatest risks in both frequency and severity to all types of organizations. This session will discuss the purpose and components of workers’ compensation benefits such as wage replacement, medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation. The presenter will discuss various initiatives to control costs and to reduce the financial impact of claims. Additionally, the presenter will discuss the role of an organization in managing the claims and third-party administrator’s (TPA) role in the process.


Lori Gray, Prince William County, VA

Cram Session: RFP Do’s and Don’ts

RFPs… we all use them… we all love them?! The RFP process has a reputation for being tedious, strenuous and frustrating. This does not have to be true! An RFP process, from conception to award, can be seamless while maximizing the responses you receive. This session will provide do’s and don’ts as well as helpful hints regarding the RFP process. At the end of the day, we all want to have the best firms working with our public entities. In order to do so, we must make sure that we are allowing those firms the best opportunity to respond to our RFPs.


Mark Sulek, Aon Risk Solutions

Safety Leadership

How engaged are your employees in safety? How do you involve employees, build trust, and create a shared sense of purpose? Safety leadership is about what you do on a daily basis. What you do and what you say sends a clear message to employees about your attitude toward their safety, whether you intend to send a message or not. This session can help you demonstrate positive safety leadership techniques that can help motivate employees and make your workplace safer. 


Oscar Goedecke, Travelers


Telematics is an automation tool that can assist public entities with the safety of their employees, route maximization, reduction in fleet costs and coordination of efforts with other data-driven processes. This session will help risk professionals understand this ever-evolving technology and how it can be utilized to coordinate a wide variety of needs throughout the entity.


Steve Hightower, City of Kingsport, TN



Day Two: Risk Methodology

Public Risk Management Resolutions

Attendees will receive a complex public risk management issue. Participants will work together to create a plan to resolve the issue. On Friday, attendees will share their response to their respective issue.

Contracts and Waivers

This will be an interactive session that provides attendees with a basic understanding of contracts, waivers and certificates of insurance. The presenter will use examples of real life scenarios covering areas such as service contracts, maintenance contracts and special events contracts. 


Amy Larson, City of Bloomington, MN

Total Worker Health - Integrating Safety & Wellness into Your Risk Management Program

In risk management, we strive to reduce the exposure to the organizations in which we serve. With that said, the greatest risk to most public entities is related to the safety of their employees. Traditional occupational safety and health programs focus on ensuring the work is safe as well as focusing on protecting the employees from the dangers that arise from the work itself. What if you merged wellness and safety together while focusing on your employees’ well-being and not just on the work itself? This session will discuss the concept of "Total Worker Health" and how to incorporate programs to address risk factors and improve overall employee well-being. This session will provide examples of various programs that support this concept and explain the ways in which these programs are becoming intertwined into the safety & wellness of each organization.


Lori Gray, Prince William County, VA

Pat Haag, City of Laurel, MD

Risk Management for Public Fleet Operations

In providing uninterrupted services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a public entity's fleet contains a variety of motor vehicles, many of which create unique liability exposures and require special controls and driver training. On any single vehicle accident event, the claim may be directly impacted by how you manage your fleet operations. This session will walk through many of the key elements of a fleet risk management program and provide practical examples to help solve many of the most common causes of loss. Principals of fleet safety and risk management will be presented to assist managers and fleet administrators in making better decisions, policies and procedures to control these identified exposures.


Oscar Goedecke, Travelers

Cram Session: Special Events

Community special events serve several functions within a municipality. They enrich the lives of a community, attract interest in local businesses, increase sales tax revenue and sometimes tax the patience of government as it serves and protects. This session will provide a framework for successful partnerships between event organizers, government, local businesses and the community at large. Up for discussion will be road races, parades, air shows, regattas, petting zoos, beer gardens, farmers markets, as well as ideas and concerns shared by the attendees.


Amy Larson, City of Bloomington, MN

Police Action: Media Portrayal, Law, & Reality

This session will provide an overview of cases of alleged police brutality that received national media coverage, as well as those cases that have gone on to shape our modern law. It is evident that the public perception of law enforcement officers is changing, but this session will analyze whether that perception has reached our courtrooms. We will take a look at jury verdicts in light of these highly publicized issues, as well as rulings by judges. Has the public perception of police brutality truly made the fate of our police officers a question for the people’s court?


Michele Molinario, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC

Joe Popolizio, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC

Honor the Fallen by Training the Living

Below 100 has identified five key tenets by which we can improve officer safety – areas where we can make a difference. This session will teach you that Below 100 isn’t about statistics, it’s about each and every officer, trainer and supervisor taking individual and collective responsibility for the decisions and actions that contribute to safety. For those in a leadership position, Below 100 means supporting a culture of safety throughout your department. Just as importantly, hold accountable those who stray outside what should be common sense. Finally, Below 100 is a challenge that recognizes each officer death as a tragedy. It’s our duty to face down death and protect the innocent when called to do so. It’s a fact: good cops will die each year. Only by working together can we keep our streets and ourselves safer.


