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NWCDC Preview

WC Breakout Sessions Include Program Management Track

Topics: NWC&DC | Workers' Comp

The 23rd annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo takes place Nov. 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The confer­ence is produced by LRP Publications, the publisher of Risk & Insurance®.

ConferenceNew to the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® this year is a track that focuses on logistical operational pieces of a company’s workers’ comp and disability programs. The breakout sessions include:

Workers’ Comp Insurance Exposed: Views From the Industry’s Leading Carriers


  • Chris Irving, regional vice president, national accounts, The Travelers Cos. Inc.
  • Russell Johnston, casualty president for the Americas region, American International Group Inc.; member, NCCI board of directors.
  • Debbie Michel, executive vice president of commercial markets, Liberty Mutual Insurance; president, Helmsman Management Services LLC.


  • Eric Silverstein, senior vice president and risk management leader, Lockton Companies.
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What’s shaping the insurance claims and underwriting landscape these days? What lies ahead that could influence workers’ comp? The leaders of the nation’s largest workers’ comp carriers will attempt to answer these questions as they provide their thoughts on the latest workers’ comp cost drivers and key elements affecting the industry. The panelists will evaluate the claims and economic forces that are impacting insurance underwriting.

Risk Financing: Selecting the Best Option for Your Company


  • Mark Walls, senior vice president, workers’ compensation market research leader, Marsh USA Inc., and the founder/manager of the Work Comp Analysis group on LinkedIn.

Risk managers face a variety of risk financing options for their workers’ comp programs. First dollar coverage, deductibles, self-insurance, or a blend of these insurance structures are some examples. Walls will explain the significant differences between available insurance arrangements and look at some of the key considerations when planning an employer’s optimal risk financing strategies. Collateral considerations, claims administration, state assessments, taxes, guarantee funds, insurance purchasing conditions, and regulatory compliance are factors that will be discussed. He will also discuss the short- and long-term impacts of the different financial options.

Apply Post-Loss Claims Data to Structure Your Pre-Loss Safety Culture Program


  • Patricia Hostine, global manager, workers’ compensation, Cooper Standard Automotive.

Workers’ comp insurance premiums can increase if practitioners fail to address safety. Hostine has taken steps to make Cooper Standard Automotive’s risks more attractive to underwriters through safety interaction and loss reduction practices. Among these measures are analyzing post-loss information to prevent future accidents and improving return-to-work outcomes by restructuring the language used to communicate the workers’ comp process to injured workers. Hostine will provide details on her company’s actions and show how other employers might employ similar methods. She also will examine looping back claims data to shape pre-loss safety practices and prevent accident recurrence, and identify how worker communications impact losses.

Private Equity’s Major Deals and Their Impact on Workers’ Compensation


  • Camilo E. Horvilleur, principal, H.I.G. Capital LLC.
  • Jeffrey S. McKibben, managing principal, Odyssey Investment Partners.
  • P. Hunter Philbrick, managing director, Hellman & Friedman.


  • Joseph Paduda, principal, Health Strategy Associates LLC, and author of the ManagedCareMatters blog.

In recent years, private equity firms have purchased many major workers’ comp service providers with more deals expected. Under the facilitation of industry veteran Joseph Paduda, senior executives from some of the equity firms involved in significant workers’ comp deals discuss what this trend means for claims payers and purchased companies. They will discuss what investors look for when considering a transaction, how private equity investment changes the workers’ comp landscape, and whether day-to-day activities change for an acquired company.

Holding Your Insurer/TPA Accountable With Customer Service Instructions.


  • Darin Hampton, workers’ compensation regional coordinator, International Paper.
  • Jodie L. Massingill, senior manager, casualty claims, Sysco Corp.
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Employers seeking the best possible service and support from their vendor partners are the focus of this session. The speakers, both senior-level claims managers with more than 55 years of combined claims and risk management experience, will discuss their strategies for successfully overseeing TPAs and insurer services. Additionally, they will share their practices for keeping adjusters, nurse case managers, outcomes-based doctor networks, attorneys, and other service providers engaged and accountable for high-quality service. Finally, the speakers will provide details on how to design practices to build an effective claims management program, formulate contracts that hold service providers accountable, and evaluate and measure program cost metrics.

Behavior-Based Safety Program: How You Can Prevent Injuries and Improve Product Quality.


  • Julia Sfurm, corporate senior risk operations manager, Elkay Manufacturing Co.

A company’s output won’t matter if employees aren’t safe and the product isn’t high quality. Therefore, it is important for employers to understand how to produce a safety-rich culture. Sfurm will discuss the basics of behavior-based safety programs such as applying behavioral psychology and developing action plans that reduce the risk of injury. She will offer details on how BBS can increase the learning opportunities and loss prevention knowledge of all employees, regardless of their positions while spreading a drive for high-quality production throughout the organization. Sfurm will go through some of the challenges of BBS, offer tips to determine whether employees and management are ready for such a program, and provide strategies to get a BBS program started.

