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NWCDC Presentation ‘Wish List’ Released

Update: The deadline to submit speaker proposals for the 2018 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo has been extended to March 9th.
By: | February 12, 2018 • 6 min read

With the deadline approaching for submitting proposals to speak at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo, the event’s speaker selection team wants to share a list of topics it is eager to see presented. The extended deadline is March 9, 2018.

NWCDC 2018 will take place Dec. 5 – 7 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

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In general, the two most important practices for getting selected to present at NWCDC call for including an employer who has implemented the solutions to be discussed, and has obtained outcomes they can share with the audience.

Keep in mind, NWCDC prefers practical solutions that others can implement. Theoretical and future-looking discussions may be appropriate in some cases, though, such as for the conference’s Technology Track.

Another practice that can boost the potential for getting selected to present during the event is to submit multiple RFPs. One organization submitted 16 last year. This helps by increasing the likelihood the selection group will find a topic that both stands out from other potential presentation ideas, and also fills a specific need the selection group has identified.

The conference also wants technical topics for addressing claims medical management and litigation management.

Below is a list of presentation topics the selection committee and NWCDC board members would like to see addressed at NWCDC in 2018. But keep in mind that other topic proposals are also welcome and no less valuable.

  • How do you move to quality care based on provider outcomes and value-based care? We don’t just want to know about contracting with a network of rated doctors. We want the nuts and bolts of how you actually put a program into place. How do you go about it? How do you move from a fee-for-service model to a value-based structure? Are there different forms of provider reimbursement that are preferred?
  • Addressing cyber risks when transferring employee data between vendors.
  • What are employers, TPAs and insurers doing to stop future drug addiction at the point of sale and with clinical programs. PBMs mostly fill scripts then eventually send up red flags and chase the problem after their warning signs are triggered. They essentially do retro reviews. There are, however, some pioneers doing work up front, such as patient education, before the script is filled. Those are the types of programs NWCDC wants to hear about.
  • How to avoid delays in medical treatment so the injured worker isn’t waiting to receive care.
  • The use of mobile service apps for physical therapy, telehealth and mobile health. This session could really benefit from combining service providers with an employer.
  • Managing the tail. Strategies for managing long-tail claims. What are biggest challenges and how do you overcome them? This is different from settling or closing old-dog claims. This is more about how do you manage them when you are not eliminating them, like you might try with old-dog claims. How do you manage future medical, etc?
  • Realistic emerging technology in medical treatment. This session might focus on a range of technology rather than single products as NWCDC frowns on product pitches.
  • What models of risk transfer, risk sharing and risk financing will arise? What are their differences, who is implementing them and what is getting traction? Consider organizations such as Teambrella, the bitcoin enabled peer-to-peer insurance, Lemonade and Dynamis.
  • Apps for allowing early or self-reporting and follow up with doctors. How might these lend themselves to the injured-worker advocacy approach and employee engagement?
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    How do evidence-based medicine and pharmacy formularies in different jurisdictions potentially impact claims and medical management?How might understanding these differences help employers and other claims payers operationalize programs? How do employers take advantage? There is a lot of opportunity to improve employer programs if claims payers can take advantage of states implementing evidence-based care and formularies.