Kurt Braatz, MPA, SPHR, Arizona Counties Insurance Pool



Day Three: Emerging Trends in Risk

PI 20 Curriculum Development

Understanding Loss Control

There’s no question that an effective loss control effort is an essential step in the risk management process. All too often, the risk manager attempts to launch loss control & safety programs before substantially defining the “why.” In other words, the “why” is knowing the mission of the effort and fully understanding the business philosophy behind that mission. This session highlights the need to “get your thinking right” and then establish your program. Attendees will examine the need to build a framework for success and then identify the people that can help accomplish the mission. Participants will learn how to prioritize their efforts and work to identify root causes of accidents.


Michael Fann, ARM-P, MBA, Public Entity Partners

Mental Illness and Crisis De-escalation

This session will cover the importance of recognizing the early warning signals of an escalating mental illness. The presenter will discuss workplace programs that can help managers intervene before an event takes place. If the event involves the public, how you handle the situation during and afterward will impact your reputation and involve plenty of public relations intervention. It is important to have a control point for all communication. Crisis response is ultimately the most important factor of how the organization is remembered by the public. It is imperative to have a plan and communicate the plan with all departments.


Teresa Bartlett, MD, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

PTSD and Workers' Compensation – Achieving Balance between Issues and Solutions

In 2017, 10 states considered expanding workers’ compensation benefits to ease the filing of PTSD claims for first responders. Two states, Vermont and Maine, enacted PTSD presumption laws with similar legislative structure and language. In 2018, five states actively debated the creation of PTSD presumption. Two of those states, Washington and Minnesota, enacted first responder PTSD presumption laws. The national dialogue around PTSD and first responders continues to grow as states grapple with the clear expansion of first responder PTSD legislation. This session addresses trends in PTSD legislation and possible avenues for cities, counties and states searching for alternatives to avoid the additional financial stress of PTSD presumption within the workers’ compensation system.


John Hanson, Willis Towers Watson

Cram Session: Drones – Risk and Insurance

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as Drones, are rapidly growing in popularity in both the civilian and commercial marketplace due to advancements in the technology and relatively low cost to operate.  After the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) release of Part 107, which put into place the rules and regulations for safe commercial operations the industry began to take off.  The UAS industry is quickly becoming a multi-billion dollar business, with projections of over one million commercially operated drones in the United States by 2020. 

Today, many companies and public entities are discovering the beneficial ways to use UAS Technology.  Along with the benefits of this emerging technology also comes exposure that must be insured properly.  In 2018, there were over 2,500 reports to the FAA of UAS near misses with commercial aircraft.

In my presentation I will providing a brief history of Unmanned Aircraft, a summary of their usage, potential exposures, how to appropriately insure, and risk mitigation solutions.   


Bryan Holmgren, Aon Risk Solutions

Impact of Legalized Marijuana in the Workplace

Marijuana will be discussed from the perspective of what it is and its bio-active ingredients. The presenter will cover where it is legal and in what form it is legal. She will also include where it is illegal and speculate on the federal governments' perspective. This session will explore how marijuana differs from cannabidiol and whether it is a good alternative to opioids. The presenter will also discuss the various forms, strengths and dosages that are available. The medical perspective and common side effects will be considered at length. The legal cases are ever evolving and will be important for public entities to understand the implications. This session will also consist of conversation regarding impact and outcome when workers’ compensation has been ordered at the state level.


Teresa Bartlett, MD, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

Workplace Violence Program Development

In the world of instant news, we read of workplace violence on the internet on what seems to be a weekly basis. Our employees are being exposed to threats and threatening behavior from current or former employees, current or former partners of employees, current or former clients, customers, visitors and random acts of violence. In this session, participants will gain an understanding of how to assess and manage threats of workplace violence, recognize warning signs and red flag concerns, and  identify practical planning and response protocols for addressing threats of violence, stalking, domestic violence and active shooter in the workplace. Participants will also gain an understanding of safety and security planning for threatening situations. Case examples will also be reviewed.


Regan Rychetsky, ABCP, Insight Workplace Solutions, LLC



Day Four: Inclusion

Employment Law – “You Said What?!?!?"

A funny look at statements that make you realize you will soon be receiving a claim from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Human Rights Commission.  While this may be a light take on a serious subject, it is imperative that Risk professionals understand the implications of these statements and the required training for employees, supervisors and those performing investigations.


Amy Larson, City of Bloomington, MN

Terri Evans, City of Kingsport, TN

Diversity Today – Being More Inclusive Tomorrow

Given current events, this session could not be more timely and relevant. What is diversity today and how can we be more inclusive as a manager/employer? A framework for looking at emerging diversity and inclusion issues will be presented. Worst and best practices will also be included in this highly interactive, participant-centered workshop. Come to learn and enjoy a fresh and lively discussion about the workplace.


