NWCDC Chairman's Message

Deadline Nears for NWCDC Speaker Proposals

Time is almost up for submitting speaker proposals for the 2016 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo.
By: | February 4, 2016 • 3 min read
NWCDC 2014

Don’t miss the approaching deadline for submitting proposals to speak at the 25th annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.

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NWCDC is attended by workers’ comp and disability management decision makers, including employers and a broad range of service providers.

Last year’s speakers and the ideas they presented at NWCDC in Las Vegas remained hot topics and received mentions in workers’ comp and disability management industry media and social media for many months following the conference.

The only way to qualify is to begin by meeting the deadline for submitting a session proposal idea. The deadline is Friday, February 26, with applications available on the conference website.

After being held in Las Vegas for many years, the conference will shift venues for 2016, taking place Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Potential topic proposals that NWCDC’s speaker selection committee is eager to evaluate include:

  • Injured employee advocacy strategies
  • Urine drug testing and its coordination with pharmacy benefit management strategies
  • The application of value-based care, including accountable care organization use.
  • Medical guidelines, and how best to apply them.
  • Occupational and non-occupational return-to work-strategies meeting ADA compliance.
  • Pharmacy formularies and claims management opportunities.
  • Psych claims and managing psych issues embedded within claims.

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

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

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.

Disability management strategies for workers’ comp and non-occupational drivers of employee absence are of interest to us.

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.
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  • 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.

For further discussion on potential presentation content, feel free to contact Conference Chairman Roberto Ceniceros at (208) 286-1425 or rceniceros@lrp.com.

Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and 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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Aging Workforce

The Impact of the Changing Workforce on Disability

A new study suggests that both age and job tenure impact disability durations for injured workers.
By: | January 29, 2016 • 5 min read
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The aging of the workforce combined with the changing nature of work has led to some changes in disability durations. New information suggests steps employers can take to get faster returns to work for certain employees.

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“Findings indicate that age is a more important factor in disability duration than tenure; however, the relationship between age and disability duration varies based on tenure, suggesting that both age and tenure are important influences in the work disability process,” according to a new study.

Researchers looked at claims for a private workers’ comp insurer to analyze age of workers and tenure of work as they relate to disability durations.

The authors used data from Jan. 1, 2002, through Dec. 31, 2008. Only claims with at least one day of lost work time were included. The lost time comprised days for both partial disability and days of temporary total disability for workers aged 18 to 80.

A total of 361,754 claims were analyzed, of which 31 percent were for women, 50 percent had an annual income greater than $30,000, and 27 percent were involved in litigation.

The study looked at both age and job tenure — and the two in combination — in relationship to average lengths of time off for injured workers. It is one of the only studies that analyses how disability durations are affected by changes in the workforce.

“This is an especially important time to examine relationships among age, tenure, and the length of disability,” the authors noted. “At the same time that the workforce is aging, the typical career trajectory is also changing.”

According to the latest government statistics, the percentage of workers at least aged 55 is expected to be more than 25 percent in 2020 compared with just 12 percent in 1990.

Also changing is the length of time individuals typically spend at a single company. Instead of staying with one employer for an entire career, people now typically change their employers or careers several times. This is especially true for older male workers, where the median tenure for those 55 to 64 years old fell from 15.3 years in 1983 to 9.5 years in 2006.

“At the same time that the workforce is aging, the typical career trajectory is also changing.”

The study looks at the interplay between age and tenure and length of disability durations. It was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health and based on research by several academics and Dr. Glenn S. Pransky, director of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute’s Center for Disability Research.

“Age-related changes in recovery time after any type of condition are likely to play a major role in this relationship, but to the extent that other factors might also influence this relationship might have the potential to inform interventions and treatment plans,” the report states. “With the continued aging of the workforce and the changing nature of career paths, furthering our understanding of how and why age and tenure influence the work disability process is important.”

Results

Previous research has shown disability duration increases with age, along with the likelihood of work-disability recurrence. The chances of never returning to work also increase with age.

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The authors speculate that may be due to biological changes associated with aging and a higher incidence of comorbidities that complicate recovery.

Also, there is evidence that older workers may have less access to rehabilitation services, employers may not encourage older workers to return to work, and older workers may be in industries with fewer opportunities for accommodations to facilitate return to work.

Studies also indicate the length of disability generally decreases the longer a person spends at a job. However, the results of the study indicate that does not necessarily hold true for older workers.

For workers on the job less than five years, disability duration increases with age until age 70 when the length of disability decreases slightly to age 80. The same is true of workers with more than 10 years on the job — until age 70.

