Critical Insights From the 2017 AMERIND Risk Institute in Albuquerque — And a Breathtaking Hot Air Balloon Flight!

Merian Juneau, the Human Resources Manager for the Quinault Nation Enterprise Board

Published October 20, 2017

 ALBUQUERQUE The 2017 AMERIND Risk Institute turned the spotlight on critical topics—such as smart actions to improve survival rates in the event of an active shooter, understanding the claims process, and Tribal Workers’ Compensation. Hosted October 10-11 at Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Institute delivered engaging training sessions, networking activities, and a great lineup of exhibitors showcasing their products and services.

“The AMERIND Risk Board of Directors and Staff thank you for joining us at the 2017 AMERIND Risk Institute. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge, support and necessary resources to continue to foster safe environments within the home, workplace and Tribal communities throughout Indian Country,” said Derek Valdo (Pueblo of Acoma), AMERIND Risk CEO.

In his welcoming speech, Chairman Greg Borene enthusiastically thanked AMERIND Risk members for attending the Institute, and shared his appreciation for AMERIND’s dedicated Board and team. He additionally commented on the recent, devastating wildfires in California and Montana and the hurricanes in Florida. “We just never know when destruction will hit,” Chairman Borene said, underscoring the importance of safety preparedness. “AMERIND Members were fortunate that the damage in both areas were minimal; next time, we may not be so fortunate.”

During the General Assembly, Kenneth Lucero, a Field Representative in the office of U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D-New Mexico), took the stage to share information about Sen. Heinrich’s new proposed bill. The Tribal Connect Act of 2017 aims to empower Tribes with E-Rate program funding to deploy broadband.

Below, AMERIND Risk breaks down a few of the topics covered at the Institute:

Active Shooter
On the heels of the Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in United States’ history, the need for Tribal governments and businesses to prepare for the threat of an active shooter is paramount. Natowa Garcia (Santa Ana Pueblo), an AMERIND Risk Safety Field representative, led the Institute’s active shooter session on emergency preparedness and actions to help save lives.

Protecting Tribal Assets

When business leaders proactively promote a workplace safety culture, it protects the three most important assets of any Tribal organization: people, financial assets, and property. Ray Tafoya (Pueblo of Santo Domingo), AMERIND Field Representative, demonstrated ways to prioritize safety awareness in everyday operations through interactive discussions and scenarios.

Understanding Your Claims Process

In this must-attend session for directors and staff responsible for reporting claims, Alan Romero, AMERIND Risk Director of Claims, covered all the steps in the claims filing process—from reporting to closing the claim.

Tribal Workers’ Compensation

Mike Melchior, Claims Manager for the AMERIND Tribal Workers’ Compensation (TWC) program, led this information session on what, when and how to report a claim, and why accident investigation is important.

Lift Off! Winner of AMERIND Risk Institute’s Complimentary Hot Air Balloon Ride, Merian Juneau, Soars High in the Albuquerque Sky

Experiencing the serene sense of flight in a hot air balloon was a bucket list item for Merian Juneau, the Human Resources Manager for the Quinault Nation Enterprise Board (QNEB).

Last week, she checked it off her list.

Taking off in mass ascension, more than 500 vibrant-colored hot air balloons launched shortly after 7 a.m., cruising Albuquerque’s crisp blue skies for the 46th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The AMERIND Risk Institute overlapped the nine-day balloon festival, which ran October 7-15. The morning air, chilly and refreshing, grew warmer as the sun rose higher above the Sandia Mountain Range. An hour later, among a sea of balloons, Juneau landed softly in the arms of Mother Earth.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Juneau said. “It was absolutely amazing and breathtaking.”

Juneau was overjoyed to win the complimentary hot air balloon ride through AMERIND Risk’s raffle, benefiting the AMERIND Risk Tribal Family Emergency Fund, which supports uninsured Native families who are devastated by disaster. Online registrants for the 2017 AMERIND Risk Institute received one free raffle ticket. All attendees had the opportunity to increase their chances of winning raffle prizes by purchasing additional raffle tickets on site.  AMERIND also presented Teresa (Terry) Payne, a Resident Services Specialist and Financial Counselor at the Spokane Indian Housing Authority, with an Apple iWatch. She was the Early Bird registrant-drawing winner. AMERIND Risk thanks everyone who purchased raffle tickets.

Soaring high above the city, she spotted Albuquerque landmarks and three Pueblos in the distance. “I want to thank AMERIND Risk for the opportunity,” Juneau added.

Beyond her high-flying adventure, Juneau greatly enjoyed networking at the AMERIND Risk Institute. “I highly recommend coming to the AMERIND Risk Institute for all of the learning experiences. It’s a great hands-on networking experience,” said Juneau, a Quinault Nation member. The Quinault Indian Nation is a long-standing Member of AMERIND Risk. AMERIND insures its Tribal Government as well as all Quinault Nation Enterprises.

As the HR manager for the QNEB, Juneau oversees the Tribe’s fish processing plants, its retail stores and more. To brush up her knowledge on liability claims, the underwriting process, and Tribal Workers’ Compensation (TWC), Juneau attended numerous educational sessions at the Institute. “I’m in the process of updating and revising HR policies, so I came to the AMERIND Risk Institute to learn more about our insurance coverages and the expanded Tribal Workers’ Compensation coverages,” Juneau said.

Save the date! Join us at the 2018 AMERIND | NAIHC Annual Convention & Tradeshow hosted in San Diego, California, May 30 – June 1.

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