ICT To Host 2009 Workers' Compensation Conference

Austin, TX (CompNewsNetwork) - The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) will explore the state of the Texas workers' compensation system during its 2009 Workers Compensation Conference – The Workers' Comp Express Continues down the Track in Austin, Texas on August 26, 2009.  The full-day conference will be held at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark.
September 1, 2009, will mark the fourth anniversary of the effective date of most of the provisions of House Bill (HB) 7 – the workers' compensation legislation authored by Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) that ushered in sweeping reforms to the Texas workers' compensation system.  Many system stakeholders in the Lone Star state are asking, “What has changed?  Has the Texas system improved since the passage of HB 7?”
Commissioner of Workers' Compensation Rod Bordelon will kick off the conference by sharing his thoughts and vision for the future on the state of the Texas system.

Bordelon will be followed by Texas' first full-time workers' compensation commissioner, Albert Betts.  Betts, who is a partner at the law firm of Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons and serves as ICT's general counsel, will provide a look at the politics behind the legislation that was considered by the 81st Texas Legislature.  He will also provide an overview of the on-going Sunset Review of the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) and Office of Injured Employee Counsel.

The morning session will also feature David DePaolo, CEO, President, and Editor-in-Chief of WorkCompCentral, who will discuss national developments impacting the Texas workers' compensation system.  DePaolo will share his thoughts on the possible impact of national healthcare reform efforts on workers' compensation systems around the nation.

DePaolo will be followed by Joe Anderson, a founding partner of the Austin-based law firm of Burns, Anderson, Jury & Brenner, who will provide an update on DWC's new enforcement process.  Appropriately titled There is a New Sheriff in Town, the presentation will provide conference attendees their first look at the new enforcement process and initiatives of the state's workers' compensation regulatory agency.

Lunch will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Stuart Colburn of the law firm of Downs Stanford.  

The panel will feature Rep. Helen Giddings (D-De Soto); Rick Levy, Legal Director for the Texas AFL-CIO; Cathy DeWitt of the Texas Association of Business; Lee Ann Alexander of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company; and Brian White, the Deputy Injured Employee Counsel.  The panel will discuss issues ranging from the Texas Supreme Court's Entergy decision and possible legislative efforts during the 82nd Texas Legislature, the state of 
the Texas workers' compensation system as viewed by each panelist, the DWC's and OIEC's Sunset Review and unresolved issues that may be the basis of legislation during the next session of the legislature.

The conference will conclude with presentations by Julie Shank, R.N., president of J Shank Consulting, who will provide an update on the delivery of medical benefits in the Texas workers' compensation system and Austin attorney John D. Pringle, who will discuss a recent trend involving the filing of a greater number of workers' compensation bad faith lawsuits in Texas courts.

This event is expected to be approved for continuing education credit hours for adjusters and insurance agents as well as continuing legal education (CLE) hours for attorneys.  ICT has also requested approval of CLE hours from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

The Insurance Council of Texas is the largest state insurance trade association in the country consisting of approximately 500 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas.

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