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2021 NWCDC – Leading a Resilient Claims Organization Thru Uncertainty


2021 NWCDC – Leading a Resilient Claims Organization Thru Uncertainty & Change

This was the first session that I set through at the 2021 NWCDC.  The session had two of my favorite workers’ comp people – Rachel Fikes of Rising Medical and Denise Zoe-Algire of Albertsons Companies.  The two other panel members were Tyrone Spears, the City of Los Angeles, and Vickie Kennedy Washington L&I.   You can find out more about the session here including the slides.

Session Description From The 2021 NWCDC Website

2021 NWCDC Conference Brochure pic
(c) NWCDC – authors own work

Is your claims organization culturally prepared to handle the next unexpected (or even expected) crisis around the corner? In this session, experts from the Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study will examine eight years of survey results from more than 3,000 claims leaders and frontline personnel to report on what data trends are telling us about claims organization resiliency in our industry. How can challenges such as the pandemic and our industry’s generational shift be used to accelerate systemic resiliency and change? The opportunity for transformational change, or large-scale failure, is upon us.

Learning Objectives

• Understand what corporate resiliency means and why you should manage and measure it across your organization.
• Discover key takeaways from the industry’s largest survey of claims professionals and learn how these responses can help you build a more resilient workplace.
• Identify why claims organization resiliency is imperative for employee peak performance, positive claim outcomes, and corporate success/competitive advantage.

My Notes

My take – The Workers Comp Benchmarking Study that Rising Medical sponsored invited ALL claims staff including the frontline adjusters.  Most insurance surveys target just the C-Level and some of the managers.  Rising Medical invited me to a Workers Comp think tank in 2015 that included some of the industry Workers Comp heavyweights.

Man Holding notes and pen 2021 NWCDC taking notes
Public Domain – Calum MacAulay

Denise – from the panel – recognized me in the crowd and came up to personally welcome me to the conference and the session.  She and Rachel are always so professional.

That is why this survey was different.   Workers Comp clam adjusters had their say, which was unique to this study.

Some of the results from the survey were:

  • 2020 survey was the claims leaders responding to the 2019 claim front liners survey.
  • The best claim performers said their companies
    • Invest in people
    • Invest in better technologies to assist them in claims handling

Tyrone – flexibility, and adaptability are key, City of LA has taken a more modern approach

Denise – a bottom-up approach is key, not top-down

Vickie- culture changes = attracting more people to the industry

Best claim performers = Advocacy based claims model – reduced from 80% to 73% over the last two years

Best claim performers have a closure rate of 101% – in other words, they are reducing their claim numbers

Claims training – Best Claim performers = 51%  Lower claim performers = 33%`

Vickie – measuring individualized task-oriented measures, accountable to things they can control

Millennials have a lower level of loyalty to their employers.

Telework for claims is now permanent along with flexible work schedules

Specific state law training by outside legal experts was important to the Best performers

Only 25% of the surveyed adjusters/managers had a social determinant of health program in Workers Comp claims.

A large number of third parties exist to increase technology advancement in claim departments including some of the vendors at the conference booths.

After the session – I asked Rachel if there were any plans to do another survey of the frontline claim handlers like the one in 2019.  She said yes, but not right away.

This was the best 2021 NWCDC session that I attended.  The benchmarking survey sets the session apart from some of the other ones.


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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