Next month, 1,300 CLM members and fellows will gather in San Antonio, Texas, to participate in 75 collaborative educational sessions and keynote presentations designed by industry professionals to help them gain the knowledge they need to be on the forefront of the industry. We spoke with Conference Chair Anne Blume—who is also partner at Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick and Pearson, LLP—to find out what the planning process is like, trends she saw in the selection process, and what attendees should bring with them.
When did you start planning for this year’s show?
Before last year’s show, and we started talking about 2014 just a few months ago, too. Just as the constituents of CLM and the legal landscape in claims and litigation management changes, the conference changes. The reason we start planning so early is this is when it’s all fresh and we know what worked and what didn’t. Changes, for the most part, are designed to create more of an opportunity for more people to participate in the conference.
What makes CLM’s annual conference so different?
The conference sessions are predominately roundtables. We use this format because it creates an opportunity for the members and fellows to collaborate and share their ideas. It’s not two days of “talking heads” or a bunch of presenters on stage with PowerPoint slides.
We do this because it allows many more people to participate in a meaningful way. In each roundtable, we require—to the extent possible and relevant—that various perspectives are represented. For instance, we don’t want four lawyers from outside law firms dominating a discussion. We want to hear from risk managers, general counsel, and insurance and claims representatives. It’s really about making sure that every aspect of the topic is represented and that various types of professionals have their say. Attendees definitely like this approach, and it makes our conference unique.
Additionally, we try really hard to keep the attendance to 50 percent CLM members, 50 percent CLM fellows. We could modify those ratios to allow more members, which would result in more income, but that is not what CLM is about. We are about collaboration and inclusion. It’s important to respect and maintain those ratios, even though member registration spots sell out in a matter of days every year.
What trends became evident during the roundtable selection process?
Many topics stay the same each year, but new topics crop up. For instance, the liability issues related to football helmets was completely new.
We also had several submissions on the “greening” of America. What does it mean and what are the legal impacts for the insurance industry both for practitioners and underwriting and claims? Is it inflating the costs of claims? That is a topic being discussed this year.
Technology trends are always a staple, too. One roundtable will be discussing how technological advances, including online settlement mechanisms, are helping resolve claims at an earlier stage and reducing legal spend. It’s not a good fit for all cases, but it’s something brand new and potentially helpful in the claims industry.
There are several “relationship” type roundtables, too, covering topics like how does a client help a lawyer help them? Roundtables that address social media concerns both in terms of privacy issues and liability issues also are making an appearance.
There is a premier session each morning. Can you give us a preview?
The first on Thursday, April 11, is a conversation with senior executives. It’s designed to highlight what the developments in the industry have been over the last year and what industry leaders expect will occur over the next year. The panelists are senior level and are very well-versed on the issues. They know what has been tried, what worked and what didn’t, and what needs to be changed to make it work.
The second premier session on Friday morning, April 12, is a leadership session. It will discuss how young people develop leadership roles in an organization and in the industry. That’s critical as mid-level and senior executives start to get older. What does the next generation look like and how can we help make them successful? Those questions and others will be discussed.
What should attendees bring with them?
I think it’s really important that all attendees bring their thoughts and ideas and the notion that they have a lot to give and say that can help educate others. You can certainly come in and just listen, but the success of the conference and our organization depends on participation.
Premier Session Previews
Each morning of the conference, attendees will kick off the day with a premier session. Here’s what Blume has planned for them:
Premier Session 1: What’s New in Claims and Litigation Management: A Conversation with Senior Executives
Dorothy Capers, U.S. Foodservice
Michael Daly, XL Specialty Insurance Company
Krista Glenn, ACE
Max Koonce, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
John McGann, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Preston McGowan, Chubb
This innovative session of senior executives will showcase recent industry developments to achieve the most effective results. In this era of informatics, technological advances and demands to do more with less, staying current with industry trends is critical. This dynamic panel will address what has worked, what hasn’t, and the reasons why. Attendees will learn what is on the horizon for the claims and litigation management professions.
Premier Session 2: Leading by Example, Learning from Experience: Pathways to Dynamic Leadership
Marcus Banks, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation
Joseph Hanna, Goldberg Segalla LLP
LoriAnn Lowery-Biggers, Navigators
Jane Tutoki, AIG
In this session, a panel of top-level executives from both the insurance and corporate worlds will share their experiences and discuss what it takes to make a dynamic and lasting impact as a leader. It will explore the varied pathways panelists took to reach the highest levels of leadership, along with addressing topics such as effectively leading teams through the toughest and most controversial challenges, leveraging the inclusion of diverse individuals and viewpoints to benefit the entire organization, and successfully recruiting the leaders of tomorrow. Seasoned pros and new leaders alike will learn practical tips and best practices for attaining—and maintaining—their position as a key player and driver of the company’s culture and vision.