2015 NWC&DC

Speaker Proposal Deadline Looming

The deadline is approaching for proposals to speak at the 24th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo.
By: | January 26, 2015 • 2 min read

The deadline is nearing for submitting proposals to speak at the 24 annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo held in Las Vegas.

WCconf_24thAnnualThe conference is looking for panels and individual speakers to present strategies that will help worker’s comp payers solve claims challenges, teach best practices for selecting and managing service providers, or can enlighten on industry trends.

Those are just a few of the general topic areas we are interested in hearing employers, vendors, attorneys, medical providers, regulators and other workers’ comp professionals address. We are eager to hear other great topic ideas.

Presentation proposals can focus on new, innovative strategies that reduce injuries and costs. 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.

Integrated disability strategies combing solutions for workers’ comp and non-occupational drivers of employee absence are of particular interest to us this year.

Conference speaker proposals are due by February 5th, 2015. The event will be held November 11-13 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Speaker proposal forms are available at http://www.wcconference.com/speak.html

If you or your company plans to submit a proposal for a session presentation, please keep in mind that we do prioritize those submissions that include an employer on the panel.

However, we also understand that not all presentations can include an employer speaker and we value the knowledge and information that other workers’ comp professionals serving the payer community bring to the conference.


Here is some advice to increase the potential for having your RFP selected:

  • 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 provides an alternative when one of your ideas is a popular one 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.
  • Review additional advice available in a past advisory http://www.riskandinsurance.com/2015-nwcdc-call-proposals/.

I am also available via telephone or email for anyone wishing to discuss their proposal content ideas before submitting.

Roberto Ceniceros, conference chairman 208 286-1425

Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and co-chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at rceniceros@lrp.com. Read more of his columns and features.
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NWCDC Update

Co-Chairs Discuss High Points, Prepare for 2015

Feedback on the best of last year's National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo is fueling plans for the 2015 conference.
By: | January 9, 2015 • 4 min read

The 23rd annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo was, by all accounts, a rousing success. The talk of posts on various social media sites, the nation’s premiere event for workers’ comp and disability practitioners attracted record attendance in November.

WCconf_24thAnnualThe conference had barely ended when planning organizers were already getting started on the 24th National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo, scheduled for Nov. 11-13 again at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Speaking proposals are being accepted through Feb. 6.

This year’s planning co-chairs hope to build on the success of last year’s event, which they say is a hard act to follow.

“I think we’re going to have to dig deep to do better,” said Denise Gillen-Algire, director of managed care and disability risk management for Safeway and a conference planning co-chair. “This last conference was really good.”

As a returning conference program co-chair, Gillen-Algire says she has definitely seen changes since she began in 2010. “In terms of what I see people looking for five or six years ago vs. today is more innovation and program design topics,” she said. “Things around how to design programs, measure performance of providers, best practices in programs; things like that.”


Joining Gillen-Algire as a planning program co-chair is Bill Wainscott, manager of workers’ compensation and occupational health for International Paper. He is especially focused on expanding the push to include as many employers as possible.

“A lot of times [at conferences] speakers tend to talk in theoretical terms about research or trends,” Wainscott said. “This year what struck me was employers saying ‘here’s what we did.’ I learned a lot from other companies willing to share.”

Wainscott’s sentiments were echoed by Gillen-Algire, who said she heard many positive comments about the focus on employers. “There was great feedback on several panels we had with employers on them in that people were talking about real experiences,” she said. “That’s important – a case study approach, the pros and cons to certain programs, or implementing different systems.”


Wainscott said he heard and spoke with many different employers not only during sessions but also in the expo hall. He was pleasantly surprised to find out about innovative programs for smaller and mid-sized employers.

“I walked away learning some things I could do differently that I hadn’t thought about,” Wainscott said. “I probably stole more from those than I gave to smaller employers. It was a really good opportunity to network with people.”