  • The future of work and workers’ comp and how will robotics and artificial intelligence impact the workplace and insurance arrangements. Most of today’s discussion on this topic focuses on current robotics use. But what will it look like in the future? This session can be both practical (such as employer and insurer or broker speaking on how this is impacting insurance and claims currently) and theoretical (as in what will the future look like).
  • Improving claims outcomes through settlement practices. This could be a good technical claims topic.
  • Cost-conscious improvements in your workers’ compensation program, or how to get better at claims management without spending a lot of money.
  • Buying quality services. How to evaluate vendor quality and performance.
  • Opioid litigation risks and what to do to ovoid the exposure. This would focus on claims payers mitigating the risk of getting sued for their role in opioid prescribing.
  • Topics on employee health and safety, such as how to use predictive analytics for developing pre-loss strategies and tying those pre-loss strategies to post-loss information gleaned from predictive modeling. How organizations use preventative programs like physical therapy and safety walkarounds to prevent injuries.
  • Leading indicators.Improving safety and claims management now relies mostly on evaluating lagging indicators. But increasingly, employers want to know what leading indicators will tell them they are being effective. What do they measure to tell them they are doing things right and won’t have certain future problems? How do you identify potential leading indicators and how do you measure them?
  • There’s been a pretty big shift in the minds of workers’ compensation professionals — away from a heavy emphasis on cost reduction and toward an increased focus on the experience of various stakeholders, especially the injured worker and the employer. Why has this has happened, what does this shift mean and where is it headed?
  • A new trend in MSAs. It’s no longer just CMS that wants to recover money for Medicare eligible patients. State agencies such as unemployment departments and disability programs are also starting to get in on the act.
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    The injured worker advocacy movement says fewer investigations is a smarter strategy. So what is the value of not doing an investigation? Are recorded statements and surveillance counterproductive when you are telling employees you are adopting a worker advocacy approach? How do you measure ROI on investigations and recorded statements and limiting them.

  • And speaking of the advocacy movement. We have had presentations on what it amounts to, but do we now have results speakers can share? What has been advocacy’s impact on cost reduction? In the past, NWCDC focused on what advocacy looked like, now we want to know more about lessons learned, the challenges and the results obtained from implementing it. Who has data?
  • And finally, marijuana. What are the current challenges to understanding its impact on the workplace. What are the regulatory and drug testing challenges?

Visit the conference website for more information about NWCDC and the speaker proposal form.

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

Exclusive | Hank Greenberg on China Trade, Starr’s Rapid Growth and 100th, Spitzer, Schneiderman and More

In a robust and frank conversation, the insurance legend provides unique insights into global trade, his past battles and what the future holds for the industry and his company.
By: | October 12, 2018 • 12 min read

In 1960, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg was hired as a vice president of C.V. Starr & Co. At age 35, he had already accomplished a great deal.

He served his country as part of the Allied Forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy and liberated the Nazi death camps. He fought again during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star. He held a law degree from New York Law School.

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Now he was ready to make his mark on the business world.

Even C.V. Starr himself — who hired Mr. Greenberg and later hand-picked him as the successor to the company he founded in Shanghai in 1919 — could not have imagined what a mark it would be.

Mr. Greenberg began to build AIG as a Starr subsidiary, then in 1969, he took it public. The company would, at its peak, achieve a market cap of some $180 billion and cement its place as the largest insurance and financial services company in history.

This month, Mr. Greenberg travels to China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of C.V. Starr & Co. That visit occurs at a prickly time in U.S.-Sino relations, as the Trump administration levies tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods and China retaliates.

In September, Risk & Insurance® sat down with Mr. Greenberg in his Park Avenue office to hear his thoughts on the centennial of C.V. Starr, the dynamics of U.S. trade relationships with China and the future of the U.S. insurance industry as it faces the challenges of technology development and talent recruitment and retention, among many others. What follows is an edited transcript of that discussion.


R&I: One hundred years is quite an impressive milestone for any company. Celebrating the anniversary in China signifies the importance and longevity of that relationship. Can you tell us more about C.V. Starr’s history with China?

Hank Greenberg: We have a long history in China. I first went there in 1975. There was little there, but I had business throughout Asia, and I stopped there all the time. I’d stop there a couple of times a year and build relationships.

When I first started visiting China, there was only one state-owned insurance company there, PICC (the People’s Insurance Company of China); it was tiny at the time. We helped them to grow.

I also received the first foreign life insurance license in China, for AIA (The American International Assurance Co.). To date, there has been no other foreign life insurance company in China. It took me 20 years of hard work to get that license.

We also introduced an agency system in China. They had none. Their life company employees would get a salary whether they sold something or not. With the agency system of course you get paid a commission if you sell something. Once that agency system was installed, it went on to create more than a million jobs.

