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2014 NWC&DC

Spotlight on Sessions: Thursday, Nov. 20

We've picked out four sessions we think you may find informative.
By: | November 20, 2014 • 1 min read

Modeling Managed Care /MM4

Today: 10:45 a.m. – noon

Two large self-insured employers and a national workers’ comp consultant break down the types of services that deliver the best outcomes for the injured worker and the greatest cost savings to the company. Panelists include John Riggs, manager, workers’ compensation, Disneyland Resort; John Smolk, principal manager, workers’ compensation, Southern California Edison; and Barry Bloom, principal, The bdb Group.

How Diversity Impacts WC and Disability / DM5

Today: 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

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The range of differences in age, race, religion, and general and physical abilities is increasingly impacting companies. This session examines the impact of diversity on workers’ comp and disability programs and offers strategies to manage these differences. Panelists include Jennifer De La Torre, executive director, workforce diversity, AT&T; and Elizabeth Demaret, EVP, Sedgwick

Holding Your Insurer/TPA Accountable / PM5

Today: 3:45 – 5 p.m.

Two senior-level claims managers showcase strategies for successfully overseeing TPAs and insurer services, to keep them engaged and accountable for high-quality service. Panelists include Darin Hampton, workers compensation regional coordinator, International Paper, and Jodie Massingill, senior manager, casualty claims, Sysco Corp.

Industry Bloggers Inform and Entertain / CM6

Today: 3:45 – 5 p.m.

Some of the industry’s top bloggers will examine the news, trends and events shaping the workers’ comp world. Panelists include David DePaolo of WorkCompCentral.com; Joseph Paduda of Managed Care Matters blog; Rebecca Shafer of ReduceYourWorkersComp.com; and Robert Wilson of WorkersCompensation.com; moderated by Mark Walls of WorkCompAnalysis.com

The R&I Editorial Team may be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.
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NWCDC Preview

Hearing from Employers

This year’s National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo will feature more input on the employer’s risk perspective.
By: | October 15, 2014 • 6 min read
10152014_08_nwcdc_conference

Employer engagement and superior service provider performance are acknowledged keys to successfully managing workers’ compensation claims.

Those employers that care enough to produce great results for their injured workers don’t tend to beat their own drums, though.

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But they will get an unprecedented chance to share their strategies and practices on a wide range of workers’ compensation topics at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nov. 19-21.

Two speakers from Harley-Davidson, for example, will discuss claims-mitigation practices that saved their company millions of dollars. Those practices include integrating a variety of company resources including health services, safety and ergonomics expertise.

They will also tell how Harley-Davidson integrated the services of vendor partners, such as BTE Technologies, which helps return injured employees to the job and keeps others working with a post-offer employment testing program that assesses functional ability to safely perform work, said Beth Mrozinsky, the motorcycle manufacturer’s director of safety and health.

Their work has helped address challenges common in many U.S. workplaces, such as those driven by an aging workforce.

Harley-Davidson’s successes also come from integrating vendor partners to help explore loss-reduction processes. The company is increasingly applying those processes to non-occupational injuries after proving them successful in mitigating occupational issues, Mrozinksi said.

“We work really hard with our vendor partners to really pull this together,” Mrozinsky said. “We are almost like one unit that thinks through these processes.”

In another session, speakers Darin Hampton, workers’ compensation regional coordinator at International Paper, and Jodie L. Massingill, senior manager, casualty claims at Sysco Corp., will share their strategies for successfully overseeing a range of services and how they get the best possible support from vendor partners.

In addition to employers, presenters will include representatives from some of the nation’s largest workers’ comp insurers, third-party administrators, brokers, managed care companies and attorneys specializing in workers’ compensation.

Focus on Medical

A growing trend to improve the quality of medical care delivered to injured workers relies on measuring doctor performance to build networks limited to providers capable of producing the best claims outcomes.

Jane Ish, national networks director for Liberty Mutual Insurance, will present a conference session on outcomes-based networks.

“We believe if you start right with the right physician and his entire medical ecosystem — in terms of who he counts on for referring — then you are more likely to have injured workers go back to work quicker and reduced medical costs,” she said.

Randy L. Triplett, workers’ compensation and integrated disability manager for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., will join Ish in the presentation.

Other current challenges and the tools being applied to mitigate them will also receive prominent attention at the conference.

Jim Andrews, executive VP of pharmacy services at Healthcare Solutions Inc., and David Smith, divisional VP of risk management at Family Dollar Stores Inc., for example, will talk about how analytics and predictive modeling help identify and prevent drug abuse.

The nation’s growing diversity and that dynamic’s impact on workers’ comp and disability management will be examined by Jennifer De La Torre, executive director of workforce diversity at AT&T and formerly the company’s director of risk management.

