I attended the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) Workers’ Comp Seminar in Austin, Texas earlier this week and caught up with several workers’ comp experts there. Grab your favorite beverage and take a short break with me and see what they had to say…

Brian Allen. Twitter @thepeoplesfix It was great to see Brian in Austin…he always brings a unique perspective. Here are his top takeaways from the seminar…

1 – Governor Abbott made a great choice in Cassie Brown to fill the Commissioner spot. Ms. Brown demonstrated a good understanding of the political dynamics of the workers’ compensation system. She also had the honesty and humility to admit to what she doesn’t know but shows a strong appetite to quickly learn the system. Commissioner Brown was open and will maintain the accessibility we enjoyed with previous Commissioners.

2 – The Texas workers’ compensation system is in good shape. It doesn’t sound like there will be much tinkering by the legislature this coming session.

3 – There needs to be a better balance in the designated doctor pool. Some consideration needs to be given to understand what needs to be done to recruit and retain more medical doctors in the system.

When I asked Brian what the highlight of his summer was, he said, “The big deal of my summer was beating prostate cancer.” Well that’s great news Brian! Thank you for sharing your personal and triumphant news.

Melissa Steger. I met Melissa, with the UT System, a couple of years ago at another ICT seminar. She is very knowledgeable and I have invited her to speak on several WorkCompCentral sessions. Here is what Melissa had to say about ICT’s seminar…

As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” but the Texas WCI industry is a close group of people full of southern hospitality. I always enjoy the opportunity to hear the different perspectives from the experts. ICT never fails to offer one of the best chances to do just that. I thoroughly enjoyed the agenda and model by which the information was given. Some of my favorites were the up close and personal conversations between Albert Betts and Commissioner Cassie Brown; the always thought-provoking panel discussions guided by Stuart Colburn; and Mark Pew who brought his “magic 8 ball” and gave us a glimpse into 2030. There are some new risks on our horizon. So, it’s time to put on our dancing shoes and get ready to juke and jig. Overall, the ICT conference kept me on the edge of my seat and left me wanting more.

With the end of the fiscal year approaching, my summer was spent reflecting on the performance of our workers’ compensation program at UT System. What things went well, what things would I have done differently, and where do we want to take the program in the coming year? As a leader, I also evaluated my performance, brushed up on my goals, and told myself to “keep on keeping on.” I did take some time to have fun, too. I had the best staycation ever. I spent quality time with my husband, my parents, and some of my very best friends. I closed the summer off with our annual fishing trip where we spent several days reeling in a bunch of bull redfish.

Stuart Colburn. Stuart is a well-known defense attorney in Austin. He’s also an author (co-author of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Handbook) speaker and self-proclaimed foodie and beach bum (we have a lot in common!) Here are Stuart’s thoughts on the ICT Seminar…

The ICT WC seminar showed why it is the preeminent conference for updates on Texas workers’ compensation law. The conference was the first opportunity for us to meet the new commissioner and hear about her vision for the future. And who would not love to hear Mark Pew challenging the audience on what workers’ compensation might look like in 2030. Many attendees told me they never seriously considered what the profound changes caused by the technology platforms could bring or how they might disrupt the daily life of those that administer the workers’ compensation system.

Stuart claims that he spent the summer re-writing significant portions of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Handbook published by Lexis and that he lives a very boring life. While that may be true, I also heard (from a little birdie) that Stuart spent at least some of his time at some popular coastal locations this summer with his wife riding bicycles, drinking wine, getting caught in the rain and enjoying dinners with good friends. Some of these places may have included Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Pensacola, Florida. I’d be willing to bet money there’s more…

Yvonne Guibert. Twitter @buzzystreet I enjoyed the ICT WC Seminar very much and had fun mingling with attendees during the day. I was there on behalf of WorkCompCentral — they co-sponsored the happy hour following the event. Many thanks to Steve Nichols with ICT and Rob Fields of myMatrixx for all their support since I started representing WCC in Texas.

The day after the seminar, on Tuesday, Sept 11, I enjoyed breakfast and conversation with Steve Tipton and Bobby Stokes from law firm Flahive, Ogden & Latson at a local Austin institution called Cisco’s Restaurant. I enjoyed visiting with Steve and Bobby, then Bobby took me on a tour of the Texas State Cemetery just two blocks from Cisco’s. It was an appropriate way to spend the morning. There are many Governors, Senators, Legislators, Congressmen, Judges and other legendary individuals buried in the cemetery along with a beautiful 9/11 memorial honoring the Texans (and all others) who perished on September 11, 2001.

Later I had lunch with Albert Betts from ICT and he introduced me to Perla’s on S. Congress. I am not a big seafood fan, but I have to say, I ordered the Shrimp Po’Boy and it was delicious! If you’ve never been to Austin, when you visit, be sure to make time for S. Congress Ave. It is an eclectic collection of trendy boutiques, indie restaurants, live music venues and other hip spots that are uniquely Austin. As you travel down S. Congress from downtown, you can look back (North) and see a picture perfect view of the Capitol building.

So it was an eventful and very productive trip to Austin. I even bumped into Mark Pew again at the airport before we caught our respective flights. We had a nice chat.

What are your thoughts on workers’ compensation? I’d love to hear them. Send me a message here on Linked In.

#ThursdayThoughts #workerscomp #texasworkcomp #wceducation