Comcare claims manager of the year

In September 2012 Dean Stone, Manager, Workers Compensation and Governance, National Australia Bank, was awarded Claims Manager of the Year by Comcare. Customer Konektions spoke to Dean to understand what this award means to him.

The winners of the Comcare Work Health and Safety Awards were announced in September 2012. The awards recognise and reward excellence in workplace health and safety, rehabilitation and return to work achieved by individuals and organisations covered under the Comcare scheme.

Dean Stone was announced the winner of the Claims Manager of the Year category. Dean has nearly 20 years experience in workers’ compensation and rehabilitation and is the Manager of Workers Compensation and Governance for the National Australia Bank (NAB). He is also the President of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Licensees Association, and Deputy Chair of the National Council of Self Insurers.

Through experience, Dean learned a primary reason for people not returning to work was a lack of trust and faith in the workers’ compensation system. For the NAB, a key to overcoming this was the way it approached, managed and communicated with its injured workers. Dean aimed to build more trusting relationships with injured workers by simplifying the system and easing the burden for them.

How did you feel when you won this award?

To be recognised as Claims Manager of the Year was a real surprise to me. When I hear the great things that are happening in our industry I still can’t believe I won the award.

The thing I admire the most about the NAB is the respect we give to our injured and ill employees and the way we are able to manage them quickly and efficiently through our Early Intervention framework. It has taken the NAB and Konekt a long time to get this right, but now we are working in unison and our staff is supported no matter where they are in Australia. From the minute an incident form comes in, we are confident that one of our Injury Management team will be in contact with the injured worker, and that Konekt is there to support them.

If you could change one thing what would it be?

The Claims Manager of the Year award really is a team award and I am happy to recognise that I won this with the support of my team, my management and with our strategic partners. If any one of these teams were not operating to their highest efficiency an award like this would not be possible.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to go in the awards next year?

Go for it! If you have a new idea or see a gap in the market then develop it. Talk to those around you to get their input, but drive the solution forward. In the self-insured market, there are self-insurance associations with members who have immense industry experience, these people can provide fantastic advice and guidance. Involve your strategic partners (never service providers, they are much more than this) such as Konekt. Speak to your account manager or consultant, they may have a whole new dimension for you to consider.

I notice you call Konekt a Strategic Partner and not a service provider, can you explain the difference?

My rehab provider has to know my business, they have to know my corporate language and the business structure. I need them to get in and get the job done, without having to start from scratch every time we refer a matter. We have to work as a team, they identify barriers – we try to remove them, they identify issues with our injured employees – we try to resolve them. It’s our job to try to keep the path clear, it’s their job to keep us moving to resolution. If either of us don’t respect the partnership, we both lose.

You’ve retained Konekt now for a number of years, what makes the Konekt model appealing to you?

There are a number of things I like about Konekt. I like Konektiva (Konekt’s case management database), the fact that my staff can log in anytime and provide me with up-to-date case information in real time. I like the fact that the consultants are well trained and always professional to our injured employees, and tolerant of some of our more difficult supervisors. But I also like the fact that they take the time to train and educate our industry. A recent example being the National Self-Insurance Conference in Queensland where Konekt provided great speakers to educate our industry and discuss the emerging trends.

About Dean Stone

With almost 20 years in the workers’ compensation industry, Dean has worked for some of Australia’s biggest self-insured employers and insurance companies across most jurisdictions in Australia. His industry experience spans banking, finance, retail, government, logistics and telecommunications. He is well versed on the current issues in the Australian market and the challenges that the future may bring.

Dean currently holds three significant roles in the Workers Compensation market.

  • Manager of Workers Compensation and Governance for the National Australia Bank, a Self-Insurer in the Comcare scheme.
  • President of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Licensees Association (SRCLA), representing a number of Australia’s largest companies who self insure through Comcare (Federal Workers Compensation scheme).
  • Deputy Chair on the National Council of Self Insurers.
  • Advisory Board Member of the Self-Funded Employers Association (SFEA) in the United States of America.

Specialising in the containment of claims costs and the development of systems that reduce workers compensation premiums, Dean has achieved success in minimising disputes and reducing the overall cost of claims.

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