2017 NWCDC Preview

Leading With Technology

The newest educational track at NWCDC reflects the growing role of technology in the workers' comp environment.
By: | November 27, 2017 • 2 min read

The thought of “insurtech” inevitably disrupting established processes and familiar practices for purchasing insurance and managing claims may scare some workers’ compensation industry practitioners.


But insurtech also may deliver a positive impact, especially for those practitioners who learn to take advantage of the changes currently underway and those likely to arrive in the near future, said Jeffrey Austin White, Senior VP and product manager, workers’ compensation, at Gallagher Bassett.

White will speak on the topic during the 26th Annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo to be held Dec. 6-8 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The former director of innovation at worker’s comp insurer AF Group is known for his forward thinking on how technology impacts insurance and workers’ comp, and its disruption of existing systems.

“Most people [negatively] look at insurtech as disruption,” White said. “I don’t want people to think of it as a bad thing. Because you can use it to your advantage.”

White’s presentation, titled “How Will Insurtech Impact the Claims World” will be part of the new Technology track added just this year to NWCDC’s other educational tracks that include Medical Management, Program Management, Legal/Regulatory, Disability Management and Claims Management.

NWCDC added the Technology track to help workers’ comp professionals gain an understanding of the emerging systems quickly becoming part of the workers’ compensation landscape.

In addition to speaking on using insurtech to one’s advantage, White said he also plans to detail where insurtech is entering workers’ comp and discuss new technologies that may become mainstream.

“Most people [negatively] look at insurtech as disruption. I don’t want people to think of it as a bad thing. Because you can use it to your advantage.” — Jeffrey Austin White, Senior VP and product manager, workers’ compensation, Gallagher Bassett

Part of his discussion aims to help his audience prepare for the future by highlighting technologies such as robotic process automation and its impact on insurance processes.

Staying true to NWCDC’s mission of providing practical educational session content, the Technology Track will also feature Travelers’ Melissa Burke, second VP, workers’ compensation, as well as Sangarapil Manoharan, an MD and regional chief of service, occupational medicine at Kaiser-On-The-Job.

They will discuss lessons they’ve learned along the road to implementing telemedicine.


The goal is to help attendees avoid pitfalls and learn how to gain maximum benefit when employing the telemed and telehealth technologies that are currently disrupting health care, Burke said.

“We will walk [attendees] through the perspective of the injured employee, the carrier, the employer and the provider,” Burke added.

Other NWCDC Technology Track sessions will include a review of the current state of mobile technology and use of apps in the workers’ comp claims world, existing wearable technology for injury prevention and post-loss claims management, and a look at how high-performance claims organizations apply technology.

The latter session will include speakers representing an employer, a TPA, an insurer and a medical management company.

Janine Kral, VP of risk management at Nordstrom, will open the conference with a keynote address titled “The Nordstrom Way: Boosting Injured-Worker Engagement.” Kral will share the retailer’s strategy for applying its famed customer-service culture to the care of injured workers.

NWCDC’s entire agenda and registration information are available online.

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Janet Sheiner, VP of risk management and real estate at AMN Healthcare Services Inc., sees innovation as an answer to fast-evolving and emerging risks.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

As a kid, bagging groceries. My first job out of school, part-time temp secretary.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Risk management picks you; you don’t necessarily pick it. I came into it from a regulatory compliance angle. There’s a natural evolution because a lot of your compliance activities also have the effect of managing your risk.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?


There’s much benefit to grounding strategic planning in an ERM framework. That’s a great innovation in the industry, to have more emphasis on ERM. I also think that risk management thought leaders are casting themselves more as enablers of business, not deterrents, a move in the right direction.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Justified or not, risk management functions are often viewed as the “Department of No.” We’ve worked hard to cultivate a reputation as the “Department of Maybe,” so partners across the organization see us as business enablers. That reputation has meant entertaining some pretty crazy ideas, but our willingness to try and find a way to “yes” tempered with good risk management has made all the difference.

Janet Sheiner, VP, Risk Management & Real Estate, AMN Healthcare Services Inc.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

San Diego, of course!  America’s Finest City has the infrastructure, Convention Center, hotels, airport and public transportation — plus you can’t beat our great weather! The restaurant scene is great, not to mention those beautiful coastal views.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

The emergence of risk management as a distinct profession, with four-year degree programs and specific academic curriculum. Now I have people on my team who say their goal is to be a risk manager. I said before that risk management picks you, but we’re getting to a point where people pick it.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?


The commercial insurance market’s ability to innovate to meet customer demand. Businesses need to innovate to stay relevant, and the commercial market needs to innovate with us.  Carriers have to be willing to take on more risk and potentially take a loss to meet the unique and evolving risks companies are facing.

R&I: Of which insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion?

Beazley. They have been an outstanding partner to AMN. They are responsive, flexible and reasonable.  They have evolved with us. They have an appreciation for risk management practices we’ve organically woven into our business, and by extension, this makes them more comfortable with taking on new risks with us.

R&I: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. health care industry and why?

I am very optimistic about the health care industry. We have an aging population with burgeoning health care needs, coupled with a decreasing supply of health care providers — that means we have to get smarter about how we manage health care. There’s a lot of opportunity for thought leaders to fill that gap.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Professionally, AMN Healthcare General Counsel, Denise Jackson, has enabled me to do the best work I’ve ever done, and better than I thought I could do.  Personally, my husband Andrew, a second-grade teacher, who has a way of putting things into a human perspective.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

In my early 20s, I set a goal for the “corner office.” I achieved that when I became vice president.  I received a ‘Values in Practice’ award for trust at AMN. The nomination came from team members I work with every day, and I was incredibly humbled and honored.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

The noir genre, so anything by Raymond Chandler in books. For movies,  “Double Indemnity,” the 1944 Billy Wilder classic, with insurance at the heart of it!

R&I: What is your favorite drink?


Clean water. Check out Water.org for how to help people enjoy clean, safe water.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant at which you’ve eaten?

Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

China. See favorite restaurant above. This restaurant had been open for 100 years in that location. It didn’t exactly have an “A” rating, and it was probably not a place most risk managers would go to.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Eating that duck at Liqun!

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

Dr. Seuss who, in response to a 1954 report in Life magazine, worked to reduce illiteracy among school children by making children’s books more interesting. His work continues to educate and entertain children worldwide.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

They’re not really sure!

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]