Click here for more information.

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NWCDC Preview

Claims Solutions Track Offers Advice on Increasing Efficiencies

A look at some of the sessions featured in the 2014 NWCDC Claims Solutions track.
By: | May 23, 2014 • 4 min read

The 23rd annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo takes place Nov. 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The confer­ence is produced by LRP Publications, the publisher of Risk & Insurance®.

ConferenceFrom analytics and predictive modeling to addressing nontraditional and legacy claims and a landmark study of claims managers, the Claims Solutions track offers advice to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Below is a look at some of the sessions.

Strategies for Overcoming Operational Challenges and Benchmarking Program Performance

    • Speakers:
    • Denise Zoe Algire, workers’ compensation, disability management consultant.
    • Jason Beans, CEO, Rising Medical Solutions.
    • Ray Jacobsen, managing director, Aon.
    • John Smolk, principal manager, workers’ compensation, Southern California Edison.

Claims managers face critical challenges overseeing their day-to-day operations without opportunities to benchmark their organizations’ performance against industry peers. A recent workers’ compensation benchmarking study surveyed management and executive-level claims leaders across the industry to document their most pressing operational challenges. The study and this session provide an opportunity for organizations to benchmark core competencies, best practices, technology, medical management performance, and talent development. The study’s architects will present their findings and opportunities for claims managers and executives to benchmark and address industrywide priorities and hurdles.

Going Beyond a Hunch: How Analytics and Predictive Modeling Can Identify and Prevent Drug Abuse


  • Jim Andrews, executive vice president of pharmacy services, Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • David Smith, divisional vice president of risk management, Family Dollar Stores Inc.

The prescription drug landscape is ever-changing with generic uncertainty and the introduction of many dangerous drugs, and 2014 is no exception. Meanwhile, the threat of drug abuse and misuse are well-documented problems for risk managers, with narcotic opioids accounting for more than 60 percent of the drugs prescribed to injured workers. But analytics and predictive modeling can identify and stem potential abuse problems. The speakers discuss how Family Dollar used utilization management programs and early intervention to address claimant prescription use while reducing drug expenditures. They will discuss how predictive modeling can identify potential prescription abuse, ways to fight the problem through coordination between claims payers and pharmacy benefit managers, and the impact of narcotic prescriptions on claims costs and durations.

Approaches to Managing Nontraditional Claims, Including Unions, Legacy Claims, and Co-Morbidities


  • Patti Colwell, manager, injury recovery resources, Southwest Airlines.
  • Tron Emptage, chief claims officer, Progressive Medical/PMSI.
  • Julie Fortune, senior vice president and chief claims officer, Arrowpoint Capital.

Complex scenarios involving union agreements, legacy cases, and co-morbidities may require a nonconventional approach rather than the typical practice of quickly closing claims. This session takes a closer look at those issues while the speakers offer direct experience and insight on how to assess and address factors creating barriersto restoring function such as treatment type, dependence,comorbidities,aberrant behavior, and other psychosocial factors. They will also discuss when it may be appropriate to keep a claim open, factors that can prolong claims durations, how to detect nontraditional barriers to claim resolutions, and offer strategies to control reserves.

Loss Mitigation of High Value Workers’ Compensation Claims


  • David R. Kunz, managing partner, Kunz & Germick.
  • Christianne Quinn, J.D., national workers’ compensation manager, The Pep Boys.

High-value claims hurt a company’s bottom line. But the right risk analysis can maximize loss-control strategies and identify old claims ripe for closure. A veteran workers’ comp manager and a defense attorney discuss practices to help increase the probability of successfully closing claims previously thought incapable of settlement. The two look for input from the audience while addressing cost drivers such as ineffective prescription medications, treating physician problems, and expenses frequently obscured by Medicare set-asides.


The Industry’s Top Bloggers Return to Inform and Entertain


  • David DePaolo, J.D., founder/president/CEO, author DePaolo’s Work Comp World.
  • Joseph Paduda, principal, Health Strategy Associates, author, ManagedCareMatters blog.
  • Rebecca Shafer, J.D. president, Amaxx Risk Solutions Inc., author, blog.
  • Robert Wilson, president and CEO,


  • Mark Walls, senior vice president, workers’ compensation market leader, Marsh.

From Bob Wilson’s humorous musings to Joe Paduda’s serious evaluations of market events, the workers’ compensation industry’s high-profile bloggers return to the conference after last’s year’s highly rated presentation. They are ready yet again to offer their insights into the latest issues in a session moderated by Mark Walls that also includes blogger Rebecca Shafer, known for providing practical measures for employers, and David DePaolo, leveraging his unique vantage point to reflect on the news and trends of the day. The group examines the news events shaping the workers’ comp system, offers their interpretations of the trends influencing decision-making, and presents a lively discussion on the workers’ comp issues demanding attention.

