Presenters took a critical look at the risk management landscape in this session at the RIMS 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition to anticipate what issues may be on the horizon.
- David North, President & CEO, Sedgwick, Inc.
- Michael Fenlon, Sr. Director, Corporate Risk Management, United Parcel Service
- David Stills, VP, Risk Management, Walmart Stores, Inc.
Workers’ compensation has been in flux, but it’s still front of mind. There’s a lot of talk about alternatives and it’s good how this is sparking discussion in the industry. If you think back at what the system was created to do, one could wonder if we’ve lost sight of that. Are we still focused on outcomes or just costs?
Federalization of workers’ compensation has also been on the radar. It is healthy to have some standardization, but in the panel’s opinion, federalization would raise costs significantly. By and large, the system is working. We should work with what we have and make sure that all stakeholders are focused on optimal outcomes for the injured worker. The grand bargain is not obsolete.
The injured worker tends to get forgotten. We need to put the focus back on this injured worker and return their quality of life. Lost time conversation and lost time days are critically important analytics. If you can get the injured worker back to work, even with restrictive duty, you can significantly increase a positive outcome for that worker.
The digital economy and the technology space is also a major emerging risk. If you look at the interconnectivity and totality of it, you’ll see its potential impact. For instance, driverless cars are on the horizon. Drones will be used in commercial use. Robotics will continue to replace workers. Cyber could be the largest challenge for this industry and we need to act fast. 10 years from now, risk managers will be spending less time on workers’ compensation and more time on cyber risks.
The efficiency gains that can be made through automation can be astronomical, but so can the effects of systems failure. The connections that we have are so fast that an attack on those can cause more damage than any traditional weapon. And insurance is not necessarily the answer.
Healthcare affects so much of what risk managers do. It’s important to be conscious of how it works. Washington DC is not going to solve the problem, but they very possibly could provide the opportunity for us to get engaged and find solutions.
Just like workers’ compensation, the focus in healthcare needs to be placed back on the patient. The system is currently difficult to navigate through and the time you have to make hard healthcare decisions is among the hardest time in that person’s life. Some standardization is needed, but not federalization.