No Boundaries – RIMS 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibition

No Boundaries – RIMS 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibition

 By Jennifer C. Jordan, Esq.

The annual conference held by the Risk and Insurance Management Society is being held April 15 through April 18 at the Philadelphia Convention Center and, as always, is anticipated to be the biggest gathering of insurance professionals all year. With more than 120 sessions, 400 exhibitors and nearly 10,000 risk professionals in attendance, this event is a unique opportunity to refresh your skills, pick up new tips and tricks and build relationships.

Something for Everyone at Every Level

For the workers’ compensation professional, this year’s conference offers many sessions just for you. Ever have a hard time believing that an injury could possibly have occurred as reported but don’t know how to prove it? Use of Critical Thinking with Bodily Injury Claims (CLM205 – Tuesday, 8:45-10:00) proposes to walk you a biomechanical engineering analysis of the injury and show how to build a defense based upon a final analysis of causation. Were you aware that workplace violence has become more prevalent and is anticipated to escalate? The Unthinkable: When a Workplace Becomes Violent (EMP202 - Tuesday, 8:45-10:00) will identify types of workplace violence, industries affected, potential impact on an organization and mitigation strategies. Just need a refresher? Then try An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Basics (INS103 – Monday, 1:45-3:00). RIMS 2012 offers something for everyone at all levels of an organization.

Fixing Medicare Secondary Payer

Even a niche specialist like myself can find sessions. Medicare Secondary Payer issues have impacted the workers’ compensation industry more severely than any other type of insurance, yet for the past decade most conferences continue to focus on what our MSP obligations are, or at least perceived to be, and very little is offered with regard to resolution of the problem. Despite failed efforts in the past several Congresses, we finally have the attention of Congress and following the recent release of a GAO report addressing the NGHP problems, a call to action by Congress for improvements. How to Fix the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (LEG300 – Tuesday, 8:45-10:00), will offer insight of the politics of improving the SMART Act (S.1718, H.R. 1063), the Medicare Secondary Payer reform legislation pending before Congress. We will hear from Congressman Tim Murphy himself, when he calls in to speak to the group about the status of the SMART Act and its chance of becoming law this year. Robert Cartwright, from Bridgestone will discuss the favorable impact the legislation will have for his Risk Management Group. David Farber of Patton Boggs, MARC's coalition counsel, will explain how the industry came together to change the law, the reasons for it, and the pathways to change. And finally, Roy Franco, MARC's Co-Chair, is expected to comment on emerging MSP trends and the importance of serving as a voice of the industry to temper changes on the horizon by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It's not your standard MSP Seminar, but rather a call to action for all risk managers to get and stay involved in improving Medicare Secondary Payer. "This will be an important session for all Risk managers" said David Farber. "MSP is playing an increasingly larger role in the settlement and resolution of claims, not just with Medicare beneficiaries but with many other categories of claimants."

High-Exposure Claims and Navigating Medicare Set-Aside Process

And while we wait for Congress to address our concerns, it is important to continue to recognize the MSP impact in ongoing claims, particularly since run of the mill claims can get costly quickly if you are not managing the MSP issue throughout the claim. Bad MSAs are generally a reflection of claims that were allowed to spiral out of control and frequently make settlement impossible. Claims Triage: Identifying and Settling Big Ticket Claims (CLM206 – Monday 1:45-3:00) will show you how to identify high-exposure claims before they escalate, navigate the complex MSA process, evaluate your exposures and valuations and ultimately negotiate a successful cost-effective settlement. Mary Prioetti, Risk Manager of Packaging Corporation of America will offer the perspective of an employer, Donna Urbanski of Discover Re will offer the perspective of an excess carrier and Greg Gitter of Gitter & Associates will offer the perspective of an expert in settlement negotiations. “We are expecting a great turnout for the session and look forward an interactive discussion with the audience about identifying, valuing and bringing resolution to those high dollar claims” said Greg Gitter. “Our goal in the session is to share some of our experiences and strategies in mitigating the exposure of these cases and getting them resolved before they continue to escalate in cost and severity.”

Exhibit Hall: Products, Services, Innovation

But not everything to be gained at RIMS will be found in the educational sessions. The exhibit hall always has lots to offer with respect to the latest services, products and information necessary for successful management and resolution of claims. From the largest international insurance companies and captives to local investigation and transportation services, everything you could possibly need can be found somewhere in that hall. And many of them save their latest innovations and announcement for release at the conference. For example, RIMS will be offering a discount code at its booth to purchase the newly published 12-page Exploring Risk Appetite and Risk Tolerance report, developed and written by RIMS ERM Committee members, offering risk professionals practical and concise guidance on facing challenges in defining acceptable boundaries, balancing differing viewpoints, and managing risk and reward trade-offs in daily management. Progressive Medical will be releasing their Workers' Compensation Medication Trends Report which "provides insight into pharmacy spending trends and the impact issues such as narcotic use, physician dispensing and compounded medications have on payors and injured workers,” says Tron Emptage, chief compliance officer. So make sure to save some time to spend in the exhibit hall, if for no other reason than to pick up a rum cake from the Cayman Captive.

Face-to-Face Networking Possibilities

And lastly, what many find the most valuable about attending RIMS are the networking opportunities. “For me, RIMS is about meeting people. It's the largest gathering of risk management professionals, so it provides a once-a-year opportunity for extensive meetings which cross into a variety of lines of business” said Mark Walls, Vice President – Claims at Safety National. “I reviewed the attendees list and found several hundred members of the Work Comp Analysis Group will be in attendance. My goal is to talk to as many of these people as possible!” Even newcomers with no idea what to expect are excited to attend. Philadelphia attorney Jake Schwartz of Goldfein & Joseph, P.C. said, "I am looking forward to attending RIMS 2012 because I think it is a great opportunity to meet new people and get some insight on what new issues employers can expect to face in trying to minimize exposure in regard to injured employees." And then there are those who are excited about the entire event. Kim Wiswell of CompPartners said “I’m looking forward to attending RIMS this year for several reasons, including the many face-to-face networking opportunities; helping out at the pre-conference community service day for Cradles to Crayons; meeting new friends from my Los Angeles Chapter who are attending; the chance to catch up with old friends; seeing the new products and offerings available from the many participating exhibitors; the sessions concerning legal issues and compliance; and, of course, the RIMS Battle of the Bands on Wednesday evening!”

Conference Starts This Sunday

The conference begins this Sunday and runs through Wednesday and they do accept onsite registrations for single days and an exhibit hall only pass will be available on Wednesday. And don’t forget that donation receptacles for Cradles to Crayons will continue to be available throughout the convention center all week for additional donations. For those who can’t make it this year, hopefully you won’t make that mistake again next year.

For more information about the conference, visit their website at: http://s36.a2zinc.net/clients/RIMS/rims2012/public/enter.aspx