T. Hale Johnston, Author at Insurance Thought Leadership




T. Hale Johnston

T. Hale Johnston

Hale Johnston formed Hale Strategic Consulting to help organizations navigate and thrive in an increasingly competitive environment. During his 20-plus-year career in insurance, he has led every facet of the workers’ compensation insurance value chain.

Before forming Hale Strategic Consulting, Johnston served as a senior vice president with a publicly traded commercial insurance company. With full P&L responsibility for operations in California and ultimately over 11 Western states, he reduced operating as well as acquisition expenses and consistently produced industry leading results. Johnston successfully integrated disparate regional operations. He championed an aggressive migration from multiple legacy systems, which enabled him to create “open space” for the California operations to collaborate with the broader organization to build a new, inclusive strategy that facilitated rapid alignment and integration. His productive leadership allowed the company to capture and hold status as a top-10 market share provider in California. Additionally, the new technology platform allowed his team to spearhead a fully automated underwriting and pricing engine that supported a three-fold increase in customer count while reducing salary costs by more than 20%.

In the first six months as the leader of the operations in the 11 Western states, Johnston drove aggressive consolidation of regional operations. He condensed seven full-service, semi-autonomous branch offices into three field support offices. Within 18 months, key milestones were exceeded as he rapidly shifted business mix by account size and hazard group to align with corporate objectives. Most importantly, Johnston’s emphasis on absolute strategic focus and franchise value increased revenue from $180 million to $400 million.

Johnston frequently contributed beyond his direct responsibilities. He established the company’s first affinity program, which generated more than $9 million of revenue and opened the door for additional affinity-based programs. Johnston’s affinity model ultimately led to a national program with a large trade association that produced more than $100 million in annual revenue for the company.

After a large acquisition, Johnston successfully led the effort to combine all IT systems onto one standard platform. This included drafting an enterprise-wide operational framework to underpin uniformity and consistency across the enterprise. This allowed the company to further consolidate operations, driving down expenses. More recently, Johnston successfully led the effort to set up additional operating companies in California. He used this opportunity to design and implement improved pricing algorithms. This greatly expanded the price range, which in turn allowed the team to achieve deal quality from a broader spectrum of risks. This initiative greatly expanded the viable size of the company’s target market in California.

Johnston started his career in the Midwest as a research analyst for a private holding company that provided a suite of insurance services to commercial clients. Ultimately, Johnston became chief information officer and then rose to chief operating officer before selling major portions of the company to a larger, publicly traded commercial insurance holding company. After the successful integration of acquired assets, the acquiring company asked Johnston to build a hybrid agency-direct telephonic sales operation. This was a “start-up” P&L for a national book of small commercial business. The telephonic sales unit proved to be a success and generated a 12-month return on equity in excess of 20%.

Johnston is widely recognized in the industry as an engaged creative thinker with vision and drive. He served on the board of directors for the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) for more than seven years and assumed many roles, including chairman. Additionally, Johnston served two terms on the board of governors for the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), where he participated on various committees. Johnston is one of the founding trustees of the Command and General Staff College Foundation for the U.S. Army in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He is also a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy.

He is a graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO, where he majored in political science and history.

Recent Articles by T. Hale Johnston

‘4-Lanes’ Approach to Work Comp Claims

Claims operations have ascended the value chain from an “island in the stream” technical function into a key facet of the customer value proposition. To handle the growing demands, it’s important to think about work comp claims in terms of four lanes. The first lane is governed by compliance rules and requires not just compliance […]

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  • Claims Management
  • Workers Compensation
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