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.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to risk management.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

I sent a résumé to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of interviewing to get that job, but it was well worth it.

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

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The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. That kind of courage is undeniable, and that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all be that passionate about something at least once in our lives.

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

Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion. I think state sponsored bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, and the risk is that they find a way to control entire systems.

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

Training and breaking horses. When I was in high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did everything from building fences to putting up hay. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for horses. They would tolerate me getting real close, so it was natural I started working more and more with them.

Eventually, I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.

I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.

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

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Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.

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

Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything works like a finely tuned clock.

There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.

As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.

James Cunningham, vice president, enterprise risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.

The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think there are lessons there for everybody.

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

We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.

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

Educating and promoting the career with young people.

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

Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told. I believe that the insurance markets now understand who we are and what we stand for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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John Matthews, who is now retired, formerly with Aon and Caesar’s Palace. John is an exceptional leader who demonstrated the value of putting a top-shelf team together and then letting them do their best work. I model my management style after him.

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

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies. I like to read how successful people became successful by overcoming their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch, Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and movie “Money Ball.”

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s called for.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”

R&I:  What’s your favorite restaurant?

Vegas is a world-class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go-to’s,” depending on the mood and who I am with.

If you’re in town, you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye. It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous, and the service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in town, and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For seafood, you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.




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