Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recognizing Good

Scott Hudson gave one of the key note speeches at the Workers’ Compensation Institute’s annual educational conference Monday.

Hudson is the CEO and president of third party administrator Gallagher Bassett.

He surprised the audience in the Grand Ballroom, I think, by talking about something that is rather taboo in our industry - us old farts are dying and no one is coming into the industry willingly to pick up the slack and as a consequence our industry loses out talent to other industries such as banking, finance, technology and perhaps beer making.

And Hudson, in my opinion, is absolutely correct about the dearth of talent targeting workers' compensation as a career path.

Think about it - how any of you graduated from college and said to yourselves that workers' compensation is a cool industry that does great stuff for people and you want to make a career out of it so you can do good things for the world?

Right - not a one of you!

Why is that? Why is workers' compensation so off the radar screen for the next generation? Why can't we attract top talent into our industry? Why can't we have the big thinkers, people that go outside of the box to solve our problems, to bring good things to life?

Workers' compensation is, after all, as much of a people business as any industry and if you've been in the comp world for more than just a few months you absolutely know that it's all about relationships.

People make things happen in workers' compensation because the industry is all about taking care of people. This industry starts with people and ends with people.

We are as much about humanity as any other industry - we are charged with solving a huge social problem: doing as much as we can using the tools we are given to help people recover from bad things in life and carry on.

Hudson talked about rebranding the industry and that starts with the way we talk about our selves. And I will admit that I'm probably just as much to blame as anyone else.

It's easy to publish bad news and it's easy to criticize what's wrong in the industry. It's much, much harder to talk about the good things because we get so consumed with what's wrong.

But we do make a difference and we do very, very important work.

I guess that last part gets lost in the conversation too often. When we're at a cocktail party and mention to some guest that we're in the workers' compensation business we often do so shamefully.

Like we're embarrassed that we help manage the largest privatized social benefit system in the world.

Or that we help people get back to work, help business manage safe practices, help the economy by spreading potentially catastrophic risk and keeping payroll tax dollars flowing.

"The way you define me is not how I see myself," Hudson said, and it's so true.

Get down to the basics: Our job is to provide comfort to injured workers, to get them healthy, to get them working again because work in the most primal way defines our existence (and this has been proven time and again through psychological studies).


There, I said it - we really do good things.

The trend in our favor is that the millennial generation is looking for meaning and social importance in their lives and careers, and that is what comp is all about.

But people don't know that. Even people in our own industry don't know that.

If we are going to attract top talent into this industry we need change the perception of work comp and the mindset of the public.

We need to be ambassadors of our industry and we need to share our stories of success, of helping that injured worker, of assisting that beleaguered employer, of making things right in this world within our own special way.

We are a caring industry and we should celebrate all that is right with workers' compensation.

In that vein I have urged my staff and colleagues to create something wonderful, something that celebrates the good in workers' compensation and recognizes the deep care and understanding that incredible PEOPLE bring to the lives of others.

I hope you will join me and WorkCompCentral to nominate recipients for the WorkCompCentral Comp Laude(tm) Awards.

Though nominees are limited to the State of California at this time, anyone involved in the workers' compensation system, inside or outside California, can nominate an individual or a company in one of eight categories.

We are going to be recognizing injured workers and their employers, case managers, claims adjusters and managers, risk managers and Third-Party Administrators (TPAs), doctors, attorneys, educators and others who have demonstrated to their nominators, and the industry, a high degree of integrity, understanding, education and commitment to doing good things for people via the work comp industry.

Start nominating qualified people and organizations now by selecting one of the categories listed at https://ww3.workcompcentral.com/events/nominations. You can also just call (805) 484-0333 and a WorkCompCentral account representative can take your nomination.

Nominations are due by October 12, 2014. Awards will be presented on Saturday, December 6 at the 3rd Annual Comp Laude Awards & Gala at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. I hope you can join us to celebrate the good we do.

The next generation will join us if they see an industry of care. Let's show them we do.


  1. "the industry is all about taking care of people"
    Wow, I really have a problem with this statement, David!

    1. I'll 2nd your comment Kevin B.
      I am an injured worker who has been deliberately maimed and battered by the medical providers in the insurance carrier's "network of medical providers".
      I have no doubt that "they" the medical providers were recruited by the defense to maim me. The defense attorney pointed out to my attorney in a letter dated Aug. 2012 that "it looks like the treatment is harming her rather than benefiting her". I have discovered that my medical reports, surgery reports & other documents / forms have been altered strategically for the defense, contain false statements and false chain of events, ect.
      I wasn't informed that my employer told the insurance carrier that I wasn't hurt at work until more than 6 months later, after I had been "harmed" the first time as the defense attorney put it in his letter to my then attorney.
      1. Injured workers should be told what their employer has to say about the circumstances of the injury, especially if it conflicts with the injured workers claim.
      2. I should have been warned that crimes against the injured worker exist and those crimes or claims of crimes should be spelled out to the injured worker in a mandated disclosure that all injured workers should read and acknowledge.
      3. My attorney should have provided me with a copy of the letter that indicated that the defense attorney recognized that I was being harmed. I didn't get the letter until after I had been prolifically and consistently maimed 3 more times at 3 lumbar epidural injections. My attorney received the letter before the 3 epidurals. I was forced under anesthesia twice against my advance directives. The 2nd time I was forced under anesthesia brutally, I was screaming STOP / WAIT as the Doctor shoved the needle without precision into the left side of my spine/back. Then the Doctor moved the needle to the nerve on the left side of my spine and held it against the nerve as I screamed more, this time biting down on the towel that was provided to rest my head on. He would not relent. I realized that I was being forced to accept anesthesia. I couldn't get off the table with the needle held against the nerve. Brutal and excruciating.
      I could go on. And from what I have come to know since these crimes and more have been realized, there are many more injured workers who have had crimes committed against them.
      I spoke to the OC DA's office, who after I described to them what I have been through, the response was, "Unfortunately, your case is not unique".
      David, my case is still not settled, I hope that I meet one or two of those people that you described above.

  2. David,

    You asked why we can't have big thinkers, people who go outside the box.

    Well, I'd like to think that I am a big thinker, and go outside the box in my writing. Joe Padua even said so.

    Yet, I have been criticized by two well-known 'old farts', and have not had the recognition or interest from the industry, for either speaking engagements or employment opportunities. 

    The reason why the industry is not attracting younger people is that it is stuck in the past and not forward thinking. The response I've gotten is testament to that anachronism. 

  3. Good comments, Dave. I also enjoyed Hudson's remarks and agree with what he said. Let's here it for workers' comp!

  4. Let's have every work comp provider open a forum for real talk about whats really happening in America's work comp total system fail. Not failing? Highly profitable?

    Ask any injured worker about that.

    Take my case as an example. CA super lawyers say it's too sad....and not uncommon at all. Nearly 3 years of pure terrorism and polite legal chicanery. Did I mention medical care provided? Not on carrier agenda. Bummer. .

    "Mamas! Dont let your babies grow up to be WC doctors lawyers and thugs."

    Write on, David and Friends. The Truth may set us free!

    We are the media now. Thank you.

    Lets find more good guys and gals....AND STRENGTHEN THEIR BLOGS.