Reflecting on 2021, one heroic news story stood out for me more than any other.  The NBC Nightly Newsheadline read: Nebraska Teen Runner Helps Competitor Finish Race After He Collapsed, Giving Up His Own Qualifying Hopes.  A high school senior track star, Brandon Schutt, was competing to qualify for a state championship. However, partway through the race, Schutt realized he could not achieve that goal and slowed his pace. At the same time, pushing hard to beat his own personal best record, sophomore Blake Cerveny’s legs began to cramp.  Less than 100 meters from the finish line, Cerveny’s legs gave out.  As he collapsed, Schutt was at his side. Schutt raised Cerveny to his feet, offering physical support, and both runners crossed the finish line together.

While researching for this blog, I was surprised to find many similar stories in 2021. Runners in the New York City Marathon, a middle school in Georgia, the World Athletics Championships, and the Tokyo Olympics all helped fallen competitors cross the finish line.  When I searched back further, I found volumes of videos of runners helping competitors finish a race, even as far back as the 1956 Australian National Championships, when a runner helped a fallen competitor, then continued  on to win the race by a comfortable gap.

The sheer number of acts of kindness was inspiring, but I was also impressed by the consistency of response from those who helped a competitor.  When interviewed as to why they risked their own success by helping another, there was consistently some variation of the response: “Because it’s the right thing to do.”


Workers’ Compensation – Because It’s The Right Thing to Do

Those of us serving the Worker’s Compensation industry have a true privilege. Yes, it’s a business with financial objectives, project deadlines, and operational goals to achieve. However, we can’t lose sight that we serve an essential purpose: To help an injured worker return to work and life after a work accident.  Everything we do as Workers’ Compensation insurers, agents, software companies, and other providers can and should be viewed through the lens of providing needed support and assistance to the injured worker.  And ultimately, why do we do it? Because it’s the right thing to do.


Doing the Right Thing Takes Partnerships

With our focus on supporting injured workers and returning them to their livelihoods, I challenge all of us to take every advantage to do so with empathy and speed. A key way we can do this amidst the complex landscape of Workers’ Compensation is to establish key partnerships that offer complementary services to aid agents and insurers in their privileged mission.  The “Not Invented Here” or tendency to avoid solutions offered through partnerships must be abandoned.  It is only through key partnerships that we will be successful in best serving the injured worker.

Finding the Right Partnerships

So, which partnerships are the right ones?  Most assuredly, agents and insurance companies already have partnerships to aid in their privileged mission.  However, to truly serve the injured worker, these existing partnerships need to be extended to technology partnerships.  That includes Workers’ Compensation Technology partnerships providing:

  • Intelligent automation, supplementing operational production
  • E-signatures via text or email, enabling ease of business
  • Predictive analytics for pricing, fraud detection, and other operational advantages
  • Electronic payment that speed transactions
  • Document composition to ensure ease of exchange and accuracy of data
  • Artificial Intelligence that delivers insights to enhance decisioning
  • Automation to process simple transactions and enable focus on complex transactions
  • Consistent text, voice, and automated communications that enable interactions with clear communication
  • Core systems that are easy to deploy and contain deep Workers’ Compensation capabilities
  • Medical, payroll, and other critical data that supplement decisions in a way that improves outcomes

Establishing partnerships can be difficult for any individual agent or insurance company, and maintaining those partnerships requires additional effort. Fortunately, outstanding solution providers exist that provide robust eco-systems and partnerships that are either already integrated, or easily integrate-able. This is true even if you have difficult-to-access legacy architectures.  To fulfil their privileged mission, insurance companies and agents need to seek out these solution providers to rapidly expand their partner relationships.

The Final Word

Just like a runner coming to the aid of a fallen competitor, we need partners to appear alongside us and help us across the finish line together, even if those partners may first appear to be competitors.  Why? Because it’s the right thing to do to meet our privileged mission of helping injured workers back to work.

  • analytics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • partners
  • workers comp
  • workers' compensation
Shawn O'Rourke

Shawn O'Rourke Shawn O’Rourke Insurance Executive. 35 years serving the insurance industry through technology. 20 years of CIO leadership providing strategic and operational results in Workers Compensation and Commercial Insurance. Providing industry perspective and expertise to Sapiens and our current and prospective partners.