I was supposed to wake up in Boston this morning, but I didn’t. I should be getting ready to leave my hotel room at the Westin Copley Place to head downstairs and join several hundred other data junkies for a day of education and information, but I’m not. Instead, I remain in Sarasota, missing the annual WCRI Conference that is taking place today and tomorrow.

It seems that is what Mother Nature intended for me.

The WCRI event is like no other in the industry. It is essentially an “annual report” from one of the very few organizations dedicated to studying the inner workings of the workers’ compensation industry. This annual sojourn, where they detail and discuss their latest findings, is essentially “Comp Nerdvana;” the South by Southwest equivalent for the analytically inclined within our industry. Things get really wild there. Actuaries even make eye contact with other people while attending.

I know, I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

I was originally scheduled to fly to Boston Wednesday morning, with a flight that made a connection in Baltimore. As everyone knows, the east coast was forecast to be hit with its fourth nor’easter in as many weeks. Watching the weather Monday evening, I became concerned about that connection, as Baltimore was supposed to be getting up to 8 inches of snow on Wednesday. I called the airline and moved my flight to one that left a bit later, but which connected through Atlanta.

Mid-day Tuesday I got a text telling me the Atlanta-Boston flight was cancelled. I checked the airline schedule, and saw one remaining flight scheduled for Boston, this one connecting in Baltimore. I called the airline; that flight was still available. I had them move my reservation. I got the email confirmation of the change while still on the phone with them. I thanked the agent, hung up, and picked up my cell phone to retrieve my boarding passes.

An entire 30 seconds had passed, but the app on my phone told me that my new flight had been cancelled.

It just wasn’t meant to be. 

I’ve learned from WCRI social media updates and friends on location that the anticipated 12 inches of snow in Boston never materialized. WCRI reports that a record number of people checked in the day before the event. I am happy for them regarding that, but psychologically it doesn’t make missing it any easier. Deep down it would be more emotionally satisfying if they were buried in mountains of snow, waiting on dogsled teams to come to their rescue. Still, I recognize that the storm was much worse at numerous connection points south of them, and that was really the crux of the problem. With over 4,000 flights cancelled over yesterday and today, I cannot be the only one in this situation.

Our website will still be able to disseminate much of the information that is provided there, however. WorkersCompensation.com columnist Peter Rousmaniere is on site, as is reporter Liz Carey. Additionally, we publish Safety National’s Conference Chronicles blog, which will be capably updated by Mark Walls – if, that is, he can tear himself away from the shrimp appetizers (Walls gleefully tweeted that there would be more of them available due to my absence. Hate to admit it, but he was right).

In all seriousness, I hope the majority of attendees managed to get to this conference. It is, as I’ve previously noted, “a trek worth making.” Next year WCRI will be breaking with long standing tradition and will hold their annual conference in Phoenix. I look forward to making that one. For obvious reasons, I am a fan of the move. 

Let’s see Mother Nature try to snow me under then.

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