2016 NWCDC

NWCDC: Connecting Body and Mind

Mental health, new technologies, and an advocacy-based claims model are three of the key topics to be addressed at the 2016 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference®.
By: | October 15, 2016 • 7 min read
Scott Daniels, director of disability, Comcast

Employers are increasingly adopting strategies to alleviate mental health issues influencing their employees’ disability and workers’ compensation claims.

Employer interest in doing so is emerging alongside technology’s advancing ability to analyze big data for insight into how mental health conditions impact disabilities and work absences, whether driven by occupational or nonoccupational causes, said Scott Daniels, director of disability at Comcast.

Scott Daniels, director of disability, Comcast

Scott Daniels, director of disability, Comcast

“You have the ability to see what the actual impact is of behavioral health conditions,” Daniels said. “When you can correlate the impact of behavioral health with absenteeism, presenteeism and productivity gains or losses it has opened the eyes of a lot of employers. Certainly, we are one of them.”

Daniels will discuss Comcast’s results after it eased employee access to mental health services during the 25th Annual Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. The conference will be held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Presenting session panels that integrate employer speakers with other claims experts to deliver real-life case studies highlighting practical solutions for workers’ comp and disability’s toughest challenges is an NWCDC hallmark, said Denise Algire, director of managed care and disability corporate risk at Albertsons Cos.

Structuring NWCDC’s program that way makes the conference agenda meaningful for employers, other claims payers, brokers, third-party administrators and insurers, Algire added.

“I am really excited about the focus on a case-study approach detailing how an organization implemented a particular program and solution,” Algire said. “It’s more than just a talking head approach” to conference presentations.


Algire is NWCDC program co-chair along with William Wainscott, manager of workers’ comp and occupational health at International Paper.

The two played key roles in selecting this year’s conference topics and speakers, including panel sessions addressing mental health’s impact on worker disability.

“Employers are recognizing that mental health issues associated with occupational injuries are real issues and must be dealt with,” Wainscott said.

“You have the ability to see what the actual impact is of behavioral health conditions [on injured workers’ recoveries].” — Scott Daniels, director of disability, Comcast

“But most importantly, employers are coming to realize the impact mental health issues might have on the injured employee’s recovery and return to work, and they recognize the impact on claims costs and productivity.”

There are several reasons for growing employer interest in mental health issues, Wainscott added. Mental health is now a more visible and increasingly acceptable discussion topic. It is also better understood while access to services and resources has dramatically improved.

As Daniels at Comcast asserts, mental health’s impact on claims has also become easier for employers to mine from data.

During a 2016 NWCDC presentation titled “Mental Matters: How Mental Health Impacts Productivity and Performance,” Daniels will be joined by Hilary Mitchell, director of employee health services at Pitney Bowes, and Darrell Brown, executive VP and chief claims officer at Sedgwick Claims Management Services.

About a year ago, Comcast strengthened its disability offerings by easing employee access to mental health resources rather than structuring its program with a strict focus on return on investment, Daniels said.

“It is aligned with our return-to-work [efforts] but getting employees better first by getting them the right care and treatment is much more important for the employee experience,” he said.

Another scheduled 2016 NWCDC session on worker mental health will focus on an analysis of Aetna’s short-term disability claims data, coupled with a case study of how employer UPS teamed with the insurer to reduce behavioral health disability claims, such as depression.

The presentation will be delivered by Donna Morrison, corporate healthcare director at UPS, and Michael Lacroix, associate medical director and director of behavioral health at Aetna and its subsidiary, Coventry Workers’ Comp Services.

Both mental health presentations mentioned above will be part of NWCDC’s Disability Management track. The conference includes 31 breakout sessions under five tracks, including Medical Management, Claims Management, Program Management and a Legal/Regulatory track.

The conference agenda also includes two additional Mega Sessions, a general session, and the opening keynote address.

Tim East, a corporate director of risk management at The Walt Disney Co., will deliver the opening keynote titled “Fueling Injury Recovery with Engaged Workers.”

A veteran workers’ comp practitioner, East also chairs the California Self-Insurers’ Security Fund and is a past chair of California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation, an employer group.

Dr. Marcos Iglesias, VP and medical director, The Hartford

Dr. Marcos Iglesias, VP and medical director, The Hartford

His speech will examine the importance of engaging injured workers to resolve claims and how evolving technology is shifting worker expectations for communicating and partnering with them.

