NCCI CEO Bill Donnell was kind enough to grant me an interview a few days before his talk at this year’s AIS…I was unable to attend due to another commitment (the great folks at the Workers’ Compensation Association of New Mexico invited me to their annual meeting)
Here’s my interview with Bill.
MCM – What is the major focus of NCCI’s Annual Issues Symposium this year?
Donnell – Eighteen months into this role, I’ve been getting feedback from industry stakeholders and thinking about the industry. Our approach is the line of business has been around 100 years, and survived that long because we’ve adapted. If we adapt, will probably survive into the future, if we don’t we’ll become irrelevant.
MCM – Is WC relevant today?
Donnell – We have a financially stable, healthy system, covering north of 90% of the workforce. The industry and system has a pretty good history of getting injured workers back to work and our focus is on that, and workplaces are safer than they were a long time ago…[we have] a lot to be proud of.
Another component is the whole issue of technological disruption. [The economy has] shifted from agriculture to manufacturing to service and now service is vulnerable. This provides perspective as it is kind of scary, but look what’s happened over time; 70 years ago we would have been saying the same thing. The issues are always the same, but things will come faster than they have before…change will happen but this time it will be faster.
MCM – with the rise of automation, autonomous vehicles, the gig economy, increased robotics and artificial intelligence, what could we see in the future? What we need to do to be relevant in years ahead?
Donnell -Workers’ comp could be a high risk business only with repetitive injuries [from decline in employment in industries with that risk] gone, it would focus on high hazard risks, there would be a smaller but higher risk pool and smaller overall business.
With the whole issue of industry evolution, we have to evolve, we need to move the ball forward. [We need to] talk about the industry’s past success and show where we’ve adapted to change…[the] good news is that we’ve done this before. We’ll talk about examples of how the industry has evolved…
Thanks to NCCI’s communications chief Dean Dimke for setting this up.