Click here for more information. To post your thoughts on the conference, join the conversation on LinkedIn’s National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo, a subgroup of the Work Comp Analysis group.

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
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Sponsored Content by ACE Group

5 & 5: Rewards and Risks of Cloud Computing

As cloud computing threats loom, it's important to understand the benefits and risks.
By: | June 2, 2014 • 4 min read

Cloud computing lowers costs, increases capacity and provides security that companies would be hard-pressed to deliver on their own. Utilizing the cloud allows companies to “rent” hardware and software as a service and store data on a series of servers with unlimited availability and space. But the risks loom large, such as unforgiving contracts, hidden fees and sophisticated criminal attacks.

ACE’s recently published whitepaper, “Cloud Computing: Is Your Company Weighing Both Benefits and Risks?”, focuses on educating risk managers about the risks and rewards of this ever-evolving technology. Key issues raised in the paper include:

5 benefits of cloud computing

1. Lower infrastructure costs
The days of investing in standalone servers are over. For far less investment, a company can store data in the cloud with much greater capacity. Cloud technology reduces or eliminates management costs associated with IT personnel, data storage and real estate. Cloud providers can also absorb the expenses of software upgrades, hardware upgrades and the replacement of obsolete network and security devices.

2. Capacity when you need it … not when you don’t
Cloud computing enables businesses to ramp up their capacity during peak times, then ramp back down during the year, rather than wastefully buying capacity they don’t need. Take the retail sector, for example. During the holiday season, online traffic increases substantially as consumers shop for gifts. Now, companies in the retail sector can pay for the capacity they need only when they need it.


3. Security and speed increase
Cloud providers invest big dollars in securing data with the latest technology — striving for cutting-edge speed and security. In fact, they provide redundancy data that’s replicated and encrypted so it can be delivered quickly and securely. Companies that utilize the cloud would find it difficult to get such results on their own.

4. Anything, anytime, anywhere
With cloud technology, companies can access data from anywhere, at any time. Take Dropbox for example. Its popularity has grown because people want to share large files that exceed the capacity of their email inboxes. Now it’s expanded the way we share data. As time goes on, other cloud companies will surely be looking to improve upon that technology.

5. Regulatory compliance comes more easily
The data security and technology that regulators require typically come standard from cloud providers. They routinely test their networks and systems. They provide data backups and power redundancy. Some even overtly assist customers with regulatory compliance such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

SponsoredContent_ACE5 risks of cloud computing

1. Cloud contracts are unforgiving
Typically, risk managers and legal departments create contracts that mitigate losses caused by service providers. But cloud providers decline such stringent contracts, saying they hinder their ability to keep prices down. Instead, cloud contracts don’t include traditional indemnification or limitations of liability, particularly pertaining to privacy and data security. If a cloud provider suffers a data breach of customer information or sustains a network outage, risk managers are less likely to have the same contractual protection they are accustomed to seeing from traditional service providers.

2. Control is lost
In the cloud, companies are often forced to give up control of data and network availability. This can make staying compliant with regulations a challenge. For example cloud providers use data warehouses located in multiple jurisdictions, often transferring data across servers globally. While a company would be compliant in one location, it could be non-compliant when that data is transferred to a different location — and worst of all, the company may have no idea that it even happened.

3. High-level security threats loom
Higher levels of security attract sophisticated hackers. While a data thief may not be interested in your company’s information by itself, a large collection of data is a prime target. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks by highly skilled criminals continue to increase — putting your data at increased risk.


4. Hidden costs can hurt
Nobody can dispute the up-front cost savings provided by the cloud. But moving from one cloud to another can be expensive. Plus, one cloud is often not enough because of congestion and outages. More cloud providers equals more cost. Also, regulatory compliance again becomes a challenge since you can never outsource the risk to a third party. That leaves the burden of conducting vendor due diligence in a company’s hands.

5. Data security is actually your responsibility
Yes, security in the cloud is often more sophisticated than what a company can provide on its own. However, many organizations fail to realize that it’s their responsibility to secure their data before sending it to the cloud. In fact, cloud providers often won’t ensure the security of the data in their clouds and, legally, most jurisdictions hold the data owner accountable for security.

The takeaway

Risk managers can’t just take cloud computing at face value. Yes, it’s a great alternative for cost, speed and security, but hidden fees and unexpected threats can make utilization much riskier than anticipated.

Managing the risks requires a deeper understanding of the technology, careful due diligence and constant vigilance — and ACE can help guide an organization through the process.

To learn more about how to manage cloud risks, read the ACE whitepaper: Cloud Computing: Is Your Company Weighing Both Benefits and Risks?

This article was produced by ACE Group and not the Risk & Insurance® editorial team.

With operations in 54 countries, ACE Group is one of the largest multiline property and casualty insurance companies in the world.
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