Just as a major theme park can’t rely on attractions or entertainment using outdated technology that captivated prior generations, employers can’t apply outdated practices to engage today’s workforce.

For an all-at-once look at how several companies successfully manage their workers’ comp risks and safety programs, NWCDC is bringing back its popular session featuring 2016’s winners of Risk & Insurance®’s prestigious Teddy Award.

The award winners will share their techniques and advice for other risk managers during one of the conference’s Mega Sessions, titled “Steal These Ideas! Teddy Award-Wining Employers Showcase Their Successful Strategies.”


Dr. Marcos Iglesias, VP and medical director at The Hartford, will helm the conference’s other Mega Session. A popular speaker, Iglesias will discuss using tools such as a biopsychosocial approach to manage risk factors that predispose injured workers to experience disparate recovery durations and functional outcomes.

Program Management

NWCDC’s Program Management track, meanwhile, will offer up more employer case studies.

For example, Mitchell Chastain, manager of logistics safety, loss prevention and security at Mohawk Industries, will join Keith W. Myers, regional director at BenchMark Rehab Partners, to describe how Mohawk combined safety practices and immediate access to injury care to improve metrics for outcomes.

The flooring manufacturer’s integrated health and safety practices include pre-employment testing, body-stress level assessments, and the use of athletic trainers and physical therapists.

Another Program Management track session will consider alternative arrangements for financing workers’ comp risks and structuring claims management operations as a company’s risk management needs grow increasingly complex.

A Mega Session with Dr. Marcos Iglesias, VP and medical director at The Hartford, focuses on using tools such as a biopsychosocial approach to help injured workers.

Pamela F. Ferrandino, EVP & senior principal, national casualty at Willis Towers Watson, along with Debbie Michel, EVP at Liberty Mutual and president of the insurer’s third-party administrator, Helmsman Management Services, will join Ronda Ostrander, manager of integrated disability management programs at Ascension Health, to deliver the session.

Other Program Management track topics include developing an employee advocacy program, building a separate safety program focused only on accidents causing severe claims, and a return-to-work case study.

Claims Management

The Claims Management track will include a look at how American Airlines’ Jennifer Saddy, the company’s workers’ comp director, adopted aggressive strategies that resolved thousands of complex legacy claims following a large merger. The strategies included eliminating inappropriate medical and pharmaceutical use, evaluating claims to judge when immediate settlements were preferred over intervention, and addressing Medicare set-aside cost drivers.

Titled “Fostering a Claims Closure Culture to Swiftly Resolve the Difficult Challenges,” the presentation includes speaker Mark Pew, senior VP at PRIUM.

Another employer case study within the Claims Management track will look at how Barnabas Health’s strategies slashed lost-time claims and millions of dollars in costs across dispersed corporate locations. Barnabas is a New Jersey-based integrated health care delivery system with 22,000 employees.

Caryl Russo, senior VP at Barnabas, and Caroline “Cari” Burhenne, regional claims service manager at PMA Cos., will lead the session titled “Transforming Your Workers’ Compensation Program for Outstanding Results.”

Other topics scheduled for the Claims Management track include telephonic case management, on-site physical therapy models, and a breakout session titled “Lessons Learned From Fighting Drug Abuse in the Opioid Crisis Epicenter.” The speakers will examine tactics a Kentucky insurer deployed to counter addiction in the Appalachian region.

Medical Management

For NWCDC’s Medical Management track, The Hartford’s Iglesias will join Robert Hall, corporate medical director at Optum, to deliver a session titled “Medical Directors’ Perspective: Restoring Function and Returning to Work.” They will discuss barriers, like co-morbid conditions that hamper return-to-work, as well as review measures for improving outcomes and managing RTW expectations.

Another Medical Management track session will consider the appropriate use of urine drug screening, which is an increasingly applied tool in the fight against opioid misuse. Maria Chianta, director, clinical and strategy programs at Millennium Health, and Randi Kretchman, regional head, medical management services, claims at AIG, will describe the insurer’s efforts to ensure appropriate levels of urine drug testing.


Breakout sessions under the conference’s Legal/Regulatory track will include a look at how Alsco Inc., a worldwide linen and uniform services company, improved its litigation-management practices to improve claims outcomes.

