Personal opinion

TBLThe last part of this statement  in the 2016 Annual Report would have got me fired:

We were entrusted by Liberty Mutual to do the best science we could and to differentiate the company in the marketplace by translating research findings to practical, evidence-based solutions for customers” 

It was the antithesis of what we were and strove to be.   We lived (and thrived) by our mission statement:

To differentiate Liberty Mutual Group as the market leader by performing and supporting business-relevant research in injury prevention and disability reduction.

Personal Response to Press provided questions:

  1. “Over the last several decades many top-tier research groups and organizations have entered the area of conducting workplace safety research,” the insurer said in an emailed statement.”  and “Other organizations and universities are better positioned to do that kind of research”

Is this true? Who are these “top-tier research groups and organizations have entered the area of conducting workplace safety research?”

Liberty had capacities unavailable elsewhere in the United States, given the mix of experimental and epidemiological resources working together, which provided for a unique approach to evaluating risk and limits to human behaviors in the work place.

The claim that Over the last several decades many top-tier research groups…. Was true in the 80s it is an out of touch and out of date position which cannot be taken seriously in 2017.

The current financial support from Federal and private sources has been under pressure since that period and Liberty was a unique outlier in that regard.  The distance from current funding sources and Liberty’s traditional position can discerned from Ted Kelly’s remarks in 2004 “

In short within these walls, we changed lives.  We kept our promise and we honored our pledge to help lead safe more secure lives”

There are no “Other organizations and universities are better positioned to do that kind of researchother than Liberty Mutual – and such a claim illustrates how divorced the Company executive has become from the Institute management.

  1. “Instead, we will engage with independent specialists and external partners to assist us in meeting our customers’ evolving safety and accident prevention needs and in delivering exceptional experiences and outcomes. Partners include MIT, Harvard School of Public Health, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.” 

I am not aware of the extent of the relationship with MIT or Amherst, but as the person who approached, negotiated and agreed the other global agreements this is BS.  None of these institutions will even entertain assisting in “in meeting our customers’ evolving safety and accident prevention needs and in delivering exceptional experiences and outcomes.  Either a callous, or an ignorant, view of how premier institutions interact with funders

And “We will use funds to continue and create partnerships with organizations and specialists that give us the flexibility to tap into research studying the evolving ways that people are living and working,”

My understanding is that they already have relationships with those partners. How is that different from what they’re doing now? Exactly, Cusolito is blowing smoke – but that is what he is paid to do

What do you think they mean when they say they will “engage” with independent specialists and external partners? The best I suppose is that they will pay consultants to produce materials for distribution.  I cannot imagine any of the known contributors from any serious program would do this – even for $.  Over to the safety “consultants” – interesting, as Liberty has always claimed to have the best consultants in loss control…..

What does “the flexibility to tap into research” mean? BS, but obviously allows them NOT to continue doing the good work for which Liberty was once known around the world.

  1. “And the nature of work has changed as well. More people are working remotely or in shared spaces and manufacturing now involves robots doing assembly line work, Cusolito said.”

This is confusing to say the least. Lots of people are hurt and killed by robots. And the fact that work relationships have changed (e.g. temporary workers) doesn’t mean that the work itself has changed. Not sure what working remotely has to do with anything. Bizarre. Any comment?

A play at the crazy, but popular view, that there are no factory jobs in the US. 

However, I am assuming that slips, trips and falls are the major source of loss in home work; the behavioral issues are amenable to the work done by Helen Wellman in changing modes of work, Emily Huang’s work on attitudinal assessments and the Institute’s work on driving work is obviously significant to working remotely.  Smoke and BS

  1. As far as I can tell, they’re laying off the entire staff (44 people). How will they able to do the above with no staff?

I think that they do not intend to continue once the news has subsided. 

They do have some engineers who could write up the stuff they need for that was how I managed to keep the actual scientists away from those issues – however, the idea that an MIT scientist will sit down and provide advice to these guys could only appeal to a person who was smoking something.

Of particular concern is the widely used and quoted Work Place Safety Index.  The maintenance of the validity of this index requires a skilled and dedicated data person with skills in epidemiology and used to handling “dirty” data.  This latter condition can be met, but I do not believe Liberty has the skill available to perform the former.  But if you are not interested in the validity of the Index and regard it only as a marketing tool…..

  1. Do you know what the budget of the institute was?

 I assume somewhere north of 8M

Tom Leamon

 

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