I just completed a presentation at the Alabama Self-Insurers Association (ASIA) Summer Conference, being held in Destin, FL. Designated the “Closing Speaker” on the final day of the conference, I was essentially the only thing left between all of the attendees, and the beach.

I needed to talk fast and get out. Oh, and I needed to shoot some t-shirts at the Asians in attendance.

Now, this is not a racial incident in the making. These were not people necessarily of eastern or Asian decent. These were members of ASIA, hence they are ASIAn’s in the plural sense. Part of my presentation, called “The Wild & Wacky World of Workers’ Comp”, included a gameshow called “Compensable or Not”, and the prizes for our participants were T-Shirts designed just for the event. 

Now, as I explained during the presentation, I could have simply walked up to the participants and handed them their prize, but that would have been, as noted, simple. And this is workers’ comp. We don’t do simple. We like to make things complex, difficult to execute and hard to comprehend. And of course, the entire effort needed an acronym. Therefore, three very nice albeit apparently gullible volunteers assisted me in forming the “Compensable or Not PDS”, or “Prize Delivery System”. 

Before we knew it, these volunteers, using a very large slingshot designed to launch water balloons up to 400 yards, were winging balled up t-shirts at a high rate of speed over the heads, and occasionally into the heads, of attendees scrambling for their very lives. Some of their shots were pretty accurate. Some, not so much. We experienced two in flight failures, or wardrobe malfunctions, where the rubber bands holding the t-shirt failed from the stresses of launch, and the shirts unfolded and simply floated to the ground. 

Still, as the attendees started to re-emerge from under their tables, they appeared to be having a good time.

The point of my presentation was largely focused on understanding the perceptions of workers’ comp by those outside the industry, and how employers can improve communications to compensate for that. I wanted to do something different with this group, and really did enjoy it. 

We can only hope the presentation gave them something to think about, and a little different approach to remember. I know I certainly learned one thing. Shooting Asians with t-shirts is harder than it looks. 

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