Suzanne Ormond, Alsco’s risk manager, along with Glenn Backus, president of Alternative Services Concepts, and Karen Stankevitz, director of consulting services at Adelson Teston Brundo Novell & Jimenez, will deliver the presentation.


Other NWCDC Legal/Regulatory track topics include a state-by-state look at legal trends, using medical experts for causation arguments, understanding prescription formularies, and alternatives to Medicare set-asides.

There is also a pre-conference event, the Third Annual Women’s Leadership Forum organized by The Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation.

The entire agenda is available on the conference website. &

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.
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2016 NWCDC

Workers’ Compensation Conference Program Released

NWCDC's presentations offer leading-edge strategies from employers and other experts to mitigate workers' comp and disability challenges.
By: | August 15, 2016 • 3 min read

Savvy employers have increasingly adopted injured-worker advocacy and engagement strategies to help employees overcome fears and challenges encountered when navigating workers’ compensation systems.

William Wainscott, manager, workers’ comp and occupational health, International Paper

William Wainscott, manager, workers’ comp and occupational health, International Paper

“The workers’ compensation claim process can be confusing and intimidating,” said William Wainscott, manager, workers’ comp and occupational health at International Paper.

“For the injured employee there are a lot of unknowns. An advocate helps alleviate the fears and guides them through all the issues.”

Wainscott will speak on an employer panel discussing injured-employee advocacy and engagement programs at the 25th Annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Conference® & Expo scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in New Orleans.

Minimizing a workplace injury’s impact on employees, their families and employers requires helping the injured worker access the right resources and understand their role in the recovery and return-to-work process, he said.

Wainscott is an NWCDC program co-chair and helped develop the conference’s 2016 agenda.


The agenda highlights other planned presentations featuring employers discussing leading-edge strategies for mitigating workers’ comp and disability challenges.

“We have put together a really strong agenda with topics that are meaningful for employers and other payer groups like insurance companies and third-party administrators,” said Denise Algire, who is also an NWCDC program co-chair and director of managed care and disability corporate risk at Albertsons Cos.

Addressing mental health factors impacting the recovery of workers’ comp and disability claimants is another focus of conference sessions developed to help meet growing employer and claims payer interest in the topic.

“Mental illness affects both workers’ comp and non-occupational disability,” Algire said.

Historically, there has been tremendous stigma around the topic, but more employers now understand that mental health issues impact absenteeism and productivity.

“There is more emphasis on this as organizations realize that the No. 1 reason for short-term disability claims is either depression or some other mental illness,” Algire added.

“So talking about it and understanding what solutions and options are available for employees, and how to implement those programs within your organization is an important conversation.”

Algire will also speak as part of the NWCDC panel discussing injured-employee advocacy programs.

In addition to Algire and Wainscott, the panel will include Kimberly George, senior VP and senior healthcare advisor at Sedgwick Claims Management Services, and Scott Daniels, director of disability at Comcast.

Daniels will also speak as part of another panel titled “Mental Matters: How Mental Health Impacts Productivity and Performance.”

That is not the only conference presentation on mental health issues.

Tim East, director of risk management, The Walt Disney Company

Tim East, director of risk management, The Walt Disney Company

Donna Morrison, corporate healthcare director at UPS, will join Michael Lacroix, associate medical director of behavioral health at Aetna Life Insurance and Coventry Workers’ Comp Services, to deliver a presentation titled “Advances in Behavioral Health Disability Claims Management Strategies.”

In total, the conference features 31 breakout sessions, two general sessions, and a keynote address delivered by Tim East, director of corporate risk management at The Walt Disney Co.

During his presentation titled “Fueling Injury Recovery with Engaged Workers,” East will discuss how technology trends impact workers’ expectations for how employers engage them.

Worker engagement and solutions for mental health’s impact on claim duration are not the only topics awaiting NWCDC attendees.

Other sessions will offer strategies to address opioid prescribing, Medicare set-aside requirements, Americans with Disabilities Act mandates, and insurance arrangements.


The conference will also present several case studies including:

  • A look at the multidisciplinary approach applied by manufacturer Mohawk Industries to launch a health and safety program.
  • The strategies Columbus Consolidated Government employed to develop an award-winning return-to-work program.
  • How American Airlines fostered a claims-closure culture to resolve complex legacy claims.

Those are only a few of the topics employers and service providers will present at this year’s conference, recognized as  the workers’ comp industry’s must-attend event of the year.

