Denise Gillen-Algire and Mark Walls have been tapped as the 2013 program chairs for this year's conference.
Among the first decisions announced by the board was the naming of Bill Zachry as the lead-off speaker. Zachry, the vice president and risk manager of Safeway, is also a board member of both the California State Compensation Insurance Fund and the Self Insured Security Fund.
"I've known Bill for years," Gillen-Algire said. "He's a well-respected thought leader, and somebody that gets things done. He has passion."
Zachry has been involved in workers' comp for more than 35 years. Most recently, he was instrumental in the California workers' comp reform legislation.
"He's definitely a change agent in workers' comp, particularly with California regulations," Gillen-Algire said. "Specifically what comes to mind is the initial legislation in terms of changes in California, like implementing evidence-based medicine. He was very involved in that in California and other jurisdictions."
In Zachry, the cochairs see an energizing force to open the conference. "Bill Zachry will be a very dynamic and passionate speaker to open the conference," Walls said. "He'll do a fantastic job of setting the tone for the entire conference."
The sessions. "I think attendees will enjoy the wide variety of sessions," Walls said. "We will be expanding our educational tracks to cover more topics that are of the utmost importance to workers' comp professionals."
Among the tracks is Disability Management Solutions, something near and dear to Gillen-Algire. "Having this track is exciting to me," she said. "We'll bring in some new faces in terms of speakers and sessions."
An occupational medical provider by trade, Gillen-Algire says the sessions offer a particular appeal to occupational health practitioners. "The business approach is very important," she said. "To be successful in occupational medicine and nursing roles, you need to be able to speak the business language and understand the business concepts and strategies. Our conference does a really nice job of balancing clinical subject matter as well as business and strategy sessions."
Regional issues will take center stage with a series of sessions devoted to critical issues in several of the largest states. "Often times, carriers or organizations, including employers, have issues that are specific to a particular region," Gillen-Algire said. "So being able to drill down to specific things will provide additional value to employers, carriers, and other attendees."
The regional-focused sessions represent an expansion of last year's offerings.
"Given the success of the regional panels last year, the conference is going to include some state-specific content focusing on the largest exposure states for employers," Walls said. "These sessions will give employers knowledge of the trends in those states and pending legislative issues that will impact their costs going forward."
As Walls explained, employers are one of the most important pieces in the workers' comp claims process. "So we are coming up with a wide variety of sessions that will have appeal to employers around the country that will assist in the management of their workers' comp programs," he said.
He also looks forward to expanding the types of attendees. "I'm excited about continuing the significant strides we made last year in expanding the target of the conference to include regional carriers and third-party administrators, and also more of a focus on getting attorneys to attend with the LexisNexis partnership," he said. "I'm very much looking forward to expanding on that and giving the conference a bigger audience."
The facility. "I'm very excited about the new venue," Walls said. "Attendees will have better access to the Las Vegas strip, restaurants, and things like that."
Gillen-Algire said she's also looking forward to the new reception on Wednesday night. The event, to be hosted by Sedgwick CMS, will include the awarding of the Risk & Insurance® magazine's 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Workers' Compensation and Disability Management Awards, honoring organizations that are setting the bar for the industry. "I think it will be a great way for folks to get together and relax and offer a great opportunity to network in an area that is right there," she said. "I think that will be something fun, exciting, and new."
Also planned is an opening reception Tuesday evening, similar to last year's Opioids Reception. "This was a great networking event to kick off the conference on Tuesday evening, and I hope attendees will arrive early enough to attend this event," Walls said. "To me, there is no better conference in the country for high-level networking with workers' comp professionals around the country. The conference is attended by a significant number of employers as well as carriers, TPAs, and others that operate in the workers' comp market."
The 22nd annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference®
& Expo takes place Nov. 20-22 at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. The conference is produced by LRP Publications.
For more information, visit the conference website at
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 18, 2013
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