As an example, Wainscott said he spoke with a woman whose program focuses squarely on the employee. “I tend to get really focused on all the processes and medical management things and return-to-work issues and she brought me back to the point that it’s all about the employee,” he said. “They did an excellent job of communicating to employees, setting expectations well before an accident occurs. Every employee and supervisor knew what would happen when an injury occurred and held everybody accountable.”

In another “eye-opening” expo hall conversation, he learned about a small employer’s inclusion of its employee assistance program. “If a wife is struggling with her husband being around all day and juggling all the family activities and money is not coming in as much as it was, the EAP gets involved and helps around the depression issues or family struggles,” Wainscott said. “I hadn’t thought about EAP playing a serious role in workers’ comp. They said it really helped out, helped the employee deal with things and more importantly helped the family deal with things. I hadn’t really thought about bringing the family in.”

Next Up

One of the first orders of business for the co-chairs is deciding on the opening general session. The 2014 opening keynote address was delivered by Dr. L. Casey Chosewood, senior medical officer and director of the Office for Total Worker Health Coordination and Research at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“I was very pleased and received nothing but positive feedback on Dr. Chosewood’s session,” Gillen-Algire said. “That theme was in many sessions; several on integrated disability management and total worker health, and that sort of followed through several sessions. It touched on the importance of pre-loss/post-loss and managing workers’ health.”


Those themes may continue into the 2015 conference.

“Looking at the core of the conference, it is workers’ comp and disability. So I think it’ll be important for us to have sessions around integrated disability and how that integrates with employees and wellness programs and the Affordable Care Act,” Gillen-Algire said. “Obviously, the ACA has been in place for a few years, and most employers and insurers are just starting to see the impact. Additional sessions on strategies for workers’ comp and employers around the ACA will be important.”

Other possible sessions included risk financing, the consolidation of the industry and the impact on managing vendor partners, and the management of litigation. Ultimately, the sessions are chosen with input from the full advisory board.

“That’s the nice thing about this conference,” Wainscott said.  “We get such a diverse group of people at the table.”

To submit a proposal or for more information, please visit our website.

Nancy Grover is co-Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference and Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.
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Sponsored: Healthcare Solutions

Diversifying Top Management in Workers’ Comp

Inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum focuses on advancing more women into top leadership roles.
By: | January 7, 2015 • 5 min read

The panel at the inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum. From left to right: Eileen Ramallo, Elaine Vega, Nina Smith-Garmon, Nancy Hamlet, Michelle Weatherson, Nanette de la Torre, Danielle Lisenbey.

Across the country, the business community is engaged in a robust conversation about women being under-represented among c-level positions.

Why aren’t more women breaking into upper management roles? Does gender bias still exist? And, perhaps more importantly, what can women and men do to add more diversity to top leadership ranks?

Elaine Vega and Nancy Hamlet, of Healthcare Solutions, the Duluth, Ga.-based health services provider to the workers’ compensation and auto liability/PIP markets, have discussed the issue between themselves many times over the years.

The duo agreed that starting an industry-wide conversation would be an effective start to addressing the challenge. After three years of internal discussions, the inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum became reality. Judging by the attendance, content and feedback, it was an auspicious, very successful, debut.

Nancy Hamlet, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Healthcare Solutions

Nancy Hamlet, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Healthcare Solutions

Specifically, Healthcare Solutions and LRP Publications teamed up at the National Workers’ compensation and Disability Conference (NWCDC), held Nov. 18-21, 2014 in Las Vegas, to present the first WiWC event focused on the development of women as leaders within the industry. The WiWC debut featured a keynote speaker, a panel discussion and a networking cocktail hour.

“We believe this is just the beginning for the WiWC organization,” said Hamlet, senior vice president of marketing, adding that the event’s main theme was the conversation regarding challenges that still exist for women in the workplace is “current, real … and relevant.”

