Continuring a Secure Legacy
Hilary Ingoldsby Whitesides
October 1, 2008
When Ray Pickup received a promotion at work, family and friends had the same response: “Be careful out there.”
Pickup’s work may not be deemed physically dangerous, but as the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of Utah’s Workers Compensation Fund (WCF), he believes in being careful, as well as in the organization’s catchy new slogan.
With 13 years of experience behind him, most recently as WCF chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Pickup is ready for his new responsibilities. He replaced Lane Summerhays, a friend and colleague for 20 years, who stepped down from his position to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pittsburgh. “In addition to being a great friend, [Summerhays] has been a real mentor to me,” Pickup says.
The two have a long history, since Summerhays offered Pickup a job at Alta Health Strategies (now First Health Strategies) in 1990. Two years later, Summerhays joined WCF and asked Pickup to follow him 18 months later. When Summerhays received his mission call in December 2007, Pickup was appointed to take his place.
“I feel it a great honor and privilege to be [WCF] president,” Pickup says, and he plans to continue the WCF legacy Summerhays left behind by forging ahead with some areas he focused on, including customer service, the company’s fiscal strength, low workers compensation insurance costs and community involvement. WCF is also involved in many charitable organizations, including the United Way.
Since Pickup joined WCF, the company has seen lower premiums, fewer accidents and higher financial returns. Pickup says premiums have gone down 25 percent in the last few years, earning Utah the third lowest rates in the nation, according to an independent study. Utah’s WCF also recently earned an “A” rating from A.M. Best Company for financial success. Such achievements and financial stability allow the company to give back to the policy holders, who Pickup says are the real owners of the company.
“We plan to continue paying policy holder dividends. It’s one of the ways we share profits with the policy holders,” Pickup says. “If we have a better year than expected we will return money to policy holders.”
WCF, a quasi-public corporation, has returned $302 million in dividends back to policy holders since 1992.
Pickup says he’s grateful for the support he has received from independent agents, customers and WCF management since his promotion. With years of experience and success behind him, Pickup is certainly keeping WCF in good hands.
“It’s wonderful to work for a company that has such a worthwhile purpose,” Pickup says. “We have about 20 employees teaching employers how to prevent injuries and when and if they are injured we play an important role in getting them better and repairing lives.”