The WCI conference is quickly approaching, and this year we are excited to announce that our very own Frances Ford will be moderating a panel discussion with three other industry insiders about the “Emerging Trends in Return-to-Work” on Tuesday, August 8.

To gear up for this event, we wanted to take this opportunity to let the audience get to know the panelists a little better. First, we spoke with Patricia Rodriguez, Return-to-Work Manager at Crum & Forster Insurance. Crum & Forster provides nationwide specialty and standard commercial insurance.

Patricia leads a team of Return-to-Work Specialists who are dedicated to working directly with the claims team to provide an outlet for injured workers to get back to work quickly and safely.

In order to do so, in 2013, they teamed up with ReEmployAbility and created a charity program where the injured workers are placed with not profit organizations after they are released to light or modified duty from their doctor.

Though Crum & Forster has only worked with ReEmployAbilty for the past four years, Patricia has utilized the program for over six (over two of those years with a previous employer). She explained, “When I came to Crum & Forster, they did not have a Return-to-Work program. Once there, the Return-to-Work program was implemented and it has been successful ever since.  Our Return-to-Work program has been a win-win for everyone involved.”

Q & A with Patricia

We recently spoke to Patricia about her expectations about the conference and what she hopes the audience will take away the most from the panel discussion.

Q: WCI is approaching, is this your first time attending?
Yes, it is. I have been to other conferences, and I expect it to be similar where they have different workshops and a variety of industry leaders speaking. Return-to-Work is a very interesting topic to me, so I am looking forward to catching any workshops related to that.

Q: You will be joining a panel discussion about the Emerging Trends in Return-to-Work; what are you hoping to convey during this panel?
We work closely with employers to try to help them find new ways to get injured workers back to work quickly. One of the most challenging things for employers is finding innovative ways to do that. The ideal solution is for the employer to accommodate any restrictions that the injured worker may have, but we find that 75% of the time, that is not possible. That is why we teamed up with ReEmployAbility. This is the innovative solution. It is a very creative way to get [the injured workers] back to work. The program has been very successful for our policyholders by reducing overall workers comp costs.  At the same time, proving needed help to the various charities in the community.

Q: In your position, what trends are you currently seeing in the RTW industry?
The most innovative Return-to-Work trend I have seen is implementing a charity program. I am hoping to convey the importance of having a program like ReEmployAbility set in place. It is a pretty creative way to get injured workers back to work. It is not uncommon for the injured worker to become complacent staying at home. This is the perfect program to get them in a back to work mind set. I haven’t seen anything else that compares.

Are you going to be at WCI this year?

Make sure you catch Patricia, Frances, Nathan Hughes, Director of Risk Management at Safelite Group, and Jodie Massingill, Senior Manager of Casualty Claims at Sysco Corporation as they discuss “Emerging Trends in Return-to-Work” at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8 in Grand Ballroom 8B.