R&I: So Starr’s success has meant success for the Chinese insurance industry as well.

Hank Greenberg: That’s partly why we’re going to be celebrating that anniversary there next month. That celebration will occur alongside that of IBLAC (International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council), an international business advisory group that was put together when Zhu Rongji was the mayor of Shanghai [Zhu is since retired from public life]. He asked me to start that to attract foreign companies to invest in Shanghai.

“It turns out that it is harder [for China] to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

Shanghai and China in general were just coming out of the doldrums then; there was a lack of foreign investment. Zhu asked me to chair IBLAC and to help get it started, which I did. I served as chairman of that group for a couple of terms. I am still a part of that board, and it will be celebrating its 30th anniversary along with our 100th anniversary.

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We have a good relationship with China, and we’re candid as you can tell from the op-ed I published in the Wall Street Journal. I’m told that my op-ed was received quite well in China, by both Chinese companies and foreign companies doing business there.

On August 29, Mr. Greenberg published an opinion piece in the WSJ reminding Chinese leaders of the productive history of U.S.-Sino relations and suggesting that Chinese leaders take pragmatic steps to ease trade tensions with the U.S.

R&I: What’s your outlook on current trade relations between the U.S. and China?

Hank Greenberg: As to the current environment, when you are in negotiations, every leader negotiates differently.

President Trump is negotiating based on his well-known approach. What’s different now is that President Xi (Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) made himself the emperor. All the past presidents in China before the revolution had two terms. He’s there for life, which makes things much more difficult.

R&I: Sure does. You’ve got a one- or two-term president talking to somebody who can wait it out. It’s definitely unique.

Hank Greenberg: So, clearly a lot of change is going on in China. Some of it is good. But as I said in the op-ed, China needs to be treated like the second largest economy in the world, which it is. And it will be the number one economy in the world in not too many years. That means that you can’t use the same terms of trade that you did 25 or 30 years ago.

They want to have access to our market and other markets. Fine, but you have to have reciprocity, and they have not been very good at that.

R&I: What stands in the way of that happening?

Hank Greenberg: I think there are several substantial challenges. One, their structure makes it very difficult. They have a senior official, a regulator, who runs a division within the government for insurance. He keeps that job as long as he does what leadership wants him to do. He may not be sure what they want him to do.

For example, the president made a speech many months ago saying they are going to open up banking, insurance and a couple of additional sectors to foreign investment; nothing happened.

The reason was that the head of that division got changed. A new administrator came in who was not sure what the president wanted so he did nothing. Time went on and the international community said, “Wait a minute, you promised that you were going to do that and you didn’t do that.”

So the structure is such that it is very difficult. China can’t react as fast as it should. That will change, but it is going to take time.

R&I: That’s interesting, because during the financial crisis in 2008 there was talk that China, given their more centralized authority, could react more quickly, not less quickly.

Hank Greenberg: It turns out that it is harder to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.

R&I: Obviously, you have a very unique perspective and experience in China. For American companies coming to China, what are some of the current challenges?

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Hank Greenberg: Well, they very much want to do business in China. That’s due to the sheer size of the country, at 1.4 billion people. It’s a very big market and not just for insurance companies. It’s a whole range of companies that would like to have access to China as easily as Chinese companies have access to the United States. As I said previously, that has to be resolved.

It’s not going to be easy, because China has a history of not being treated well by other countries. The U.S. has been pretty good in that way. We haven’t taken advantage of China.

R&I: Your op-ed was very enlightening on that topic.

Hank Greenberg: President Xi wants to rebuild the “middle kingdom,” to what China was, a great country. Part of that was his takeover of the South China Sea rock islands during the Obama Administration; we did nothing. It’s a little late now to try and do something. They promised they would never militarize those islands. Then they did. That’s a real problem in Southern Asia. The other countries in that region are not happy about that.

R&I: One thing that has differentiated your company is that it is not a public company, and it is not a mutual company. We think you’re the only large insurance company with that structure at that scale. What advantages does that give you?

