I am off to Virginia this morning, to attend the last couple days of the annual conference of the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA). I am hosting a panel there Friday morning called “Things That Make Bob Go, Hmmmm….” It will be the fifth time I’ve been asked to do this.

I think these people need to get a life. There is no way I am that entertaining.

For this presentation I will be joined by newly ensconced Chairman of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, R. Ferrell Newman, Diana Leahy, National Account Executive at Verisk, Donna Shenesky, Chief Compliance Officer at American Mining Insurance Company and Ryan Brannan, former Commissioner of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission and now Principal with the Brannan Firm.

I’ve written previously about what an honor it is to have a regulators group such as SAWCA actually name a presentation after me. The fact that they seem to be making it a series is even more flattering. Who knows? Maybe syndication will soon be in our future.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself on that one.

This session we will likely be focused on the generational changes that we are seeing in the economy and in workers’ compensation. I don’t know about you, but one of the things that definitely makes me go “hmmmm” is the challenge of drawing responsible millennials to our industry. This could be a real issue.

I mean look around. While you are no doubt perfectly young, healthy and vibrant, the odds are you are surrounded by a bunch of aging grumpy gray hairs. We are bigger and heavier by the day, and our knees won’t let us forget it. We are getting crankier as well, and becoming increasingly obsessed with keeping kids off our corporate campus’ lawn. The only benefit to all this aging is that we will need much smaller parking lots, since our Hoveround scooters can turn on a dime and fit 10 to a space. The down side of that is it will take us 3 hours to drive to work – arriving just in time for our nap.

Can you see why an infusion of young people will be so important? Someone’s going to have to be around to wake us up when it is time to go home.

I am also considering discussing what could be the gradual creation of 2 distinct classes of injured workers, which appears to be trending from all the special presumptions being granted first responders and other emergency workers around the nation. While I understand the emotion behind wanting to support those that protect us, I worry that we are creating an environment ripe for abuse. I also question providing mental benefits to an officer who responds to the scene of a robbery and murder but leaving the private sector employees who endured the robbery and witnessed the murder to fend for themselves. On this point I question the constitutionality of some of the laws we are seeing around the nation. There may be a day of reckoning coming on that.

Too bad our feeble memories won’t catch the lesson. We’ll be trying to remember where we parked our scooters.

I think this will be a lot of fun. The panel we’ve assembled won’t be shy, and I personally know most of them can give as good as they get. I’ll follow up afterwards and let you know what I learned…..


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