“Prior to age 70, as tenure increased, the predicted length of disability decreased; however, after age 70, as tenure increased, the predicted length of disability began to increase,” according to the study. “In general, the highest predicted length of disability was for the oldest workers with high tenure, whereas the shortest predicted length of disability was for younger workers with the lowest tenure.

The authors found that when taken separately, the relationship between age and length of disability was stronger than the relationship of job tenure and disability duration. However, when the tenure relationship was adjusted for age, the relationship was significantly different than unadjusted for age.

“The predicted length of disability was the shortest for midlife workers with high tenure compared with low tenure,” the study said. “For workers in the typical retirement ages of 65 to 70, the predicted length of disability was found to vary very little across the tenure groups, but by age 80, the predicted length of disability varied by approximately a week, with lower tenure workers having a shorter predicted length of disability than high-tenure workers.”

The authors speculated that older workers on the job longer may feel secure enough in their positions to stay out of work longer after an injury or illness. But older workers on the job a short time might try to return to work sooner for fear of losing their jobs and their inability to find additional work.

Implications

“From a clinical perspective, our results point to the need to gain a better understanding of the factors leading to the relationship between age and the length of disability,” the authors noted. “Age-related changes in recovery time after any type of condition are likely to play a major role in this relationship, but to the extent that other factors might also influence this relationship might have the potential to inform interventions and treatment plans.”

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Employers may be less willing to provide appropriate accommodations for older workers to return to their jobs, according to the authors. Also, older workers might need more support from their companies to navigate the workers’ comp system.

“These workers might be less familiar with the resources available to them and might not have strong organizational and supervisor relationships to rely on,” the authors explained. “From an intervention perspective, it might be important to identify what types of programs and policies would be most helpful in these workers’ RTW process.”

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the 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: State of Vermont

7 Questions to Answer before Choosing a Captive Insurance Domicile

Ask the right questions and choose a domicile for your immediate and long-term needs.
By: | February 5, 2016 • 7 min read
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Risk managers: Do your due diligence!

It seems as if every state in America, as well as many offshore locations, believes that they can pass captive legislation and declare, “We are open for business!”

In fact, nearly 40 states and dozens of offshore locations have enabling captive insurance legislation to do just that.

With so many choices how do you decide who is experienced enough to support the myriad of fiscal and regulatory requirements needed to ensure the long term success of your captive insurance company?

“There are certainly a lot of choices,” said Mike Meehan, a consultant with Milliman, an actuarial firm based out of Boston, Massachusetts, “but not all domiciles are created equal.”

Among the crowd, there are several long-standing domiciles that offer the legislative, regulatory and infrastructure support that makes captive ownership not only a successful risk management tool but also an efficient entity to manage and operate.

Selecting a domicile depends on many factors, but answering these seven questions will help focus your selection process on the domiciles that best fit your needs.

 

1. Is the domicile stable, proven and committed to the industry for the long term?

ThinkstockPhotos-139679578_700The more economic impact that the captive industry has on the domicile, the more likely it is that captives will receive ongoing regulatory and legislative support. The insurance industry moves very quickly and a domicile needs to be constantly adapting to stay up to date. How long has the domicile been operating and have they been consistent in their activity over the long term?

The number of active captive licenses, amount of gross premium written in a domicile and the tax revenue and fees collected can indicate how important the industry is to the jurisdiction’s bottom line. The strength of the infrastructure and the number of jobs created by the captive industry are also very relevant to a domicile’s commitment.

“It needs to be a win – win situation between the captives and the jurisdiction because if not, the domicile is often not committed for the long term,” said Dan Kusalia, Partner with Crowe Hortwath LLP focused on insurance company tax.

Vermont, for example, has been licensing captives since 1981 and had 589 active captives at the end of 2015, making it the largest domestic domicile and third largest in the world. Its captive insurance companies wrote over $25 billion in gross written premiums. The Vermont State Legislature actively supports an industry that creates significant tax revenue, jobs and tourist activity.

 

2. Are the domicile’s captives made up of your peer group?

The demographics of a domicile’s captive companies also indicate how well-suited the location may be for a business in a particular industry sector. Making sure that the jurisdiction has experience in the type and form of captive you are looking to establish is critical.

“Be among your peer group. Look around and ask, ‘Who else is like me?’” said Meehan. “Does the jurisdiction have experience licensing and regulating the lines of coverage for other businesses in your industry sector?”