Originally the forum was allocated a room to hold 150 people. Vega and Hamlet worried about the room being too large, so they asked LRP what the contingency would be to make the room smaller if they couldn’t fill it. They needn’t have worried, as more than 400 women, and some men as well, registered and attended, requiring an even larger room.

“Clearly, the topic is relevant and there was plenty to discuss,” said Vega, senior vice president of account management.

Hamlet explained that WiWC was formed to create an open forum to promote a strong sense of community and support for current and future female leaders in the workers’ compensation industry. Going forward, the WiWC forum will provide insight and ideas with opportunities for members to:

  • Engage … with accomplished industry professionals and build lasting relationships.
  • Enrich … their knowledge base with tactical insights from speakers and panelists.
  • Explore … opportunities and challenges facing women leaders today.
  • Encounter … senior executives’ perspectives on leadership.
  • Examine … leadership strategies and how to effectively apply the strategies.
  • Empower … themselves and others to achieve success and groundbreaking results.

At the inaugural event, keynote speaker Peggy Holtman, co-author of “Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition,” discussed how a seemingly unconnected historical event can offer critical lessons on leadership in the workplace, especially for women looking to move into top executive spots.

Elaine Vega, Senior Vice President of Account Management, Healthcare Solutions

Elaine Vega, Senior Vice President of Account Management, Healthcare Solutions

After Holtman’s talk, a panel discussion, moderated by Vega, offered the perspectives of five workers’ compensation industry executives on ways in which women can navigate past the glass ceiling. Panelists included Eileen Ramallo , EVP Healthcare Solutions; Danielle Lisenbey, CEO Broadspire; Nanette de la Torre, VP Zenith; Nina Smith-Garmon, EVP Mitchell International; and Michelle Weatherson, Director, Claims Medical and Regulatory Division, State Fund of Calif.

The panelists discussed a wide range of topics related to women in workers’ compensation. For example, one topic focused on the need to take the big risks when it comes to moving past workplace barriers. Other topics included the importance of women in higher positions serving as sponsors and advocates for younger, less experienced women; and the impact of industry consolidation on women’s careers and how to best manage that change. Another topic was how women could best master conflict and emotions in the workplace.

“What’s clear is conflict has to be managed; it will not go away. It will only get worse,” said Healthcare Solutions’ Ramallo. “It then can create other rifts that won’t necessarily be visible immediately, but can have a very large impact. You have to be able to understand what it is early on from another’s perspective, why the situation exists, and then encourage and try to resolve a conflict situation, whatever may be driving it.”

In the wake of the first WiWC Forum, Hamlet noted that while there are countless general reports showing that women have not yet achieved equal representation in top leadership positions in the workplace, studies deal with averages rather than individual stories. And while women must continue to look at the data and work toward closing the gap, hearing from accomplished women in the workers’ compensation industry at NWCDC drove home critical messages on a person level.


Today, Vega and Hamlet are looking to expand WiWC to make it “truly owned” by the industry. For example, they expect to recruit companies interested in becoming sponsors, forming an advisory council, creating a charter and discussing future possibilities for the organization on both the national and regional levels.

“Much remains to be done, but I have confidence that we will come together and make the organization stronger so that it prospers for years to come,” Hamlet said. “After all, it’s clear that our industry is filled with talented women who can make things happen!”

Vega added that WiWC has already received requests to live stream the event in the future, so it will examine the feasibility of that option in an effort to be even more inclusive.

“We have a shared vision for improving opportunities for current and future women leaders in workers’ compensation,” Vega said. “It doesn’t matter our gender or our title, it’s all about supporting the greater vision. As was said several times at the event, this is just the beginning. We hope more women and men will join us in this continued dialogue.”

For more information about the WiWC, send email to wiwcleadership@healthcaresolutions.com or join our WiWC group on LinkedIn.


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

Healthcare Solutions serves as a health services company delivering integrated solutions to the property and casualty markets, specializing in workers’ compensation and auto liability/PIP.
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