This week our Backstory feature is with Dorothy Taylor, President and CEO of World Wide Specialty Programs, the premiere source for staffing insurance for more than 40 years. We spoke with Dorothy about World Wide’s solid footprint and commitment in the staffing industry, and how the company’s longevity, experience, and expertise distinguish its program from any other out there.
Dorothy’s career began with World Wide 30 years ago when she went to work for Eileen Lesberg, who had founded the company. Eileen is credited with being the first insurance professional to recognize the need for providing America’s staffing industry with insurance coverage, and was chairman of World Wide until her death at age 79 three years ago.
Dorothy’s rise to CEO of the company is a testament not only to her own unwavering passion and commitment to this space, but also Eileen’s focus on inspiring her employees and providing the staffing industry she served with insurance solutions that were delivered by individuals who were educated and trained in this area. “Eileen, sent me to school, trained, and taught me about this business,” said Dorothy. “I couldn’t have had a greater mentor than her, which is why I continued with the firm. I met this dynamic woman and ended up in an industry in which we were true pioneers in a specific niche, continually developing programs as the sector evolved and expanded. We have continued this tradition and approach, always looking for new and different solutions to offer to our retail brokers and staffing clients.”
In fact, World Wide’s 30 employees in Melville, New York, have been with the company an average of 12 years. “Most of our senior account executives have been here 15 years or more,” said Dorothy, our longest firm employee since 1972.”
What this translates to is a company that really knows the ins and outs of the staffing industry because that’s all we do. “We live and breathe this industry, which sets us a part,” explained Dorothy. “Our employees continued education is directly related to what we do, so that we can provide the best product and service to our clients.”
As the first program administrator/MGA for the staffing industry, World Wide has witnessed the changes the industry has undergone over the years. World Wide has set the bar in evolving its programs and continuously offering enhanced and new coverages. There is very little that World Wide won’t consider writing because of their longevity and experience in the arena. “Data and statistical analysis goes back decades,” said Dorothy. “You can see how the industry expanded, when professionals entered the field, at which point the IT staff became more involved – all bringing new exposures and impacted the type of coverage that was required. We’ve responded very quickly to these changes. No one else can.”
Dorothy explained that the industry’s uniqueness requires personalization. “Nothing is in a box, no two staffing firms are exactly alike. This should be reflected in the insurance solutions provided. We work with the broker, the staffing firm, and the carrier to make the necessary customization. We have broad underwriting authority.”
What’s more, World Wide has had a long-term partnership with the American Staffing Association (ASA), and has worked closely with them to understand changes in the industry and how these changes impact what their members need to protect against risk. “We have a symbiotic relationship with ASA,” said Dorothy.
World Wide’s program is national and available on an open-access basis. This program includes: Commercial Umbrella/Excess Liability, Direct Hire/Personnel Consultants E&O, Employee Benefits Liability, Employment Related Practices, Fidelity Bond, General Liability, Hired and Non-Owned Auto, Office Package Policy, Professional Liability, Property Coverage, Temporary Help Service E&O, and Workers Compensation.
“The different policies fit together like a puzzle,” said Dorothy. “Any placed employee professional and or non-professional, can cause a financial loss to a client. A proper staffing Professional Liability policy covers for that loss by the placed employee(s) and must also cover the mistakes made by the staffing firm in the placement of the employees with their clients. This coverage, as well, must include the selection of the employees being placed, which encompass improper, incomplete, or failure to perform background checks. Often times staffing firms are misled by thinking that the Professional Liability puzzle piece is only needed when they are placing professionals, i.e. programmers, attorneys, medical workers, etc. The reality is, any placed employee, professional or not, can cause a financial loss to the firm’s client and a proper staffing Professional Liability policy will cover for that type of loss. Another puzzle piece, is when the placed employee commits a dishonest act the Fidelity Bond will respond, when it has staffing services coverage extensions. Look to General Liability specifically designed for staffing services losses if a loss is caused due to bodily injury and or property damage. The puzzle is held together with the limits of liability for each of these coverages and putting the puzzle together is what we do so well.”
In addition, Dorothy explained that bringing a comprehensive insurance solution with only one carrier is an advantage that they provide. “Most other sources for insurance for the staffing industry will offer a piece-meal program, providing coverages from different carriers. This could result in problems especially when there is a loss. You shouldn’t have to worry about who is going to cover a loss. It’s the carrier’s responsibility, which is why our program and products are with one insurance company. It benefits the client.”
When asked about the economy and how the staffing industry is particularly affected, Dorothy has seen blimps in the past but said this sector is always the first to recover. “We’ve been seeing a recovery since last summer, and the industry is turning a corner.”
In terms of marketing, ProgramBusiness has been a great source for World Wide. Additionally, World Wide runs print ads to support their associations and clients for top-of-mind awareness. They do a great deal of email campaigns and on-line marketing, as well as attend tradeshows to meet both the staffing firms and brokers.
“We also provide marketing support for brokers in any way we can,” said Dorothy. “We encourage them to schedule conference calls with us and prospective clients if they need our help in providing additional insight and expertise to accounts. We’ll help brokers prepare submissions and each year we streamline the process for the broker, which benefits everyone. Some brokers ask us to accompany them on client visits. We are currently developing workshops to be delivered on a regional basis to educate brokers on the staffing industry.”
Dorothy emphasized that there isn’t anything they won’t consider when it comes to staffing. If a broker has an account, he/she should contact World Wide.
Most importantly, just as World Wide’s history has shown that they’ve been constantly expanding and growing their program to meet the staffing industry’s needs, brokers and their clients can continue to expect the same level of commitment, service, and passion from them today and into the future.