Resilience Isn’t Just a “Nice-to-Have” for Claims Organizations — It’s Crucial. Here’s Why

After the last 18 months, organizations must have a clear plan to remain resilient in even the most turbulent of times.
By: | October 15, 2021

If there’s anything claims organizations have taken away from the last 18 months, it’s this: resiliency against unforeseen events is an absolute necessity.

The most notable unforeseen event in recent history is undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic. Though pandemics were understood as potential risks for all organizations, the real-life fallout of the risk in action has exceeded what most could have imagined.

COVID-19 shook the sense of normalcy we had in March 2020 and completely unhinged it. Now, organizations must foster resilience in a new work environment and a new world.

Building a resilient claims organization, in the face of pandemic risk or not, is the topic of one session at National Comp 2021, being held from October 20-22 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

The session, titled “Leading a Resilient Claims Organization Through Uncertainty and Change,” will explore the results of Rising Medical Solutions’ most recent Workers’ Comp Benchmarking Study, delving deeper into just how well-equipped organizations are when responding to impacts.

Presenters will delve into more than eight years of survey data that evaluates organizational resiliency within the industry.

Rachel Fikes, chief experience officer for Rising Medical Solutions and study program director of the benchmarking study, said the 2020 study was the first to enable claims leaders to respond directly to the perspectives of the 1,200 frontline claims professionals who participated in the 2019 study.

Rachel Fikes, chief experience officer & study program director, Rising Medical Solutions


The study also explores the impact of COVID-19 on claims operations, and seeks to identify what sets high-performing organizations apart from the rest, and what they’re doing to set themselves up for present and future resilience.

“Outperforming peers during, and after, turbulent times is a central characteristic of the resilient organization,” Fikes said.

Resiliency within an organization was always an important topic for the industry, but Fikes said that it should now be considered vital to the overall health of every organization.

“With unpredictable disruption expected at greater frequency in the future, the workers’ compensation industry is no exception to finding itself in a highly uncertain business environment, despite our risk models and mitigation efforts,” she said.

“Past performance will no longer predict future success in workers’ compensation. Organizational resiliency will always play a role.” — Rachel Fikes, chief experience officer & study program director, Rising Medical Solutions

“Past performance will no longer predict future success in workers’ compensation. Organizational resiliency will always play a role.”

Of course, we’ve had ample time to absorb lessons on resiliency these last 18 months. The pandemic abruptly forced some workforces to shift to an entirely remote operation. Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts have been forced to the forefront of organizations’ priorities. Organizations are also grappling with the impact of an aging workforce and a looming talent gap.

If organizations hadn’t already begun evaluating and improving their overall resiliency pre-pandemic, they no longer have a choice.

“The challenges of the last 18 months have taught organizations many things, such as the need to be resilient – the ability to respond and rebound from a crisis stronger and more resourceful than before,” said Tyrone Spears, chief of the Workers’ Compensation Division for the City of Los Angeles and panelist at the session.

Fikes noted the need for technological and data security amid an all-remote workforce, and how this challenge has forced a push for resiliency.

“Claims organizations’ technology readiness for work-from-home requirements, as well as their ability to maintain staff productivity, morale, and positive team dynamics is a major test of resilience that organizations have been forced to contend with in the last 18 months.”

And while the pandemic has cultivated its fair share of challenges and setbacks, it has also provided the opportunity for organizations that may have remained stagnant in the past to accelerate in some ways. Fikes noted technological innovation and cultural transformation as two important facets, both feeding into the overall resiliency of a claims organization.—

Tyrone Spears, chief of the Workers’ Compensation Division, City of Los Angeles


As we continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, among many other hurdles, resiliency finds itself at the top of every organization’s priority list.

“In this new era of uncertainty and disruption, resiliency is no longer just imperative for the successful recoveries of injured workers, it’s an imperative for the success of the workers’ comp organizations responsible for the recoveries of injured workers,” said Fikes.

Fikes and Spears, along with Denise Zoe Algire, director of risk initiatives & national medical director with Albertsons Companies, and Vickie Kennedy, assistant director insurance services for the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L& I), will be presenting their session on October 20. &


National Comp — the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference — is back! We’re planning an in-person show for October, 20-22, 2021 and we’re excited to see everyone while still adhering to all safety protocols set forth by local and national health authorities at the time of the event.  Register today!

This year, we’ll feature seven tracks — from core content on medical and pharmaceutical management, claims and return-to-work, plus new and expanded avenues to explore like risk finance and injury prevention. All of our educational sessions are chosen for their ability to deliver sound takeaways and ideas that attendees can use right now.

In the meantime, National Comp will continue bringing you free virtual, educational content through our digital sessions series and our CompTalks program. Register today to make sure you don’t miss a digital session and check out our on-demand CompTalks library.  Missed a session? Watch it here on-demand.

Emma Brenner is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

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