Organizers Comb Through Proposals, Build Program
The 24th annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo takes place Nov. 11-13 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The conference is produced by LRP Publications, which also publishes Risk & Insurance® magazine.
Occupational as well as nonoccupational injuries and disabilities will be the focus of some sessions at this year’s conference. During the annual program planning meeting, the conference’s top advisors decided to increase the discussions of disability, while still providing plenty of workers’ comp-related sessions.
“We will be strengthening the disability track to broaden the definition of ‘disability’ beyond workers’ comp, to other claims,” said Roberto Ceniceros, conference chair and senior editor at Risk & Insurance® Magazine. “We want to expand the audience that can benefit” from the conference.
Disability Management remains one of five tracks housing the sessions (see box). While it will receive increased attention, Ceniceros said that won’t detract from the emphasis on workers’ comp.
“Our new program cochair Bill Wainscott [manager of workers’ compensation and occupational health at International Paper] is super strong in workers’ comp,” he said. “So we’re strengthening our traditional focus on worker’s comp.”
The increased focus on disability resulted from evaluations submitted by previous conference attendees. “The input we receive from attendees is invaluable in helping us build the next year’s conference program,” Ceniceros explained. “It gives us direction and guides us through the whole process.”
Building the Program
Members of the conference advisory board are currently combing through the hundreds of speaking proposals submitted. Program cochairs Wainscott and Denise Gillen-Algire, director of managed care and disability corporate risk for Safeway Inc., have begun the arduous task of carefully reading and analyzing the proposals to whittle them down to those that will be included.
“We received many great proposals on a wide variety of topics — current trends and issues of concern to workers’ comp and disability practitioners,” Ceniceros said. “We especially look for those that emphasize education; information that attendees can take back to their workplaces and put into action.”
This year, conference organizers are getting help from Dan Reynolds, editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. “Dan is part of the team helping to select the proposals along with Bill and Denise,” Ceniceros said. “I’ll weigh in with my thoughts after the others. That’s the process.”
Once the list has been narrowed down by the chairs and Reynolds, the additional members of the advisory board will offer their opinions. This year’s advisors include:
Kathryn Caverly, senior director of product planning at LexisNexis; Dr. Marianne Cloeren, medical director of Managed Care Advisors Inc. and chair of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Council on Occupational and Environmental Medicine Practice and a member of the ACOEM board of directors; Jill Dulich, senior director at Marriott Claims Services; Kenneth Eichler, director of regulatory and outcome initiatives at Work Loss Data Institute; Max Koonce, senior director of risk management at Walmart; John T. Leonard, president and CEO of MEMIC; Maureen McCarthy, senior vice president and manager of workers’ compensation claims and managed care at Liberty Mutual; Joseph Paduda, principal of Health Strategy Associates, and author and blogger for ManagedCareMatters; Rebecca Shafer, president of Amaxx Risk Solutions Inc.; Mark Sidney, vice president of claims for Midwest Employers Casualty Company (a W.R. Berkley Company); Patrick J. Walsh, vice president and chief claims officer of corporate claims at Accident Fund Holdings Inc.; Mark Walls, vice president of Communications and Strategic Analysis at Safety National and founder of the Work Comp Analysis Group on LinkedIn.
“The advisory board members are all very accomplished workers’ comp and disability professionals,” Ceniceros said. “They represent all different facets of the industry such as employers, insurers, vendors, and others.”
Once again, conference leaders are honing in on the needs of employers in building the program. Attendees will see many new speakers and cutting-edge issues, mixed in with several returning sessions.
“The ‘60 Tips in 60 Minutes’ session continues to be very popular,” Ceniceros said. “While we have not yet identified the panelists for it, we know they will represent a mix of professions and personalities. People tell us they really enjoy the fast pace, entertainment of the session — and, of course, the great information provided.”
Risk Scenarios Live! will return for a third year. The multimedia-driven session offers an interactive discussion of a typical workers’ comp claim as it develops, giving attendees the chance to weigh in with their thoughts and recommendations at certain points and hear from an expert panel.
Also returning will be the bloggers. The top social media posters in workers’ comp and disability will be back to opine on the top issues of the day based largely on input from readers throughout the year.
Visit the conference website for more information.
Speaker Proposal Deadline Looming
The deadline is nearing for submitting proposals to speak at the 24 annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo held in Las Vegas.
The 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 6th, 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
Healthcare: The Hardest Job in Risk Management
Radically changing cost and reimbursement models.
Rapidly evolving service delivery approaches.
It is difficult to imagine an industry more complex and uncertain than healthcare. Providers are being forced to lower costs and improve efficiencies on a scale that is almost beyond imagination. At the same time, quality of care must remain high.
After all, this is more than just a business.
The pressure on risk managers, brokers and CFOs is intense. If navigating these challenges wasn’t stress inducing enough, these professionals also need to ensure continued profitability.
