Today, 45 workers' comp superstars from all over the nation are gathering at a super secret, highly secure location. Sort of a Trilateral Commission for workplace injury, they will analyze, review, and solve all of the issues facing workers' comp. Well, actually, tonight they are just having dinner and drinking, but tomorrow; tomorrow they will analyze, review, and solve all of the issues facing workers' comp. And then they will keep it a secret for the ages; they will not openly disclose their results. This will be the third such year they have met.

I am not one of those people. In fact, I am not supposed to know about it.

And neither are you.

I know the organizers. I've worked with them on common issues. I've supported some of their special projects. And while I honestly would not expect to be one of the chosen experts invited to attend, it feels a bit odd to be left out of the information loop. It's 4th grade all over again, and the cool kids are at Johnny Fussmuckers' birthday party, while I am stuck cleaning the erasers in Mrs. Reeve's Tatem Elementary classroom. Even though I know the details of this clandestine soirée, details with which I apparently cannot be trusted – its time, location and agenda; I will honor the organizers wishes for confidentiality.

Yes, we will keep the details a secret, and I will even go one step further. I will offer critical advice for the security of their future events.

The first piece of advice I would tender is this: Don't build a stupid website dedicated to the super secret event. A website that anyone, including people I work with, can find. And the people I work with find everything. There it was in black and white, well blue, black and gray actually, designed to be viewed only by those privileged with an invitation to do so. It tells us that, “we have identified individuals notable for their knowledge, thoughtfulness, and vision. You are one of them”.

Guess again.

The faceless, yet knowledgeable, thoughtful, and visionary attendees will discuss innovation in workers' comp claims, and will “use well developed case studies to explore what's ‘worked' and what hasn't, why, and what we can learn from ‘success' and ‘failure'.” Really? If it is failure you want to discuss, perhaps I should have been invited. I have an entire book of stupid ideas that didn't work.

According to the website, which I expected would self destruct at any moment but failed to do so, registrants will include “corporate risk managers, insurers, TPAs, service vendors, think tanks, medical providers, managed care, venture capital, and others.”

Oh, thank God there are think tanks. How I love a super secret conference with think tanks. Clearly better than no tanks.

I went on to learn that “Each of these areas of expertise will be represented by approximately 3 to 6 individuals. There will be no more than 45 registrants. Prior to the event you will receive a profile of each registrant with contact information.”

The website has a confidentiality page, telling the chosen few that “Attendees are not to disclose to others the Conference, including attendance and content. We will prepare for you during the event a written record of the discussion, leaving out identities of speakers and commenters (sic).  You will receive a pdf copy of this record after the conference.” Presumably the anointed ones receiving this PDF will need to memorize its content and then hurl their computers into the ocean. Or sell them on eBay. Whichever.

I should also mention that the full agenda is on the website, too. So much for not disclosing the content.

There was no mention of a secret handshake, but I assume there has to be one. If I was running a super secret conference in an undisclosed location that was formerly Dick Cheney's basement you can bet I would have a super secret handshake. But no one would know about it. And if they did I would have to kill them. That is what would keep it super secret.

If this group has one I'd bet a week's wages it only uses the left hand.

Also not mentioned on the website is the fact that all participants will get a handmade aluminum foil hat to wear during the meetings to prevent their thoughts from being scanned.

“All Dressed Up With No Super Secret Place To Go”

This all leads me to my second point of advice: I would hope that the organizers did invite a tech savvy person who could show them how easy it is to password protect a website, or perhaps how to use the robots.txt protocol, which instructs legitimate search engines not to index some or all pages on a site. Easy peasy. Besides, internet technology is kind of important, and it is having tremendous impact on the processes and procedures of workers' comp. I certainly hope my area of the industry is being well represented and considered in the solutions. Perhaps one of my more knowledgeable, more thoughtful and more visionary competitors is there, and will take care of this.

I will sleep better knowing that is the case, even though we'll never actually know. Unless, of course, they post the results on their super secret website.

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