At Cigna, a global health service company whose mission is to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those it serves, Brett Boskiewicz feels part of something bigger. Cigna “does things differently,” he says, and as senior managing counsel on the litigation team, Boskiewicz keeps the company’s customer-centric mission at the forefront of his work.
More than four years ago, when a friend reached out to Boskiewicz about an opportunity with Cigna, Boskiewicz was intrigued by the challenges and learning opportunities available at the company. “And when I interviewed and learned more about Cigna’s purpose and culture and saw the quality of the legal team, particularly in litigation, I was very excited about the opportunity to join,” he recalls.
Though Boskiewicz had cultivated a solid foundation in a broad range of legal matters before coming to Cigna, his introduction to the company entailed a bit of a learning curve. “There’s a steep learning curve coming into a company of this size and complexity. You can hit the ground running, but you’re going to be running for a while,” he says.
“There’s a steep learning curve coming into a company of this size and complexity. You can hit the ground running, but you’re going to be running for a while.”
Boskiewicz doesn’t regret having “run for a while,” though. “Someone told me when I started that it would take about three years to feel like I have my feet firmly underneath me,” he says. “That was great advice because it allowed me to have patience with myself as I learned as much as I possibly could about Cigna and the people across the enterprise who live Cigna’s mission every day.”
Naturally, Boskiewicz’s patience paid off. In his first role as counsel, he worked on mostly average-sized litigation matters involving Cigna’s core operations and provided legal support to the company’s claims resolution unit and service operations teams. Working with those teams gave him great exposure to how Cigna’s operations function and the various services Cigna provides, Boskiewicz says. “Many people on those teams have been with the company a long time. Those people have so much knowledge, experience, and perspective, and were very gracious with their time and willing to teach me how things were done and why they were done that way.”
Boskiewicz credits his rise through the company to that support and the many opportunities he received to learn about the company. But one experience in particular has stayed with him. Not long after he joined Cigna, he visited one of Cigna’s customer service operations facilities and spent time with the employees who help its customers every day.
“These people are typically the first point of contact for our customers when they need help or have questions about their healthcare benefits,” Boskiewicz says. “I sat in on their phone calls with customers, listened to how they responded to questions—often going above and beyond the questions asked, and felt how much they really cared about helping each customer. I heard many customer stories that day. I saw our employees demonstrate great empathy for our customers and a true desire to help them through any circumstance. They really personify and live Cigna’s mission every day.”
It is that experience, and Cigna’s employees and customers, that fuels Boskiewicz in his current role as senior managing counsel. “I keep Cigna’s purpose and our customers’ needs in the front of my mind in everything I do. I want to make sure that we do the right thing and focus on achieving the right result for Cigna, our customers, our clients, and our provider partners in every matter.”
“Brett is a great litigator because he combines his strong legal skill and deep knowledge of the industry with outstanding judgment,” Josh Simon, partner at Kirkland & Ellis Litigation, says of his colleague. “He always looks beyond the crisis of the day to see the big picture, and he is particularly adept at using lessons learned from litigation to improve the business. He is a pleasure to work with.”
In the legal department at Cigna, Boskiewicz and his litigation colleagues take a rather unusual approach to getting to “the right thing.”
“For many larger companies, litigation is reactive—defending litigation brought against the company—and is usually handled somewhat passively, following a more typical, formulaic litigation path,” he explains. “We do things differently. Our team is highly engaged from the beginning and proactively collects and evaluates information as soon as possible. This allows us to develop our strategy early in a case, provide informed recommendations to our stakeholders, and drive any changes that might be necessary.”
In other words, Boskiewicz and his team don’t manage litigation in the traditional sense. But since Cigna itself is known as an innovator within the healthcare space, the approach is quite fitting. “We develop and direct the litigation strategy consistent with Cigna’s values and mission and, more importantly, ensure that potential risks are appropriately addressed—often before the litigation matter has concluded,” Boskiewicz explains.
Cigna’s unique, differentiating approach in integrating medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health benefits focuses the coordination of care around the customer’s “whole person” health needs—in terms of both body and mind. “Our combination with Express Scripts has strengthened that approach and enhanced our ability to deliver personalized and affordable services to our customers,” Boskiewicz says. “It is an exciting time to be part of Cigna. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
Coming Together for Communities
Innovative healthcare services and solutions are not the only things Cigna has to offer. Through the Cigna Legal Volunteer Program (CLVP), members of the legal department are able to use their skills to help local communities. The program is also a chance to foster the sense of collaboration that Boskiewicz says defines the legal department, since program participants are encouraged to volunteer alongside their coworkers.
The results of that collaboration are unmistakable, as seen in the 2018 numbers for CLVP:
139 Cigna employees volunteered with the program
28 volunteer events took place
715+ total hours were spent on pro bono cases and events
“Brett is the kind of in-house healthcare litigator with whom Morgan Lewis relishes partnering. He combines a trial lawyer’s mentality with a goal-oriented approach and never loses sight of the big picture. He brings outside counsel “under the tent” and functions as a natural extension of the Morgan Lewis team representing Cigna.”
-Brian W. Shaffer, Partner
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