“Healthcare companies don’t hide the fact that they’re looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in practically every facet of their business. Insurance purchasing and financing are high on that list,” said Leo Carroll, who heads the healthcare professional liability underwriting unit for Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.
But it’s about a lot more than just price. The complexity of the healthcare system and unique footprint of each provider requires customized solutions that can reduce risk, minimize losses and improve efficiencies.
“Each provider is faced with a different set of challenges. Therefore, our approach is to carefully listen to the needs of each client and respond with a creative proposal that often requires great flexibility on the part of our team,” explained Carroll.
Creativity? Flexibility? Those are not terms often used to describe an insurance carrier. But BHSI Healthcare is a new type of insurer.
The Foundation: Financial Strength
Berkshire Hathaway is synonymous with financial strength. Leveraging the company’s well-capitalized balance sheet provides BHSI with unmatched capabilities to take on substantial risks in a sustainable way.
For one, BHSI is the highest rated paper available to healthcare providers. Given the severity of risks faced by the industry, this is a very important attribute.
But BHSI operationalizes its balance sheet in many ways beyond just strong financial ratings.
For example, BHSI has never relied on reinsurance. Without the need to manage those relationships, BHSI is able to eliminate a significant amount of overhead. The result is an industry leading expense ratio and the ability to pass on savings to clients.
“The impact of operationalizing our balance sheet is remarkable. We don’t impose our business needs on our clients. Our financial strength provides us the freedom to genuinely listen to our clients and propose unique, creative solutions,” Carroll said.
Keeping Things Simple
Healthcare professional liability policy language is often bloated and difficult to decipher. Insurers are attempting to tackle complex, evolving issues and account for a broad range of scenarios and contingencies. The result often confuses and contradicts.
Carroll said BHSI strives to be as simple and straightforward as possible with policy language across all lines of business. It comes down to making it easy and transparent to do business with BHSI.
“Our goal is to be as straightforward as we can and at the same time provide coverage that’s meaningful and addresses the exposures our customers need addressed,” Carroll said.
Claims: More Than an After Thought
Complex litigation is an unfortunate fact of life for large healthcare customers. Carroll, who began his insurance career in medical claims management, understands how important complex claims management is to the BHSI value proposition.
In fact, “claims management is so critical to customers, that BHSI Claims contributes to all aspects of its operations – from product development through risk analysis, servicing and claims resolution,” said Robert Romeo, head of Healthcare and Casualty Claims.
And as part of the focus on building long-term relationships, BHSI has made it a priority to introduce customers to the claims team as early as possible and before a claim is made on a policy.
“Being so closely aligned automatically delivers efficiency and simplicity in the way we work,” explained Carroll. “We have a common understanding of our forms, endorsements and coverage, so there is less opportunity for disagreement or misunderstanding between what our underwriters wrote and how our claims professionals interpret it.”
Responding To Ebola: Creativity + Flexibility
The recent Ebola outbreak provided a prime example of BHSI Healthcare’s customer-centric approach in action.
Almost immediately, many healthcare systems recognized the need to improve their infectious disease management protocols. The urgency intensified after several nurses who treated Ebola patients were themselves infected.
BHSI Healthcare was uniquely positioned to rapidly respond. Carroll and his team approached several of their clients who were widely recognized as the leading infectious disease management institutions. With the help of these institutions, BHSI was able to compile tools, checklists, libraries and other materials.
These best practices were immediately made available to all BHSI Healthcare clients who leveraged the information to improve their operations.
At the same time, healthcare providers were at risk of multiple exposures associated with the evolving Ebola situation. Carroll and his Healthcare team worked with clients from a professional liability and general liability perspective. Concurrently, other BHSI groups worked with the same clients on offerings for business interruption, disinfection and cleaning costs.
Ever vigilant, the BHSI chief underwriting officer, David Fields, created a point of central command to monitor the situation, field client requests and execute the company’s response. The results were highly customized packages designed specifically for several clients. On some programs, net limits exceeded $100 million and covered many exposures underwritten by multiple BHSI groups.
“At the height of the outbreak, there was a lot of fear and panic in the healthcare industry. Our team responded not by pulling back but by leaning in. We demonstrated that we are risk seekers and as an organization we can deploy our substantial resources in times of crisis. The results were creative solutions and very substantial coverage options for our clients,” said Carroll.
It turns out that creativity and flexibly requires both significant financial resources and passionate professionals. That is why no other insurer can match Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.
To learn more about BHSI Healthcare, please visit www.bhspecialty.com.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (www.bhspecialty.com) provides commercial property, casualty, healthcare professional liability, executive and professional lines, surety, travel, programs, and homeowners insurance. It underwrites on the paper of Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity group of insurance companies, which hold financial strength ratings of A++ from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s. Based in Boston, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has regional underwriting offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service. Any description set forth herein does not include all policy terms, conditions and exclusions. Please refer to the actual policy for complete details of coverage and exclusions.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.