NWCDC Chairman's Message

NWCDC Topic ‘Wish List’ Released

If you're still weighing options for a speaker proposal for this year's NWCDC, the selection team is offering a broad range of suggestions.
By: | February 13, 2017 • 3 min read

The team that selects speakers for the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo has released a “wish list” of topics they would like to hear presented during this year’s event, December 6-8, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Workers’ compensation and non-occupational disability management professionals wanting to speak during the 26th Annual NWCDC might review the list to see whether those topics match your area of expertise. If so, consider submitting a request for proposal describing your related presentation concept.

But NWCDC’s speaker decision process is not limited to choosing only the topics on the list below. Potential speakers are encouraged to apply their own creativity and expert knowledge to submit additional presentation ideas. The selection group is dedicated to considering proposals from topics across the industry spectrum.

March 10 is the deadline for submitting RFPs

Submitting multiple RFPs is acceptable. Doing so increases your chances of being selected to present and can help distinguish your proposals when NWCDC receives multiple RFPs containing the same general topic idea. For instance, we can only select a limited number of presentations discussing pharmacy management.

So if you desire to speak on pharmacy management, for example, you might submit an RFP on that topic in addition to RFPs on other workers’ comp and non-occupational disability management subjects.

In choosing topics and speakers, the selection committee prefers presenters offering practical solutions that help workers’ comp and disability claims payers and managers resolve difficult and commonly-faced challenges. While we place an emphasis on presentations with practical solutions, there is also room for discussions that enlighten on current trends impacting workers’ comp and disability management.

NWCDC prioritizes proposals that include employers as a presenters. We have learned that our attendees prefer to hear case studies presented by employers that have adopted successful strategies rather than sales pitches offered by service providers.

We also understand, however, that not all presentations can include an employer speaker and we value the knowledge and information that other workers’ comp professionals serving the payer community bring to the conference.

Presentation proposals can focus on new, innovative strategies that reduce injuries and costs. But risk managers, workers’ comp managers, and disability managers are also welcome, for example, to share their experiences with implementing tried-and-true practices at their companies.

NWCDC’s selection committee includes Denise Algire, director, managed care & disability corporate risk at Albertsons Companies; Bill Wainscott, manager, workers’ compensation and occupational health at International Paper; Dan Reynolds, editor-in-chief at Risk & Insurance; and Roberto Ceniceros, NWCDC chair and senior editor at Risk & Insurance®.

Presentation proposal topics that NWCDC’s speaker selection committee are eager to evaluate and select from include:

  • HIPAA compliance in managing workers’ compensation claims and safety
  • OSHA regulations and strategies for post-accident drug testing
  • Leveraging an employee assistance program for workers’ comp and disability claims
  • To settle or not settle open claims involving active employees
  • Strategies for managing cumulative trauma claims occurring in multiple jurisdictions
  • Broker and insurer perspectives on managing claims and vendors
  • Strategies for cross-examining medical providers
  • ADA, EEOC and FMLA compliance topics
  • Preventing and managing contractor and temp worker claims
  • Truly engaging medical providers, not just ranking them
  • Employers describing how they implemented claims-advocacy programs
  • Employer perspectives on how analytics or predictive modeling were applied to impact outcomes
  • Injury and claims reporting using apps
  • Total worker health impacting occupational and non-occupational claims
  • Leveraging the role of TPA claims supervisors
  • Nurse and employer perspectives on case management used to facilitate optimal outcomes
  • Distracted driving safety initiatives
  • Regulators’ perspective on changes occurring in key states

New this year, NWCDC is adding a technology session track that will create opportunities for additional speakers.

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In addition to the technology-themed ideas mentioned above — such as injury reporting using apps and employer strategies for applying predictive modeling — other potential technology discussions include telematics use, telemedicine, wearables for safety and claims management, and the state of systems allowing employees to apply for benefits electronically, ask questions, and submit forms.

Questions about submitting speaker RFPs can be directed to Roberto Ceniceros, conference chair, at 208 957-8705 or at [email protected].

Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at [email protected] Read more of his columns and features.

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The Profession

This senior risk manager values his role in helping Varian Medical Systems support research and technologies in the fight against cancer.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

When I was 15 years old I had a summer job working for the city of Plentywood, mowing grass in the parks and ballfields, emptying garbage cans, hauling waste to the dump, painting crosswalk lines.  A great job for a teenager but I thought getting a college degree and working in an air-conditioned office would be a good plan long term.

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

I was enrolled in the University of Montana as a general business student, and I wanted to declare a more specialized major during my sophomore year. I was working for my dad at his insurance agency over the summer, and taking new agent training coursework on property/casualty risks in my spare time, so I had an appreciation for insurance. My dad suggested I research risk management for a career, and I transferred sight unseen to the University of Georgia to enroll in their risk management program. I did an internship as a senior with the risk management department at Sulzer Medica, and they offered me a full time job.

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

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We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks. If we initiate a collaborative exercise with the risk owners — people who may have unique knowledge about that particular risk — and include a cross section of people from other corporate functions, you can do an effective job of taking the risk apart to analyze it, figure out a way to manage that exposure, and then reap the upside benefits while reducing the downside exposure. That can be done with new products and new service offerings, when there isn’t coverage available for a risk. It’s asking, is there anything we can do to reduce the risk without transferring it?

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

Cyber liability. There’s so much at stake and the bad guys are getting more resourceful every day. At Varian, our first approach is to try to make our systems and products more resilient, so we’re trying to direct resources to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s a huge reputation risk if one of our products or systems were compromised, so we want to avoid that at all costs.

We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

I’ve worked with a number of great ones over the years. We’ve enjoyed a great property insurance relationship with Zurich. Their loss control services are very valuable to us. On the umbrella liability side, it’s been great partnering with companies like Swiss Re and Berkley Life Sciences because they’ve put in the time and effort to understand our unique risk exposures.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

One hundred percent through a broker. I view our broker as an extension of our risk management team. We benefit from each team member’s respective area of expertise and experience.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

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I think so. The brokers were kind of villainized by Spitzer. I think it’s fair for brokers and insurers to make a reasonable profit, and if a portion of their profit came from contingent commissions, I’m fine with that. But I do appreciate the transparency and disclosure that came out as a result of the fiasco.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

David Collins, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Varian Medical Systems Inc.

While we might be doing fine here in the U.S. from an economic perspective, the Middle East is a mess, and we’re living with nuclear threat from North Korea. But hope springs eternal, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping saner minds prevail and our leaders throughout the world work together to make things better.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My Dad got me started down the insurance and risk path. I’ve also been fortunate to work for or with a number of University of Georgia alumni who’ve been mentors for me. I’ve worked side by side with Karen Epermanis, Michael Rousseau, and Elisha Finney. And I’ve worked with Daniel Dean in his capacity as a broker.

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

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Raising my kids. I have a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, and they’re making mom and dad proud of the people they’re turning into.

On a professional level, a recent one would be the creation and implementation of our global travel risk program, which was a combined effort between security, travel and risk functions.

We have a huge team of service personnel around the world, traveling to customer sites to do maintenance and repair. We needed a way to track, monitor and communicate with them. We may need to make security arrangements or vet their lodging in some circumstances.

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

My 12-year-old son thought my job responsibilities could be summed up as a “professional worrier.” And that’s not too far off.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Varian’s mission is to focus energy on saving lives. Proper administration of the risk function puts the company in a better position to financially support research that improves products and capabilities, helps to educate health care providers and support cancer care in general. It means more lives saved from a terrible disease. I’m proud to contribute toward that.

When you meet someone whose cancer has been successfully treated with one of our products, it’s a powerful reward.




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