NWCDC Speaker Update

Speakers Selected For National Workers’ Compensation Conference

By: | March 28, 2014

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.

Results are in from a committee evaluating speaker proposals for the 23rd Annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.

ConferenceThe selection group and the conference extend their gratitude to everyone who put in the great amount of time and effort necessary for submitting requests for proposal and for the excellent submissions themselves.

The committee also devoted an extensive amount of time and effort to review the RFPs and select speakers for the conference, scheduled for November 19-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Specific criteria the group considered included:

  • The extent to which a presentation would help attendees resolve real-world workers’ comp program challenges or claims problems.
  • The timeliness of the issues examined.
  • Potential for fresh perspectives from speakers new to the conference.
  • The depth of experience, credentials, and expertise of the speaker in relation to their topic.
  • The speaker’s job description and their position within the industry with particular attention paid to increasing the number of participating risk managers.
  • How well the topic blended with other presentations and the extent to which this would create a cohesive conference program addressing a broad mix of issues.
  • Public speaking and presentation experience of the speakers, when known.

Using these criteria as a guide, the 2014 conference co-chairs reviewed every RFP. The co-chairs are Denise Gillen-Algire, an integrated health and risk management consultant; Nancy Grover, editor of Workers’ Compensation Report; Mark Walls, senior VP, workers’ compensation market research leader at Marsh USA Inc.; and myself.

Each co-chair has years of experience in workers’ comp and brought unique viewpoints to assess the submitted proposals.

While topic and speaker selection is equal part art and science, we gave each selection committee member an equal and independent voice, and employed a methodical selection process.

  • The co-chairs worked independently of each other to rank every RFP submitted on a scale of 1-4 so that equal weight was given to the opinions of each team member.
  • Spreadsheets for ranking proposals included space for committee member comments and opinions to provide a starting point for discussions about an RFP’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Rankings were tallied so the co-chairs could compare and contrast the evaluations.
  • Hours were spent discussing the highest-ranking proposals of each committee member to winnow down the contenders.
  • The NWC&DC’s full Board was consulted on the proposals when the selection committee needed deeper analysis by a wider selection team.

Often, the committee faced multiple submissions on a single topic. For example, a dozen RFPs mentioned opioids, while many others address related topics, such as chronic pain or pharmacy management.

In those cases, we relied on our selection guidelines to seek the strongest candidates.

The selection process helped us meet important goals for the 2014 conference, including:

  • Adding many new speakers to present at the event.
  • Allowing more employers to share their experiences and perspectives.
  • Providing a topic mix that meets the educational needs of diverse professionals working within workers’ comp.

Our review process resulted in the selection of 20 submitted proposals.  Given our mandate to fill 31 conference breakout sessions, the committee’s work is not complete.

Next, conference co-chairs must fill the remaining sessions with presentation topics we feel are necessary, but may not have been included in submitted RFPs. For example, we want to include sessions on risk financing, private equity’s influence on workers’ comp, and employer examples of claims-handling best practices.

We will call on individual RFP submitters to fill remaining sessions where we can. In other cases, we will recruit speakers, again by applying our criteria for selecting presenters who will help workers’ comp professionals address current challenges.

In the coming days, I will write more about the employers and others who will present at our conference and we will notify the selected speakers.

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