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AASCIF – report from the annual conference

If you’re going to have a conference in Austin Texas in July, you’d best make sure there are lots of things to do, excellent speakers, and a great staff.

Texas Mutual, host of this year’s AASCIF annual conference, got it done.

Unlike many WC industry conferences, AASCIF devotes much of the time to social/networking events. The most-common complaint about most conferences, that there’s not enough time to just talk with others in the industry, wasn’t an issue in Austin.

The speakers were mostly not workers’ comp focused, instead providing insights into leadership, communications, management, and marketing. (I was one of the only work comp speakers, thanks to the folks at Claim-Maps for sponsoring my talk) And therein lies a message for conference planners, those considering attending conferences, and the work comp world in general; There’s a great big world out there; show it to us.

One of the best speakers I’ve ever watched/experienced/heard is Erik Qualman, he of Socialnomics fame.  While most workers’ comp payers look at social media only as a way to find pictures of claimants doing things they say they can’t, Qualman got many thinking of what they’re missing by not fully engaging with social media.

The social-media-as-fraud-detector is tip-of-the-iceberg stuff; social media is becoming the dominant means of communicating with customers, prospects, influencers, and media, supplanting traditional channels or perhaps more accurately, supplementing and leveraging them.

As most insurers and suppliers are run by us old guys, that shouldn’t be surprising; however a VERY few companies have embraced social media for other, more positive reasons, and they are going to reap huge rewards.

A couple examples…(the fact that there aren’t dozens tells us something…)

Marsh – smart enough to steal Mark Walls and the 10,000+ LinkedIn folks on his Work Comp Analysis Group from Safety National, they got themselves a huge footprint, a great brand, and a positive image just by hiring Mark.  Kudos to SN for allowing Mark to build the group; that said they really didn’t take advantage of what he’d done, and not seeing the potential benefit for their brand, their company, and their business was a huge miss.

State Fund of Minnesota’s Mike Happe was an early adopter of Twitter, has several hundred followers, and gives his employer a presence they otherwise wouldn’t have. Mike’s involved in about a dozen groups on LinkedIn, and he’s one of the very, very few insurance execs with a Twitter.

Bob WIlson, Peter Rousmaniere, and Jody Thompson did a great survey of social media in workers’ comp earlier this year; the detailed report is available here. Get it, read it, and get going.

What does this mean for you?

For anyone who thinks this isn’t worth doing, you may want to consider what you’re reading right now, how you learned about this blog, and how the author ended up speaking at AASCIF…

Because your competitors are.

3 thoughts on “AASCIF – report from the annual conference”

  1. This is an excellent review and it sure makes me wish I could have attended the conference in Austin! I’m a regular reader and appreciate what you’re doing with this blog. Keep up the great work!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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