 

3. Are the regulators experienced and consistent?

Vermont_SponsoredContentIt takes captive-specific expertise and broad experience to be an effective regulator.

A domicile with a stable and long-term, top-tier regulator is able to create a regulatory environment that is consistent and predictable. Simply put, quality regulation and longevity matter a lot.

“If domicile regulators are inexperienced, turnaround time will be slower with more hurdles. More experience means it is much easier operating your business, especially as your captive grows over time,” said Kusalia.

For example, over the past 35 years, only three leaders have helmed Vermont’s captive regulatory team. Current Deputy Commissioner David Provost is one of the longest tenured chief regulators and is a 25-year veteran in the captive insurance industry. That experienced and consistent leadership enables the domicile to not only attract quality companies, but also to provide expert guidance on the formation process and keep the daily operations running smoothly.

 

4. Are there world-class support services available to help manage your captive?

Vermont_SponsoredContentThe quality of advisors and managers available to assist you will have a large impact on the success of your captive as well as the ease of managing the ongoing operations.

“Most companies don’t have the expertise to operate an insurance company when you form a captive, so you need to help build them a team,” Jeffrey Kenneson, a Senior Vice President with R&Q Quest Management Services Limited.

Vermont boasts arguably the most stable and experienced captive infrastructure in the world. Many of the leading captive management companies have their headquarters for their Global, North America and U.S. operations based in Vermont. Experienced options for captive managers, accountants, auditors, actuaries, bankers, lawyers, and investment professionals are abundant in Vermont.

 

5. Can the domicile both efficiently license and provide on-going support to your captive as it grows to cover new lines of coverage and risks?

Vermont_SponsoredContentLicensing a new captive is just the beginning. Find out how long it takes for the application to get approved and how long it takes for an approval of a plan change of your captive’s operations.

A company’s risks will inevitably change over time. The captive will need to make plan changes which can include adding new lines of business. The speed with which your domicile’s regulatory branch reviews and approves these plan changes can make a critical difference in your captive’s growth and success.

The size of a captive division’s staff plays a big role in its speed and efficiency. Complex feasibility studies and actuarial analyses required for an application can take a lot of expertise and resources. A larger regulatory team will handle those examinations more efficiently. A 35-person staff like Vermont’s, for example, typically licenses a completed application within 30 days and reviews plan changes in a matter of days.

 

6. What are the real costs to establishing and managing your captive?

Vermont_SponsoredContentIt is important to factor in travel costs, the local costs of service providers, operating fees, and examination fees. Some states that do not impose a premium tax make up for it in high exam fees, which captives must be prepared for. Though Vermont does charge a premium tax, its examination fees are considered some of the least expensive options in the marketplace.

It is also important to consider the ease and professionalism of doing business with a domicile in the ongoing operations of your captive insurance company.

“The cost of doing business in a domicile goes far beyond simply the fixed cost required. If you can’t efficiently operate due to slow turn-around time or added obstacles, chances are you have made the wrong choice,” said Kenneson.

 

7. What is the domicile’s reputation?

Vermont_SponsoredContentMake sure to ask around and see what industry experts with experience in multiple domiciles have to say about the jurisdiction. Make sure the domicile isn’t known for only licensing certain types of captives that don’t fit your profile. Will it matter to your board of directors if your local newspaper decides to print a story announcing your new insurance subsidiary licensed in some far away location?

Are companies leaving the jurisdiction in high numbers and if so, why? Is the domicile actively licensing redomestications — when an existing captive moves from one domicile to another? This type of movement can often be a positive indicator to trends in a domicile. If companies of a particular size or sector are consistently moving to one state, it may indicate that the domicile has expertise particularly suited to that sector.

Redomestications made up 11 of the 33 new captives in Vermont in 2015. This trend is a positive one as it speaks to the strength of Vermont. It reinforces why Vermont is known throughout the world as the ‘Gold Standard’ of domiciles.

Asking the right questions and choosing a domicile that meets your needs both today and for the long term is vital to your overall success. As a risk manager you do not want surprises or headaches because you did not ask the right questions. Do the due diligence today so that you can ensure your peace of mind by choosing the right domicile to meet your needs.

For more information about the State of Vermont’s Captive Insurance, visit their website: VermontCaptive.com.

 

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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 the State of Vermont. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




The State of Vermont, known as the “Gold Standard” of captive domiciles, is the leading onshore captive insurance domicile, with over 1,000 licensed captive insurance companies, including 48 of the Fortune 100 and 18 of the companies that make up the Dow 30.
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