SIIA to Host National Conference & Expo in Phoenix: Comp Agenda Preview and Louisiana Attendees

The Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA) will hold its 34th Annual National Educational Conference & Expo at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge hotel on October 5-7th, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference is a major event for anyone involved in workers’ compensation, and SIIA has a variety of educational sessions to address the needs of self-insurers.

Their mission is described as follows: “SIIA is the premier national trade association for workers’ compensation self-insurers, including group self-insured workers’ compensation funds (SIGs).  While workers’ compensation is mostly regulated at the state level, there are important business issues that cut across state lines and SIIA helps its members stay ahead of the curve.”

The conference will also hold educational sessions for general concerns, international interests, alternative risk transfer, and health care.

Mark Tullis, administrator of LCI Workers’ Comp in Mandeville, said that SIIA events had previously impressed him in terms of the quality and diversity of speakers. “Many times at conferences like this you have mostly attorneys and consultants speaking,” Tullis said. “Instead, SIIA had individuals who ran workers’ comp programs doing the talking, so the information that was given was both practical and useful.”

According to the published SIIA conference attendance lists, Louisiana is set to be well-represented in Phoenix. Leaders from our workers’ comp community will be present, as will State Representative Greg Cromer, Chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

Regarding the individual sessions, Tullis is most interested in the potential for productive discussion: “What brings me to Phoenix for this SIIA conference are the several roundtable discussions on group self insurance funds…there have been some failures of a few group funds in other states [and as such] the regulatory environment is changing for group funds. I am eager to hear what the regulatory reaction is to these failures in other states. We are fortunate in Louisiana that the group self insurance funds are very strong and continue to write a significant amount of the state’s total workers’ comp premium.”

Two additional key picks for the Louisiana workers’ comp community among the six comp-specific sessions are likely to be Dr. Pimentel’s “Disability Management Solutions” and Tron Emptage’s “Specialty Drugs” session. Emptage has published several articles with National Underwriter and is especially interested in what can be done to limit narcotics use, abuse and expense in the workers’ comp system. See his articles from National Underwriter/Property Casualty 360 here.

Steve Queyrouze, Senior Vice President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association SIF, agrees with the controversial highlight sessions. He explained, “I think the sessions on disability management solutions and on managing costs of specialty drugs are the most important sessions. With the baby boomers aging, disabilities will increase among workers and we have seen these costs increase the last few years in Louisiana and across the nation. The use of specialty drugs and compounding of drugs have negatively impacted workers compensation in Louisiana so anything we can do to better manage these drugs will reduce the negative impact on workers compensation here.”

The national platform and varied agenda of the SIIA conference is also a plus for Louisiana attendees, as it provides an opportunity to compare state systems often viewed in isolation. Queyrouze cites this element as a major draw: “I hope to take advantage of the networking opportunities and the interaction with contemporaries from other states on what works and does not work in their states.”

The six session agenda for workers’ comp is listed below:

Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:15 am – 11:30 am

SIG Roundtable Discussion Part One – Review of SIG Market Issues

Moderator: Tim Hanna, President and CEO of Regency Group


Monday, October 6, 2014, 1:45 pm – 3:00 pm

SIG Roundtable Discussion Part Two – Regulatory Environment

Moderator: Jon Wroten, Chief, Office of Self-Insurance Plans at California Department of Industrial Relations


Monday, October 6, 2014, 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm

SIG Roundtable Discussion Part Three – Current and Future Solutions

Moderator: David G. Johnson, Esq., Corporate Counsel at Self Insured Solutions


Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 10:15 am – 11:30 am

Updating Yesterday’s Disability Management Solutions to Address Today’s Worker’s Compensation Dilemmas

Speaker: Dr. Richard Pimentel, Senior Consultant at Milt Wright & Associates, Inc.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 1:45 pm – 3:00 pm

Managing the Cost of Specialty Drugs – A Guide for Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurers

Speaker: Tron Emptage, RPh, MA, Chief Clinical Officer at Progressive Medical PMSI


Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm

The Great Recession’s Impact on Workers’ Compensation Costs for Self-Insurers

Speakers: Edward Canavan, WC Practice and Compliance at Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

Sandra K. Little, CRM, ARM, CPCU, MBA, Risk Manager at Bar-S Foods Co. (A Sigma Company)

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