While the annual Risk Insurance Management Society Conference is among the largest property and casualty conventions, if you’re looking for the latest information re workers’ comp you will have to go elsewhere.
[disclosure – I’ve keynoted the two main WC conferences over the last year, and was heavily involved in programming for one of them]
I’ve come to this conclusion after attending a dozen or more RIMS shows over the years and working with several entities submitting conference sessions; almost all were rejected. This year, the Conference planners rejected a session entitled “Attacking the Opioid Crisis in Workers’ Compensation”. This “thanks but no thanks” led me to conclude RIMS just isn’t that interested in, focused on, or perhaps aware of issues relevant to workers’ comp. [more disclosure – I was one of the speakers proposed for the opioid session]
There is no issue more salient, timely, or significant than the opioid crisis, and exposing risk managers and industry executives to this issue would have helped them understand just how critical the situation is.
Reports from the major research institutions linking opioid use to increased medical costs, longer disability duration, and poor outcomes have certainly raised the profile of this issue; The Workers Compensation Institute had several sessions on the topic; the New York Times has seen fit to publish a major article on the impact of opioids on claimants and payers; the National Workers’ Comp and Disability Conference has an entire track on opioids; the American Insurance Association has made addressing the issue a top priority; NCOIL had a lengthy session on the issue at their last meeting and is doing the same at their next get-together.
That’s not to say RIMS doesn’t have some quality sessions – this year’s overview of health reform was well done- but in general WC sessions are few and tend to be basic.
That may well be intentional; RIMS’ audience tends to be less-work-comp-specific than the attendees at the other major conferences cited above.
That said, opioids’ impact on workers’ comp is a topic worthy of attention by the leading P&C industry conference.