Hank Greenberg: Two things. First of all, we’re more than an insurance company. We have the traditional investment unit with the insurance company. Then we have a separate investment unit that we started, which is very successful. So we have a source of income that is diverse. We don’t have to underwrite business that is going to lose a lot of money. Not knowingly anyway.

R&I: And that’s because you are a private company?

Hank Greenberg: Yes. We attract a different type of person in a private company.

R&I: Do you think that enables you to react more quickly?

Hank Greenberg: Absolutely. When we left AIG there were three of us. Myself, Howie Smith and Ed Matthews. Howie used to run the internal financials and Ed Matthews was the investment guy coming out of Morgan Stanley when I was putting AIG together. We started with three people and now we have 3,500 and growing.

“I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

R&I:  You being forced to leave AIG in 2005 really was an injustice, by the way. AIG wouldn’t have been in the position it was in 2008 if you had still been there.

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Hank Greenberg: Absolutely not. We had all the right things in place. We met with the financial services division once a day every day to make sure they stuck to what they were supposed to do. Even Hank Paulson, the Secretary of Treasury, sat on the stand during my trial and said that if I’d been at the company, it would not have imploded the way it did.

R&I: And that fateful decision the AIG board made really affected the course of the country.

Hank Greenberg: So many people lost all of their net worth. The new management was taking on billions of dollars’ worth of risk with no collateral. They had decimated the internal risk management controls. And the government takeover of the company when the financial crisis blew up was grossly unfair.

From the time it went public, AIG’s value had increased from $300 million to $180 billion. Thanks to Eliot Spitzer, it’s now worth a fraction of that. His was a gross misuse of the Martin Act. It gives the Attorney General the power to investigate without probable cause and bring fraud charges without having to prove intent. Only in New York does the law grant the AG that much power.

R&I: It’s especially frustrating when you consider the quality of his own character, and the scandal he was involved in.

In early 2008, Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging a meeting with a prostitute at a Washington Hotel and resigned shortly thereafter.

Hank Greenberg: Yes. And it’s been successive. Look at Eric Schneiderman. He resigned earlier this year when it came out that he had abused several women. And this was after he came out so strongly against other men accused of the same thing. To me it demonstrates hypocrisy and abuse of power.

Schneiderman followed in Spitzer’s footsteps in leveraging the Martin Act against numerous corporations to generate multi-billion dollar settlements.

R&I: Starr, however, continues to thrive. You said you’re at 3,500 people and still growing. As you continue to expand, how do you deal with the challenge of attracting talent?

Hank Greenberg: We did something last week.

On September 16th, St. John’s University announced the largest gift in its 148-year history. The Starr Foundation donated $15 million to the school, establishing the Maurice R. Greenberg Leadership Initiative at St. John’s School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.

Hank Greenberg: We have recruited from St. John’s for many, many years. These are young people who want to be in the insurance industry. They don’t get into it by accident. They study to become proficient in this and we have recruited some very qualified individuals from that school. But we also recruit from many other universities. On the investment side, outside of the insurance industry, we also recruit from Wall Street.

R&I: We’re very interested in how you and other leaders in this industry view technology and how they’re going to use it.

Hank Greenberg: I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.

R&I: So as the pre-eminent leader of the insurance industry, what do you see in terms of where insurance is now an where it’s going?

Hank Greenberg: The country and the world will always need insurance. That doesn’t mean that what we have today is what we’re going to have 25 years from now.

How quickly the change comes and how far it will go will depend on individual companies and individual countries. Some will be more brave than others. But change will take place, there is no doubt about it.

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More will go on in space, there is no question about that. We’re involved in it right now as an insurance company, and it will get broader.

One of the things you have to worry about is it’s now a nuclear world. It’s a more dangerous world. And again, we have to find some way to deal with that.

So, change is inevitable. You need people who can deal with change.

R&I:  Is there anything else, Mr. Greenberg, you want to comment on?

Hank Greenberg: I think I’ve covered it. &

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