Features

Suzanne Spradley – NFP

Insurance exec is ethically best of the best

Taking shortcuts and fudging the numbers will only get you so far.

For a business to have stable and secure growth, it needs to be ethical from the start, Suzanne Spradley says. As chief compliance officer at NFP, she knows ethical leadership is good for business.

Suzanne Spradley | Chief Compliance Officer | NFP

Suzanne Spradley | Chief Compliance Officer | NFP

And if someone has a concern about unethical behavior, she wants to hear about and fix it. In addition to stewarding the company’s compliance department, she’s pushed for improved communication and transparency company wide.

The goal, she explains, is for people to understand NFP’s ethics and be unafraid to speak up if they see something that doesn’t align with company values.

“Corporate policies and standards need to be ethical,” she says. “I see it as imperative in how we serve clients and retain top talent, which are crucial for NFP to grow the right way. Leadership isn’t interested in checking boxes or cutting corners. We operate with a framework that gives us a clear path forward.”

Benchmarks of excellence

With U.S. headquarters in New York City, NFP is a global insurance broker and consultant that provides specialized property and casualty, corporate benefits and individual solutions.

When Spradley was hired in 2007, one of her first initiatives was building and leading the benefits compliance and insurance licensing teams before developing the corporate compliance program.

“I really wanted to find what the benchmarks of excellence were for corporate compliance and be sure we were meeting them,” she says.

While she’s still involved with the benefits compliance team, a colleague manages the day to day. Spradley now focuses on corporate and regulatory compliance as well as legislative affairs, where she lobbies on behalf of NFP in Washington, D.C.

Suzanne Spradley | Chief Compliance Officer | NFP

Internally, Spradley follows standards set by the Ethisphere Institute, which defines and measures corporate ethical standards and recognizes the world’s most ethical companies annually. Her goal is for NFP to one day earn this designation.

To prepare for the rigorous certification process, she’s focusing on ethics training and culture. She distributed surveys to gauge employee understanding of compliance and ethics policies and to identify any reluctance to report ethical concerns. She’s also working to improve overall compliance communication.

Spradley says it’s important to be transparent with ethical issues so employees are aware of what’s happening in the company. This also gives them insight into how matters are handled so they gain confidence that the company takes hotline reports seriously. She’s also involved in NFP’s “Speak Up” campaign, a communications effort that encourages employees to report actions they view as unethical.

“While our efforts are internal, they show our clients that ethics are a priority for NFP,” Spradley adds. “It’s a statement of where we stand and what we expect of ourselves and those we work with, including clients, partners and vendors.”

Ethical education

As NFP grows and acquires more companies, part of the challenge is articulating the company’s ethical culture while integrating new employees.

She says NFP is flexible, though, and open to hearing how other companies have operated. As she puts it, “NFP leaders encourage thoughtful dialogue versus just making people fall in line with the NFP way.”

She’s currently involved in the adoption of an internal digital platform where employees can access the company’s policies and easily search for and refer to them.

She also hosts a podcast at NFP where she “delves into the history of compliance issues and their impacts.” The podcast, part of NFP’s Insights from the Experts, breaks down complex topics, such as benefits compliance and compliance legislation.

“It allows for more richness when discussing these issues,” she says.

Suzanne Spradley | Chief Compliance Officer | NFP

Prior to working at NFP, Spradley was an insurance regulatory attorney in the Austin, Texas, office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. However, she began her career in medical sales before she finally pursued law, which is what she’d always wanted to do.

“It’d been in the back of my mind for years and was shaped by seeing my dad as a litigator and how respected he was,” she says.

To Spradley, respect and ethics go together because being ethical is all about doing what’s best for people. She says she’s grateful NFP executives share her values and care about doing the right thing.

NFP has several employee resources groups, including ones for women, Black professionals and working parents and caregivers. As the mother of quadruplets, Spradley says she appreciates the support NFP dedicates to families.

“Working at NFP, the culture is one of the most important things here,” she says. “It’s what draws people here and what keeps them here. There’s a lot of support for people to share their ideas and run with them.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer IV 2021 Edition here.

Published on: July 27, 2021

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.

LATEST EDITION

Fall II 2021

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.