The R&I Editorial Team may be reached at [email protected]
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Sponsored Content by Nationwide

Hot Hacks That Leave You Cold

Cyber risk managers look at the latest in breaches and the future of cyber liability.
By: | October 3, 2016 • 5 min read

Nationwide_SponsoredContent_1016Thousands of dollars lost at the blink of an eye, and systems shut down for weeks. It might sound like something out of a movie, but it’s becoming more and more of a reality thanks to modern hackers. As technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, so do the occurrence of cyber breaches.

“The more we rely on technology, the more everything becomes interconnected,” said Jackie Lee, associate vice president, Cyber Liability at Nationwide. “We are in an age where our car is a giant computer, and we can turn on our air conditioners with our phones. Everyone holds data. It’s everywhere.”

Phishing Out Fraud

According to Lee, phishing is on the rise as one of the most common forms of cyber attacks. What used to be easy to identify as fraudulent has become harder to distinguish. Gone are the days of the emails from the Nigerian prince, which have been replaced with much more sophisticated—and tricky—techniques that could extort millions.

“A typical phishing email is much more legitimate and plausible,” Lee said. “It could be an email appearing to be from human resources at annual benefits enrollment or it could be a seemingly authentic message from the CFO asking to release an invoice.”

According to Lee, the root of phishing is behavior and analytics. “Hackers can pick out so much from a person’s behavior, whether it’s a key word in an engagement survey or certain times when they are logging onto VPN.”

On the flip side, behavior also helps determine the best course of action to prevent phishing.

“When we send an exercise email to test how associates respond to phishing, we monitor who has clicked the first round, then a second round,” she said. “We look at repeat offenders and also determine if there is one exercise that is more susceptible. Once we understand that, we can take the right steps to make sure employees are trained to be more aware and recognize a potentially fraudulent email.”

Lee stressed that phishing can affect employees at all levels.

“When the exercise is sent out, we find that 20 percent of the opens are from employees at the executive level,” she said. “It’s just as important they are taking the right steps to ensure they are practicing what they are preaching.”

Locking Down Ransomware

Nationwide_SponsoredContent_1016Another hot hacking ploy is ransomware, a type of property-related cyber attack that prevents or limits users from accessing their system unless a ransom is paid. The average ransom request for a business is around $10,000. According to the FBI, there were 2,400 ransomware complaints in 2015, resulting in total estimated losses of more than $24 million. These threats are expected to increase by 300% this year alone.

“These events are happening, and businesses aren’t reporting them,” Lee said.

In the last five years, government entities saw the largest amount of ransomware attacks. Lee added that another popular target is hospitals.

After a recent cyber attack, a hospital in Los Angeles was without its crucial computer programs until it paid the hackers $17,000 to restore its systems.

Lee said there is beginning to be more industry-wide awareness around ransomware, and many healthcare organizations are starting to buy cyber insurance and are taking steps to safeguard their electronic files.

“A hospital holds an enormous amount of data, but there is so much more at stake than just the computer systems,” Lee said. “All their medical systems are technology-based. To lose those would be catastrophic.”

And though not all situations are life-or-death, Lee does emphasize that any kind of property loss could be crippling. “On a granular scale, you look at everything from your car to your security system. All data storage points could be controlled and compromised at some point.”

The Future of Cyber Liability

According to Lee, the Cyber product, which is still in its infancy, is poised to affect every line of business. She foresees underwriting offering more expertise in crime and becoming more segmented into areas of engineering, property, and automotive to address ongoing growing concerns.”

“Cyber coverage will become more than a one-dimensional product,” she said. “I see a large gap in coverage. Consistency is evolving, and as technology evolves, we are beginning to touch other lines. It’s no longer about if a breach will happen. It’s when.”

About Nationwide’s Cyber Solutions

Nationwide’s cyber liability coverage includes a service-based solution that helps mitigate losses. Whether it’s loss prevention resources, breach response and remediation expertise, or an experienced claim team, Nationwide’s comprehensive package of services will complement and enhance an organization’s cyber risk profile.

Nationwide currently offers up to $15 million in limits for Network Security, Data Privacy, Technology E&O, and First Party Business Interruption.

Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Not all Nationwide affiliated companies are mutual companies, and not all Nationwide members are insured by a mutual company. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Home Office: One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and other marks displayed on this page are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, unless otherwise disclosed. © 2016 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.



This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Nationwide. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s.
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