ISSUE: AEU Maritime Safety and Claims Forum

The “fall” season this October was a busy one for Steve Morris, and for the entire Loss Control team at The American Equity Underwriters (AEU).

Steve, a Senior Loss Control Manager for AEU, was a speaker at the Shipbuilders Council of America’s Fall Health & Safety Seminar in Louisville, KY on October 4th and 5th.  The Seminar is sponsored in part by AEU.  Steve’s topic was, “Safety Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors”.

Steve was back at it on October 10th in New Orleans as the Chairman of AEU’s Maritime Safety Forum.  We’ve previously referred to this semi-annual Forum (formerly known as the AEU Safety Committee) as the premier maritime safety event in the country.  This is not hyperbole.  This event, providing a unique educational and entertaining sharing opportunity for Members of the American Longshore Mutual Association (ALMA), their brokers, and special invitees, continues to expand as the number of attendees grows. 

In recent years, the recurring description of the most recent Forums has been “the largest yet”.  This October 2012 meeting is no exception, with over 100 total attendees. 

Among the many features and presentations, the program included individual Members’ Safety Program Reviews by Roy Martin of Jeffboat and Tony Flores of International Transportation Service.  There also was a presentation on “Executive Management Support for Safety”, separate breakout Sessions for shipyards and marine cargo handling segments, an Introduction to the AEU Maritime Industry Fall Prevention Guidance Document, a presentation on “Drug Use in the Work Place – New Synthetic Drugs” by DEA Agent Dan Holmes, and a presentation on “Strain Injury Prevention” by Trevor Bardarson, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, Industrial Safety and Rehabilitation Institute.

Each presentation was very well received and was accompanied by considerable interaction with attendees through numerous comments and questions.

The Forum also introduced a new feature, and one that is expected to expand in the future.  The initial AEU Maritime Claims Forum commenced immediately upon the adjournment of the Safety Forum.  On hand to meet with Members were several of the claims experts from the American Equity Risk Services’ (AERS) Metairie office.  AERS is now a wholly owned subsidiary of AEU.

During the Claims Forum there were presentations on “Controlling and Securing the Accident Scene” by A.J. Montalbano of AEU, “Identifying and Preserving Subrogation” by Royce Ray, AEU’s Director of Subrogation, and “Neuro-Pain Management Diagnosis and How to Better Understand and Manage This Medical Care” by Dr. Kevin Bianchini. There was also an open Q & A Panel Discussion led by Will Scheffler, the AERS’ Director of Claims, and Frank Moreau, also of AERS.

As usual, this latest Forum was the biggest and best yet.

Jimmy Burgin, AEU’s Director of Loss Control, announced that the next AEU Maritime Safety Forum is tentatively scheduled for April 10 and 11, 2013, at a location to be determined.

If you have any questions about this most recent Forum or the AEU Safety Forum in general you can contact me at