The Risk Managers educational track at this year’s Workers Compensation Educational Conference, held August 21-24 in Orlando, featured a number of standout sessions. Here are some highlights.


E At a session on predictive modeling, the speakers focused on how risk managers can analyze the data they have on file to reduce the cost and duration of claims and to cut down on fraud. One of the tips that stood out: Use text-mining technology that sifts through the notes made by claims adjusters—which often contain far more gems of insight than the boxes being checked on a standard claims form (about age, gender, marital status, etc.).  

It’s not uncommon for a claim file to have 200 notes or more—and that could very well be where the details are that will help identify as early as possible those claims with the potential to become problem cases without the right intervention. E The session “Communicating Metrics to the CFO to Impact the Finances of the Company” was unsurprisingly popular. And the first speaker left no doubt as to his qualifications on the topic: Fred Pachon, vice president of risk management and insurance at Select Staffing, has documented savings for his company of over $300 million as a result of his initiatives. And this clearly demonstrated worth has meant his department has grown from three employees to 60. 

With credentials like that, Pachon obviously had the audience’s full attention. His advice for risk managers when talking to the C-suite: focus on two issues—profit and growth. “It’s all they care about,” he says. Risk managers also should focus on disabusing CEOs of the commonly held belief that insurance is a fixed cost that can’t be improved upon. Other tips for the toolbox: CEOs and CFOs love year-over-year comparisons, peer-marker comparisons and names named when it comes to top performers—and their opposites. 

Pachon’s speaking partner, David Hopps, a vice president at The ServiceMaster Co., added that the “most effective” metrics he can show his leadership to grab their attention: the impact on earnings per share of the total cost of risk.

E Some advice that definitely struck the crowd in “Developing and Implementing a Corporate Safety Culture” as worth trying at home: Invite (don’t require) workers who have been hurt on the job to speak to their peers about how the injury happened—a great (and free) way to reduce the odds of the event being repeated.   

E And finally, advice from keynote speaker Larry Csonka: Don’t wear a Nehru jacket, or orange bell bottoms, to your first day of work