The 70th Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference® and the 27th Annual Safety and Health Conference focuses on national workers’ compensation and safety industries. Particularly as it relates to workers’ compensation, it has always been felt that each state, having different laws, had to deal with its own issues separate from other states. No longer is this the case. This national conference has evolved into a gathering of all stakeholders, regardless of jurisdiction or state, to study and be educated on issues of common concern - issues that have no geographical boundaries. Regardless of your interests, your position in these two important industries, and your role, this conference is designed to provide something of significance. The unprecedented number of breakouts and the quality of presenters representing states throughout the country truly make this a national event not to be missed.
This nationally acclaimed annual conference remains the premier forum for the study of workers’ compensation, workplace safety and health, and related issues primarily because of the continued participation of state and national associations, all being recognized as leaders within their particular interest areas. Participants in this group (past and present) include: The Safety & Health Institute; The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); The Workers’ Compensation Institute; the Florida and National Associations of PEOs; The Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar; The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA); The Workers' Compensation Defense Institute; The Florida Orthopedic Society; The Florida Chiropractic Association; The Florida Association of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; The Florida Academy of Pain Medicine; The Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; The Educational Research Centers at The University of South Florida, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The Deep South ERC at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn University; The Professional Mediation Institute (PMI); The National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ); The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC); Rough Notes magazine; The Self-Insurance Guaranty Fund of America; The National Underwriter (sponsor of the Workers' Compensation Risk Manager of the Year); NCCI; and The National Regulators College.
This year’s program offers creative and innovative speakers from throughout the United States. The hottest issues in workers’ compensation and safety will be discussed. All aspects of workers’ compensation and workplace safety will be topics of discussion with breakouts for risk managers, regulators, safety professionals, health care providers, adjusters, insurance professionals, attorneys, medical case managers, professional employer organizations, temporary staffing, mediators, and agents. Ancillary sessions will be held on the Social Security Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, the Jones Act, the Defense Base Act, the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Course, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and the SMART Act, with specific emphasis on their effect on workers’ compensation. In addition to subjects of general interest within the national workers’ compensation and safety communities, state-specific workers’ compensation laws will be the subject of day-long breakouts and will include presentations featuring regulators and other experts on the laws of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kentucky. A live surgery will be performed for the benefit of conference attendees. A breakout will also be held on the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, the newest problematic aspect of dealing with workers’ compensation and general liability cases. The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), The Educational Research Centers (ERCs) of The University of South Florida, The Deep South ERC at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ERC will sponsor segments of the conference dealing with safety and health issues of national concern. For the first time this year, NCCI will sponsor special breakout sessions for agents and brokers.
WCI encourages attendees to share during the conference with Friends and Followers. Follow WCI® on Twitter@WCI360, and use the WCI® conference hashtag on Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™, Tumblr™ or your blog. Attendees can comment, question, and share the knowledge gleaned from the unparalleled programming that every year is WCEC®. #WCEC2015.
This is the 27th anniversary of the existence of the Safety & Health Conference. Originally created as a stand-alone “Governor’s Conference on Safety,” the Safety & Health Institute partnered with the Workers’ Compensation Institute to establish a comprehensive national safety and health conference. In cooperation with NIOSH, CDC, OSHA, and sponsoring universities, these educational offerings provide reasonably priced comprehensive educational opportunities for front-line safety professionals. This year's conference offers an expanded curriculum. In addition to advanced breakouts on safety, the 10-hour General Industry course will be presented. An OSHA completion card will be issued to those who complete the full 10 hours of instruction. Registration for this special course offering is required. Refer to form to register.
Realizing that many workers’ compensation and safety professionals deal with more than one state, special conference breakouts have been designed to provide information on multi-state workers’ compensation laws. Sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Defense Institute, this unique program offers presentations on the workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Handouts for these sessions will include copies of the laws of the various jurisdictions. Regulators from each of these jurisdictions will be present to discuss each state’s laws and regulations. For those participating states, conferences with specific regulators can be pre-scheduled if attendees have particular concerns within these states. In making reservations for these personal conferences, refer to Ask the Regulators.
The Annual National Workers’ Compensation Judiciary College is held in conjunction with the conference. The College is sponsored by the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ) and is designed to provide educational opportunities for adjudicators that preside over workers’ compensation matters. The college focuses on issues that are unique to the field of workers’ compensation and includes adjudicators both at the trial and appellate levels. Consult your program for further details related to the Judiciary College. The Association’s website is www.nawcj.org. Visit the site to become a member or associate member, review newsletters and register for the College. This is the only College in the nation that is created exclusively by and for workers’ compensation adjudicators.
The 2015 National Workers’ Compensation Regulators College held at the conference, is sponsored by the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators, and the Self-Insurance Guaranty Funds of America. This program is specifically designed for regulators by regulators covering the full scope of regulatory responsibilities faced by today’s state officials. Registration for the National Workers’ Compensation Regulators College includes a complimentary WCI® convention registration. The SAWCA registration can be completed by visiting www.sawca.com or by contacting Gary Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (859) 219-0194.
