Each year we gather internally to evaluate which conferences are the most valuable for Shearwater to attend. As a service provider (vendor) in the Workers’ Comp industry for relatively all managed care services, we have 3 goals for conferences:

1) Connect with existing clients to ensure strong relationships

2) Develop new relationships that hopefully develop into new partnerships

3) Learn as much as we can about where the industry is going in terms of new innovations, regulations, etc.

This year we made the decision to attend WCRI in lieu of some larger conferences such as RIMS. RIMS has been on the Shearwater conference schedule since we launched CPO® solutions for Workers’ Comp in 2012. RIMS definitely has its pros in that it’s a large conference with high attendance, but we haven’t necessarily advanced new relationships; nor have we learned a lot about our niche industry. It’s also quite difficult to schedule meetings because many of our clients are attempting to do the same thing.

WCRI was in many ways a breath of fresh air because it wasn’t an exhibit hall-focused conference. It was an intimate setting of top executives and thought leaders who are there to learn from the speakers and network with each other.

As a “vendor” it was enlightening to see this group of professionals so focused on how their organizations could help change the industry for the better. I spoke to at least 3 people who labeled themselves “industry nerds” because of their interest in such an event.

We not only met executives from the market but learned from each other about the trends and how Shearwater can play an integral role in affecting positive change. I think that for Shearwater to better serve its clients and develop solutions that bring value to the market, this conference is a no-brainer. If this is the value you seek out of a conference then we’d recommend WCRI in the future.

-Allan Schroeder