NWCDC Chairman's Message

NWCDC 2018: Share Your Insights With Peers

Apply now to be a presenter at the 2018 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
By: | January 5, 2018

Nineteen of the 34 companies selected to present breakout sessions during the 2017 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference and Expo were new to speaking at the event.

Their requests for proposals to speak at NWCDC had never been selected before.

As NWCDC chairman I occasionally hear about the frustration of hopeful speakers when their applications to present are rejected, sometimes over multiple years. I can imagine that frustration  compounds when they see other companies selected  to present repeatedly.

With a deadline of March 2, for submitting RFPs to speak during the 2018 NWCDC, allow me to explain what our speaker selection team looks for. I do this in hopes of helping applicants increase their chances of being among those selected to present.

The conference is scheduled for Dec. 5 – 7 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, in conversations with those who have called me to discuss improving their chances of being chosen to speak after several rejections, I often learn they are surprised by the rigorous nature of our selection process.

It is indeed a very rigorous process as well as a competitive one. We cull through more than 200 speaker applications normally submitted each year, as we apply our experts’ subject-matter knowledge and experience in hopes of finding topics and speakers that prove the most beneficial for NWCDC attendees.

I will describe that process and how our selection team operates below.

But first, here is what our selection team looks for:

  • Most importantly, we desire the presentation of practical strategies that worker’s comp and disability claims payers can realistically apply to solve challenges.
  • We prioritize proposals that include employer speakers. However, we also understand that not all presentations can include employer presenters and we value the knowledge and information that other workers’ comp professionals serving the payer community provide.
  • Presentation proposals can focus on new, innovative strategies that reduce injuries and costs or offer solid risk-transfer advice. But risk managers, workers’ comp managers, and disability managers are also welcome, for example, to share their unique experiences with adopting tried-and-true practices at their companies.
  • Disability-management strategies for workers’ comp and non-occupational drivers of employee absence are welcome.
  • Consider submitting multiple RFPs because we sometimes receive several proposals from different companies wishing to speak on the same topic. We may only select one presentation per topic in such cases. Submitting multiple RFPs increases your chances when one of your ideas is popular among several submitters.
  • Select topics with relevance for a broad range of workers’ comp professionals. The greater the relevance and the stronger the speaker’s experience and knowledge the greater the possibility of being selected.
  • Avoid submitting proposals that are mere product or service pitches featuring company personnel responsible for sales or marketing.

Much of the above is advice I have dispensed in past years. But I also saw one company succeed in getting selected to present for the first time at NWCDC 2017 by taking a smart approach.

The vendor of Medicare Set-Aside compliance services submitted a proposal to speak on the broader topic of legacy claims settlement initiatives. Their presentation topic was not narrowly focused only on their core MSA specialty area and they invited a seasoned risk manager to co-present her strategies on the broader legacy-claims resolution topic.

So perhaps consider a strategy of submitting multiple RFPs, including one that goes beyond narrowly sticking to your core service area. As long as you have the expertise to back up the submission, we welcome your proposal.

Our selection team includes Denise Algire, director of risk initiatives and national medical director for Albertsons Companies. Bill Wainscott is manager, occupational health and workers’ comp at International Paper. Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief at Risk & Insurance.

The four of us simultaneously receive speaker RFPs as they are electronically submitted. We separately rank them so we are not influenced by the others’ opinions. Then we compare our rankings to reach a consensus on  speakers and topics we believe will benefit NWCDC attendees the most.

For some proposals we all easily agree on whether to accept or reject.

But our opinions often vary, so we spend a good amount of time discussing an applications’ strengths and weaknesses, trying to reach a consensus.

Some submitters are so good at working with this process that they do get selected repeatedly, even though we try to replace them with fresh ideas brought by new presenters.

The only way to become a new or returning presenter for 2018 is to submit an RFP. The applications are available on the conference website.

Or, for further discussion and help on preparing presentation proposals, feel free to contact me, Roberto Ceniceros, conference chair, at (208) 957-8705 or at [email protected].

Roberto Ceniceros is a retired senior editor of Risk & Insurance® and the former chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. Read more of his columns and features.

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