Mauricio Velsquez, MBA, The Diversity Training Group

Cram Session: Culture of Civility

One of the purest predictors of future claims experience is the morale of your organization today. While workplace harassment gets the headlines, many other claims have "improper behavior" as their foundational cause. This session highlights the relationship between the organization's work environment and its future claims. The speaker will discuss the roles that poor communication skills, personal insecurity and "the rumor mill" play in creating a toxic culture within your organization. The presenter will identify evaluation points and action steps designed to enhance the work environment toward a more productive, positive and safer culture.


Michael Fann, ARM-P, MBA, Public Entity Partners

ERM Workshop: Tools You Can Use Today

Implementing a full-blown Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program may not be right for your organization – or it may not be the right time. However, you can still prepare your organization for ERM and broaden your approach to managing risk by using ERM. In this extended-length session, we will review examples of effective ERM tools and processes while we practice using them. Then, we will examine whether these processes could advance our risk management programs - regardless of the starting point. 


Dorothy Gjerdrum, ARM-P, CIRM, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.



Day Five: Emerging Trends in Risk

Risk Management Resolution Presentations

Attendees will share their response to a complex public risk management issue.

Reaching "High C" - How to Get Top Management Buy-In

Every risk manager is challenged to acquire management commitment to mitigate risk, but many supervisors do not recognize the value of implementing operation protocols that eliminate or mitigate risk, and it is often due to ineffective communication. This session will review elements such as identifying an advocate, developing a clear message and including specific benefits: cost, service, reputation 


Geoffrey Jones, Midwest Employers Casualty

Becoming a Transformational Leader

Many managers spend their days working through emails, sorting through stacks of papers on their desks and trying to keep up with the never-ending demands of overseeing their employees. All the while, many of your employees are more focused on “looking busy” than they are focused on high productivity. What if you could transform the culture within your organization from crisis management and a constant state of “survival”, to one where your employees are fully engaged in their work and experience fulfillment from their job? This presentation will equip you to create a culture change and improve your team members’ performance. The eventual result will be a more positive environment that yields high engagement, productivity and retention.


Randy Anderson, CSP, E3 Professional Trainers

Newly Elected or Appointed Officials: Understanding the Consequences of Risk

Things rarely stay the same when leadership changes. Those newly elected or appointed officials usually have an opinion regarding what needs to be done differently, but not always how to get it done with maximum benefit. We will discuss operational, financial and reputational risks and opportunities that leadership must understand to avoid unintended consequences and increase their positive impact. We will be showcasing examples of best practices and not so well-handled situations and the results. The format is designed to encourage discussion and war stories and “well done” efforts are encouraged.  


Dorothy Gjerdrum, ARM-P, CIRM, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

*Cram Session: From Here to There: Shared Transportation Risk

As covered in this session, the explosive growth of ride sharing, bike sharing and electric scooters presents cities with both risk benefits and challenges. Providing consumers with efficient short-range mobility solutions, these new transportation platforms can relieve congestion, reduce carbon emissions and provide easier access to public transportation. However, as with all innovations, new challenges are created. Public officials must grapple with integrating these vehicles into their streets, sidewalks and other mobility infrastructure. Concern for demands on infrastructure, pedestrians, the proliferation of “vehicle graveyards” and the susceptibility to passenger injury has led many cities to consider or implement regulations governing e-share vehicles.


Thom P. Rickert, CPCU, ARM-P, ARC, ARe, Argo Group

Smart Cities and the Infrastructure Revolution

Smart cities recognize the risks and rewards of the “city as a platform”. They use digital intelligence to transform citizen interaction with all levels of government – administration, services, public safety and healthcare. The revolution is not just about connected devices, automated vehicles or infrastructure. It encompasses and integrates hardware with software and data into an intertwined cyber-physical system. It uses the platform to make better decisions and deliver improved quality of life to citizens. A smart city's primary goal is social, economic and environmental sustainability. Discussed in this session will be how the benefits and costs of achieving that goal must be examined through the community's enterprise risk management strategy.


Thom P. Rickert, CPCU, ARM-P, ARC, ARe, Argo Group

Key Considerations in High Profile Critical Incidents

In today’s world, many incidents occurring within a public entity often end up in the news and goes viral on social media. The presenter will provide insight regarding the importance of training your staff to prepare for the handling of critical incidents. Tips on how to quickly identify the circumstances that can generate a highly publicized incident and show the processes that can help to effectively manage these situations will be discussed. The session will also deliver methods in which to restore the public’s confidence through community engagement, resolution or a public inquiry. 


Richard Spiers, CPCU, ARM, ARe, AIC, Spiers Consulting, LLC

Samuel C. Hall, Jr., Law Firm of Crivello Carlson, S.C.


Corporate Zen