Friday, June 30, 2017

In Memoriam: James L. Sandner

James L. Sandner, a distinguished voice and leader in the insurance and claims management industry, died Tuesday, June 27, 2017. He was 77.

Sandner was president and CEO of The Sandner Group, a company that provides insurance program management, alternative risk solutions, and claims management. He was a long-time partner with the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), helping to manage a number of the Association’s sponsored insurance-pool programs.

The Workers Compensation Self-Insurance Trust (WCSIT) was created in 1982 as a means for school boards to effectively contain the cost of workers’ compensation coverage and empower districts to proactively manage safety concerns. The Illinois School District Agency (ISDA) offers property casualty coverage through a pooled risk management program, which has allowed more than 150 Illinois school districts to receive specialized loss control services and low-cost property appraisals. Sandner was instrumental in both, creating ISDA and taking over management duties of WCSIT a few years after it was organized.

“Jim was a pioneer in developing risk-pools for public bodies, schools in particular,” said IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy. “He provided the opportunity for school districts to drive prices down and save millions of dollars.”

Former IASB Executive Director Michael D. Johnson met Sandner in 2000. “I was very impressed with his knowledge of self-insurance pools,” Johnson said. “When working with districts and IASB, he would always ask, ‘what is the school’s point of view.’ Then he would give us his advice, but he would always listen to our recommendation and he would follow what we had asked.”

Sander was highly respected in the world of self-insurance pools, becoming a nationally recognized leader on the subject.

“Following September 11, 2001, Jim and I were asked to go the White House to talk about terrorism insurance pools. That really speaks to how valued his opinions were on the subject,” said Johnson.

Eddy echoed a similar sentiment. “He would advise various states about how to best manage their insurance pools. Not only was he nationally recognized, but he was respected around the world. Lloyd’s of London would consult his services.”

James Sandner grew up on the south side of Chicago. He would go on to graduate from Loyola University Chicago with a B.S. in business administration and management. Sandner served 14 years in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves, and Illinois National Guard, retiring in 1977 as a captain. In addition to his work with The Sandner Group, he also managed a steel mill and was a state regulator for the insurance industry.

Sandner had six children and is survived by his wife, Erica. Further information on memorial services will be posted here when it becomes available.