I’ve been involved with the Comp Laude® Awards program for a number of years now. I have been a judge. I have served on the nominating committee. This year I have just completed my responsibilities as a member of the Vetting Committee. Each year I am reminded of the very positive things our industry has to offer. This year was no exception.

The Comp Laude® Awards recognize exceptional individuals within the workers’ compensation industry who are working to make a difference. People can be nominated for any of ten award categories. They are injured worker, applicant/claimant attorney, defense attorney, medical professional, doctor/physician, industry leader, employer, service provider/vendor, claims professional, and work comp philanthropy. The Comp Laude® award ceremony will take place on September 24, 2019.

Roughly, the program works like this: Nominations are opened to the public, and people may nominate those who they feel exemplify the best in our industry within their category. The Nominating Committee then reviews those nominations, and a series of “Pass/Fail” votes are applied. If the person gains enough Pass votes, then their nomination proceeds to the Vetting Committee. People on the Vetting Committee have to contact the nominees and arrange a brief interview. There is a centralized system that tracks notes and votes in this process, provided by the Comp Laude® promoters, WorkCompCentral. After the interview is complete, the person doing the vetting enters their notes and impressions from the interview, along with a Pass/Fail vote for the Judging Committees final review. After that period, the Judging Committee will vote and make a final selection for winners in each category, as well as winners for two overall industry recognitions, the Magna Comp Laude and Summa Comp Laude awards.

I had 16 people assigned to me this year for the vetting process. It was an inspiring experience to get to speak with so many well qualified and deserving nominees. For me it was a reminder that, despite the onslaught of negative publicity we receive, the workers’ compensation industry has talented people working to make a difference. 

A bit of advice should you one day find yourself in the role as a nominee in this program. The people doing all this committee work; the nominating, vetting and judging panels, are all volunteers. We are busy professionals taking time from our hectic schedules to support a program in which we believe. Don’t make it difficult for them. Answer their emails. Return their phone calls. Two of the people on my list did not respond to my efforts in contacting them. Another, who I never actually spoke with, had her assistant grill me about where I got their contact information, then set up an interview appointment that she was not available for when the time came.  She then failed to return the call as promised. I can assure you those are very certain ways to get a failing vote in the vetting process – at least when I am the one doing the vetting. 

Overall, they were the few exceptions. The people I spoke with had generally impressive stories and have had great impact on our industry. I knew several of them already but learned something with virtually every discussion. It reminded me that there is much to be proud of in the world of workers’ compensation. There are very creative and well-intentioned people working to do the right thing, in a system that can make that a difficult objective. 

And that is what Comp Laude® is all about. It is what the founder David Depaolo was betting on in the first place.

To learn more about Comp Laude® and the conference associated with the program, go to https://www.complaude.com.

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