This year’s conference will feature an expanded breakout on the Medicare Secondary Payer Act and related subjects. One of the most difficult areas to deal with in handling workers’ compensation in the current environment is understanding and dealing with the serious pitfalls that this expanding law presents. This comprehensive breakout will clarify what has become an extremely complicated process, creating enormous issues for the workers’ compensation industry. Expanded conference offerings will include discussions on the SMART Act.
The Industry Keynote Speaker is Deborah L. Michel. On August 7, 2012, Paul Condrin, President of Commercial Insurance, announced the appointment of Debbi L. Michel as the Executive Vice President, National Insurance and General Manager, Major Accounts and President of Helmsman Management Services. In this role, Ms. Michel is responsible for managing a portfolio of customers with total cost of risk to Commercial Insurance in excess of $1.3 billion. Helmsman Management Services is a fully owned TPA of Liberty Mutual with service revenue of roughly $180 million. Today the Major Accounts group services approximately 50 accounts, many in the Fortune 100. Ms. Michel began her career with Liberty Mutual in 1995 and has held various leadership positions throughout the accounting, marketing, claims and distribution organizations. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Accounting and holds a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation.
The Keynote Speaker for this year’s conference is Herschel Walker. Herschel Walker may have retired from football over 15 years ago, but he continues to leave an untouchable athletic legacy. His success began on the gridiron in high school. Completing over 3000 rushing yards, he caught the eye of the University of Georgia where he signed in 1980. He was a three-time All-American and earned the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. He is the only NCAA player to finish in the top three in Heisman voting in all three years of his collegiate career. In 1999, Walker was inducted into the College Hall of Fame. He signed with the United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals where he played for three seasons breaking the record for single-season rushing yards in 1985. Walker’s NFL career began as the Dallas Cowboys 5th round draft pick. In 1990, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks. In off-season, he channeled his productivity by joining the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and competed in the 1992 Olympic Games placing 7th in the two-man bobsled. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants before returning to the Cowboys to retire in 1997. During his NFL career, he made two Pro Bowl teams (1987, 1988) and was named by Sports Illustrated as being on the “NCAA Football All Century Team.” He continues to hold the record for the only player to gain 4000 yards in three different ways: rushing, receiving and kickoff returns. In 2009 at the age of 48, Walker began training at the American Kickboxing Academy for Mixed Martial Arts. He competed in two professional matches, winning both.
The entertainment for this year’s conference will feature Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. Joan Jett is the leader of the hard rocking Blackhearts, with whom she has become a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee. She has had 8 Platinum and Gold albums and 9 Top 40 Singles, including the classics “Bad Reputation,” “I love Rock ‘n Roll,” “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and “Crimson and Clover.” She sits at the head of her own independent label, “Blackheart Records.” She has acted in movies and television including 1987’s Light of Day and in a Tony-nominated musical, The Rocky Horror Show. She has appeared on such acclaimed television shows as Oprah (The Last Season) and Law & Order. Her music has become a permanent force in mainstream culture. A version of “I Hate Myself for Loving You” has been NBC’s Sunday Night Football theme, performed this past season by Carrie Underwood. Her music is heard in countless film and TV shows including The Runaways, Shrek, Baby Mama, and many more. Jett and The Blackhearts released their latest record “Unvarnished” and continue touring the globe to throngs of adoring fans.
Jill’s Cashbox, otherwise known as JCB, a band from Central Florida that specializes in getting folks on their feet, moving and grooving to the music, is the front band for the Monday night entertainment. Though their original music is country, they cover a ton of entertaining rock and pop songs.
Host Hotel: Adequate parking is available at the Marriott.
Overflow Hotel: The conference overflow hotels will provide parking and shuttle to its guests Sunday through Wednesday. See shuttle schedule.
Orlando World Center Marriott valet parking is available at the main entrance of the hotel for hotel guests. There is a daily fee. Self-parking is available on the property of the hotel to conference attendees for no fee. Complimentary self-parking is also provided at the overflow hotel for hotel guests, with complimentary shuttle service to the Orlando World Center Marriott, beginning Sunday, August 23. Refer to the map and bus schedule. NOTE: Adequate parking is available at the host hotel for all conference attendees.
The Orlando World Center Marriott and the overflow hotel represent and warrant that, as a place of “public accommodation,” they are in compliance to the extent applicable with the provisions of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hotel facilities, including meeting space, restrooms, dining areas, other common areas and sufficient guest rooms shall be reasonably accessible and usable by persons with special needs. If you require special accommodations for activities related to your hotel stay, please consult with hotel staff. If you require accommodations to participate fully in activities of the conference, please indicate your special needs in the space provided on the registration form or contact WCI®. We will make any reasonable accommodation possible.
If additional information is needed about any aspect of the conference, please contact the Workers’ Compensation Institute (WCI) at (850) 425-8156, email Shirley Kendall at email@example.com, or mail your inquiry to P.O. Box 200, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0200, or physical address 2846 Remington Green Circle, Suite A, Tallahassee, FL 32308, FAX (850) 521-0222.
Many new and exciting things are occurring in workers’ compensation and safety almost on a daily basis. We look forward to sharing these events with you at this year’s educational conference.
James N. McConnaughhay,