Timely information makes for great education, and along that line of thought, the upcoming WCRI Annual Conference appears set to truly deliver. Scheduled for March 21 & 22, 2023 in Phoenix, the annual “research summit” (my words, not theirs) has crafted a truly relevant agenda for the times. The theme of the conference this year is “Disruption, Resilience, and Evolution.” In this post-pandemic era, it is a most suitable theme for an event that reports on impacts and trends for the workers’ compensation industry.
I had a chance to chat with WCRI CEO Dr. John Ruser recently about the impacts of Covid and related trends and what to expect at their annual conference. It appears they have created an agenda that will address many of the most pressing current concerns in the industry. Leading off the event will be David Autor, a Labor Economist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Autor will speak about globalization and technological advances, including artificial intelligence. He will be outlining recent developments on those fronts and discussing how they will impact both the US workforce and state workers’ comp systems.
The workforce theme appears to be a strong focus of the upcoming event. True to the information timeliness mentioned earlier, a panel dedicated to the impact of the labor shortage is also being offered on the opening day. Presenters representing a strong cross-section of industry categories will be further discussing a topic that seems to be on everyone’s minds these days; finding enough of the right people to do the jobs that need to be done. There is also a panel reviewing changes in the workplace. That group will be addressing hybrid and remote working environments, and the longer-term impacts on everything from workplace injuries to challenges of training and knowledge transfer. In my discussions with industry experts, those two topics dominate current concerns, and their inclusion alone will be worth the trip to Phoenix.
Other topics planned for presentation include the impact of Climate Change on the workers’ compensation ecosystem, a deep dive into medical inflation (spoiler alert – it is not as bad as you may think given other inflationary pressures, but what is on the horizon?), and, of course, early results of the impact of Long Covid.
The conference will also offer a historical review of workers’ compensation, as well as the standard “State of the States Report” that WCRI is well known for.
I had a conflict and missed the WCRI conference in Boston last year. I am happy to say I will not have that problem this year. And it appears I am not alone. Ruser tells me that they appear poised to break all previous attendance records for their conference. That is likely a testament to the importance of the topics they have selected and the information they intend to report on.
And Phoenix in March isn’t holding them back, either.
For more information on the conference, go to https://www.wcrinet.org/. This is one of the major data-oriented events of the year, and industry leaders from all sectors will be there. They understand that timely information makes for great education, especially in an era of disruption, resilience, and evolution.