Elizabeth Demaret, executive VP, chief customer relationship officer at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., will join De La Torre.

De La Torre said considerations of racial and ethnic diversity, treatment of veterans in the workforce and age differences are all impacting workers’ comp management strategies.

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Expect to hear session topics not commonly offered at workers’ comp conferences, but that nonetheless have significant impact on the industry and employer programs.

Three private equity executives, whose firms owned well-known workers’ comp companies, will discuss the growing influence of private equity in this business. It is unusual for private equity leaders to address a workers’ comp crowd, said Joe Paduda, principal at Health Strategy Associates LLC.

“Private equity people speak at investor conferences and at some other conferences, but never to my knowledge in a workers’ comp-related conference,” said Paduda, who will moderate the session. “Especially folks like these who actually assess the business, follow the workers’ comp industry and really understand it at both a granular and strategic level.”

Paduda promised to allow plenty of time for audience questions.

“We are going to have an extended question and answer [time] just because there is so much interest in the role of private equity in the workers’ comp business,” he said.

Regulatory Compliance

Legal and regulatory issues are also on tap.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2013 temporary worker initiative directed its field inspectors to place greater emphasis on assessing whether employers using temp workers comply with their responsibilities.

“There has been a lot of postulation about what the ACA’s impact is on the industry.”  —Denise Zoe Gillen-Algire, director, managed care and disability corporate risk, Safeway Inc.

Corey Berghoefer, senior VP, risk management and insurance for Ranstad, a global employment services provider, will join two workers’ comp attorneys to discuss OSHA’s initiative and other risk-management considerations accompanying current growth in temp worker hiring.

“I’ll talk about the duties and responsibilities, and how OSHA will come in during an investigation and view each of the parties,” he said.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is another current topic that conference speakers will weigh in on at a session titled “Healthcare Reform: Strategies You Can Apply Now.”

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Denise Zoe Gillen-Algire, director, managed care and disability corporate risk, Safeway Inc.

“There has been a lot of postulation about what the ACA’s impact is on the industry,” said Denise Zoe Gillen-Algire, director, managed care and disability corporate risk at Safeway Inc. and the conference’s program co-chair. “We want to say, ‘OK, what is the takeaway? What does it mean to employers?’ We want to take that information and say, ‘What can you do as employers to manage your workers’ comp program and either prepare or mitigate some of the impacts?’ ”

William Wilt, president of Assured Research, will join Gillen-Algire.

Here are some other presentations:

Opening Keynote: Integrating Employees’ Health and Well-Being to Improve the Bottom Line
L. Casey Chosewood, M.D., is senior medical officer and director of the Office for Total Worker Health Coordination and Research Support at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Chosewood will demonstrate how to reduce employer costs by integrating occupational health and safety with health promotion and post-injury management.

Session: Modeling Managed Care for Program Impact
Speakers from two large, self-insured employers and a national workers’ comp consultant will explain managed care services and how to evaluate which ones deliver the best outcomes and greatest cost savings.
Speakers: Barry Bloom, principal at The bdb Group; John Riggs, manager of workers’ compensation, Disneyland Resort; and John Smolk, principal manager, workers’ compensation, Southern California Edison.

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Session: Risk Financing: Selecting the Best Option for Your Company
Mark Walls, conference program co-chair and VP, communications and strategic analysis at Safety National, will cover a range of considerations for employers weighing various insurance arrangements. From buying first-dollar coverage and large deductible programs to self-insuring, he will lay out the key considerations for each.

Session: Loss Mitigation of High Value Workers’ Compensation Claims
Hear about risk analysis that can identify old claims previously considered incapable of being resolved. The session will seek audience participation while discussing several cost drivers such as treating-doctor issues and Medicare set-asides.
Speakers: Christianne Quinn, national workers’ compensation manager at Pep Boys; and David R. Kunz, managing partner at Kunz & Germick.

Session: Behavior-Based Safety Program: How You Can Prevent Injuries and Improve Product Quality
Safety and product quality go hand in hand, so a behavior-based safety program stands to improve loss prevention and high-quality production throughout a company.
Speaker: Julia Sfurm, corporate senior risk operations manager, Elkay Manufacturing Co.

Visit www.wcconference.com/agenda.html for a look at the conference’s complete agenda.

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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Sponsored Content by Riskonnect

3 + 3: Theory of Risk

A risk management professional constructed a versatile system that he can really believe in.
By: | November 3, 2014 • 5 min read
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Anthony Valsamakis doesn’t just practice risk management, he wrote a book about it. And he doesn’t just consult with quants, he is one.

“Risk management has been in my blood for so long that I have to stop myself, otherwise I could go into a two-hour monologue,” said Valsamakis, whose career in the discipline goes back almost 35 years, to his first job with the Standard General Insurance Company.

