We’ve just completed the second full day of AASCIF 2015 here in San Francisco, and I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Seriously, while this event has always been known as a fun conference with good speakers and outstanding events, this year has been off the charts when it comes to the actual conference speaker line up. Hosts for this event, the California State Fund, have literally knocked it out of the park when it comes to session presentations.

Let’s see, I could talk about Terry Jones, who basically invented online travel systems with the launch of Travelocity, who spoke eloquently on business innovation. Or David Nelsen and his eye opening take on the radical changes still ahead of us in social media. There was Terry Bogyo explaining how demographics show unprecedented change in our future, and a session by the founder of Stand & Deliver on communication. There was an interesting session on personal branding, a candid discussion regarding MSA’s and a great presentation on building trust.

Oh, and during lunch yesterday we listened to genome scientific pioneer J. Craig Venter explain how his field will revolutionize medicine beyond our wildest imagination – and that was all before dessert was served.

It has been a flood of really useful and fascinating information, and I will be writing in more detail on a number of these sessions over the next couple weeks. I just frankly have not had time to digest it all, but trust me when I say some of the topics and presenters reached me at a very personal level.

That is because, if there is a theme to this conference, it is that unprecedented change is coming. It will affect many aspects of our personal and professional lives, and we best be ready to embrace it.

The three areas that seem to be part of a greater theme here are innovation, change, and communication. These are critical topics for the entire industry, but none so much as for the state funds themselves. These state insurers are rather rapidly being thrust into unfamiliar territory, and are facing change that reaches far beyond technical or social elements. Some are starting to bump into others competitively, as a number of them have completed reforms to allow expansion outside state lines. It is true that some funds, like Brickstreet and Memic, have already pioneered this practice, but others are now stucturally poised to do the same. While AASCIF, the American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds, has for all purposes has been and continues to be a supportive brotherhood, the rules for how they play together on a daily basis seems to be changing. 

Whether intentional or not, the messages from this conference can and should prove very useful for the new dynamic world in which they may find themselves existing.

The primary problem for me, at least, is that this conference keeps you quite busy, and I just have not found the time to write in detail on some of the sessions I prefer to discuss. That will come; but in the meantime know that California State Fund has done an outstanding job of thinking outside the conference box on this one, and brought truly fresh and compelling content. Later this morning we will hear from a panel of economists and Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner. Should be an interesting morning indeed.

We will have plenty of blog fodder to chew on from this one, as we digest the idea of a whirlwind of change……    

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