As the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) prepares to host industry leaders and regulators at its 70th Annual Convention at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia, July 23rd-27th, 2018, Louisiana Comp Blog spoke to SAWCA Executive Director Gary Davis about SAWCA’s Louisiana roots. Read on to learn how the “Southern state of mind” is expanding its reach.
Comp Blog: What were the first SAWCA states?
Davis: The initial Board of Directors was comprised of 13 SAWCA states: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma.
Comp Blog: Is the “Southern state of mind” that SAWCA espouses as its motto potentially nationwide? Could all 50 states potentially join?
Davis: Yes, SAWCA membership is open to all 50 states plus US territories. In fact, this summer SAWCA will entertain an application for jurisdictional membership from Wisconsin which will bring SAWCA’s total membership to 22 – 20 states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.
Comp Blog: How many Louisiana members does SAWCA have?
Davis: The Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration within the Louisiana Workforce Commission is the jurisdictional member for the state of Louisiana. This is the only voting member from Louisiana.
There are a number of other entities that have a Louisiana connection that support SAWCA, including LCI Workers’ Comp. The industry (carriers, employers, third party administrators, etc.) joins SAWCA as “Associate” members and many of them have operations in Louisiana.
Comp Blog: What influence does Louisiana have in SAWCA’s leadership?
Davis: As one of the original 13 SAWCA states, Louisiana has played an important role in SAWCA’s development over the years. In just the last ten years, SAWCA has benefitted from the support and guidance from every Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) Director from Chris Broadwater to the Honorable Sheral Kellar.
Also, Larry White, who recently retired from the Louisiana OWCA after nearly 50 years of service, was instrumental in SAWCA’s programs. Larry served SAWCA with distinction as the Committee Chair for Management Information Systems and upon retiring was granted a “Life-Time Membership” to SAWCA recognizing his significant contributions. Currently, SAWCA is fortunate to have Director Sheral Kellar serving on the Board of Directors and Pauline Williams as a Co-Chair of the Claims Administration Committee.
Comp Blog: Has SAWCA ever had a convention in Louisiana?
Davis: Yes, most recently SAWCA held the 2012 All Committee Conference at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, and before that, SAWCA’s 1997 All Committee Conference was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans. SAWCA was scheduled to hold its 2005 All Committee Conference in New Orleans, but Hurricane Katrina forced SAWCA to cancel and relocate.
SAWCA will hold a Louisiana convention in 2019 and we have partnered with the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration to handle their educational conference going forward.
Comp Blog: What is the main value that SAWCA provides to its members?
Davis: SAWCA brings together the “decision makers” for the jurisdictions with the industry leaders, providing a unique opportunity to share ideas, discuss the critical issues that impact the workers’ compensation systems throughout the nation, and to forge professional relationships that serve both regulators and employers as they work together to improve a system, which at its core, is created to serve and protect the injured workers.
Image Credit: SAWCA logo via Twitter