In 1990, the London-based chairman of the Eikos Group received a doctorate in Business Economics. In 1992, “The Theory & Principles of Risk Management” was published, with Valsamakis the principal author, and is now in its 4th edition.

Valsamakis worked first with a carrier, then as a commodities broker, before taking up an academic post. The company he started in 1999, the Eikos Group, has a risk consulting arm, with clients in most industrial sectors, including the food, mining, forestry, industrial paper and packaging and banking industries. The group also includes a transportation risk brokerage and a Bermuda-based carrier.

SponsoredContent_Riskonnect“I think the idea of having a secure data base that everyone can access and can update at any moment is by far the best innovation that I can see happening in the information game.”
– Anthony Valsamakis, Chairman, Risk Financing Strategy, Eikos Group

For as long as he can remember, Valsamakis sought ways to get better information on the risks he underwrites, brokers or consults on.

“Over many years we’ve tried hard to increase the quality and timeliness of the information that enables us to do just that,” Valsamakis said.

Finally, it looks like Valsamakis has found a risk management information systems platform that enables him to do just that.

For the past year and a half, Valsamakis has been using a system developed by Riskonnect.

SponsoredContent_RiskonnectValsamakis likes the Riskonnect approach for a number of reasons – one of the key reasons that the platform can be readily adapted for each of his clients, regardless of industry.

“What’s useful for me is that the platform basically resides within the client’s systems,” he said.

The information he needs to prioritize, depends on which client he is working with.

“By definition, depending on where I am working and what I am doing, risk management priorities are very different,” Valsamakis said.

The Riskonnect platform provides the necessary flexibility.

SponsoredContent_RiskonnectA mine, for example, could be in a location in Africa or South America with a high degree of political risk. A key risk for a furniture maker might be around trade secrets, the possibility that a disgruntled employee would leak a pricing catalogue to competitors. For a packaging manufacturer, their material supply chain is of the utmost importance, and so on.

For each client, Valsamakis can use Riskonnect platform and work with the client to compile the information that is most relevant to that client and its industry and enter that into a secure system.

“All of these are template facts that you can easily put into the Riskonnect system,” Valsamakis said.

The Riskonnect platform is housed within the client’s information technology system, and it is transparent enough, to give Valsamakis and his client access to the same sets of data.

“I think the idea of having a secure data base that everyone can access and can update at any moment is by far the best innovation that I can see happening in the information game,” he said.

Whose System Is It?

Valsamakis has been around long enough to know a few things about data and risk transfer. He’s seen a number of risk information management systems put out by brokers, for example, that he thinks are set up more for the broker’s business model than for the sharing of information.

Generally speaking, information about an insured’s risks come from the broker and the insured. The Riskonnect system works, according to Valsamakis, because it is designed to be adapted to the client, not the broker.

“I have seen efforts by brokers, for example, over the years to produce a type of risk information platform that becomes theirs,” Valsamakis said.

“It’s been a perennial problem in the industry, where depending on which broker you end up with, you’ll end up with system A, B or C,” he said.

The Underwriter Needs to Know

SponsoredContent_RiskonnectUsing Riskonnect, Valsamakis encourages clients to be as transparent as possible, in order to give the most complete information to underwriters.

“For me the question is, ‘What is the volatility around the asset and can there be an impact on the balance sheet of our clients?’” he said.

“We need to describe this exposure in various contexts so that the underwriters know what they are covering,” he said.

It’s basic human psychology. If an underwriter doesn’t feel they are getting enough information about a particular risk, they will take a negative view of that risk.

The more accurate the information Valsamakis has about a client’s exposures, the better the pricing he gets from underwriters.

“If you were an underwriter putting your capital and risk and I gave you little information, you would actually be less inclined to look at the risk in favorable terms. There will be a natural inclination to downgrade it,” he said.

Where Valsamakis sees enormous value is in the Riskonnect system ability to tag which can be revisited at a later stage.

“It’s amazing how clients forget, in the passage of time, that there are profiles that have changed for better or worse.”

A Long-Term Investment

The Eikos Group invested significantly in the Riskonnect product and are taking it to a number of clients. The transparency of the system and the advantage it gives the Eikos Group and its clients with underwriters is in itself a business advantage over the competition.

“We made a decision as a small company, relatively speaking, to invest a lot of money in Riskonnect and be very proactive about it,” Valsamakis said.

“When I talk to executives I say we invested in it because it’s going to save our clients money. Better information will lead to a lower cost of risk,” he said.

“If I’m talking to someone at a high level, that’s fairly easily understood.”

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


Riskonnect is the provider of a premier, enterprise-class technology platform for the risk management industry.
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