Hinshaw to Present Fourth Biennial Definitive Disability Conference

October 17 – 18, 2019 

Boston Marriott Long Wharf
296 State Street
Boston, MA 02109

Please join us for the fourth biennial Definitive Disability Conference (DDC) to be held in Boston, October 17 – 18, 2019. DDC is the leading conference for legal or claims professionals who operate in the group and individual disability industries. This year's conference will cover a broad array of issues such as claims involving mental health and substance abuse, data science in claims management, the opioid crisis in chronic pain management, state regulations governing disability insurance operations, case law updates on ERISA disability…and so much more.

Who should attend?

DDC is designed for in-house disability insurance company counsel, experienced claim personnel, and defense counsel who work in the group and individual disability industries. If you are involved in the evaluation or litigation of disability claims, including individual disability income and ERISA-governed long-term disability policies, this conference is a must-attend event.

Registration & Fees

Register Today!

Registration Fees:

(on or after July 20, 2019)
In-House Legal Counsel
(at insurance companies and TPAs)
Insurance Company $425

All Other Delegates

(including outside defense counsel)


The DDC 4 is an insurance industry-exclusive event. As such, the conference is only open to in-house counsel, management, claims and other industry-related personnel, including outside defense counsel. No plaintiffs' counsel and no bad faith expert witnesses may attend. The DDC 4 organizers and Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP reserve the right to decline registrations.

Refund Policy

The registration fee is fully refundable for cancellations received on or before Friday, September 13, 2019. Cancellations received from September 14, 2019 through September 27, 2019 will be refunded, less a $75 processing fee. Cancellations received after September 27, 2019 will not receive a refund. All cancellations and requests for refunds must be made in writing by e-mail to All refunds will be mailed within four weeks after the final date of the conference. Substitutions may be made at any time without charge, but must be submitted in writing to

Hotel Information

Boston Marriott Long Wharf
296 State Street
Boston, MA 02109

The deadline to make a hotel reservation at our discounted group rate has passed. Please contact the hotel at 617-227-0800 or go online to make a reservation at the prevailing rates.


Click here to access the agenda.

       DDC Brochure

Keynote Speaker

John Garrett is a nationally recognized corporate speaker, comedian and emcee who draws on his condition as a recovering Big Four CPA to deliver messages that hit home with corporate audiences. This professional member of the National Speakers Association is on a mission to strengthen teams.

No matter where you are in your career, it's important to differentiate yourself to achieve your goals. The future professional doesn't define expertise simply in college degrees and certifications. They have passions outside of work that enhance their ability to develop stronger levels of trust with colleagues and clients. Through hilarious stories and extensive research, John encourages everyone to share their passions because they are the very heart of your organization's culture.

Many people tend to look at corporate team members like they look at apples: they're all the same. They're all boring, red apples. If you put them all together then you won't be able to tell one from another. John's mission is to encourage your team members, and therefore your organization, to become engaged and to stand out—by giving them permission to have the confidence to be a green apple in the bin of "boring" red apples. Shatter the stereotype.


Bryan Bolton
Chairman, Funk & Bolton, P.A.

Bryan D. Bolton is chairman of the Baltimore based law firm Funk & Bolton, P.A. He frequently speaks on life, health and disability insurance, and ERISA matters. He regularly represents life, health, and disability insurers, self-funded plans, managed care companies, plan sponsors, and trustees. Mr. Bolton's extensive appellate experience includes serving as amicus counsel before the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Bolton is a member of the Maryland and Pennsylvania bars. He is included in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Maryland Super Lawyers and the Best Lawyers in America for over ten years.

Ian Bridgman 
Executive Director, The Claim Lab

Ian has spent many years working in data analytics, now focusing on the analysis of claims data and unearthing different mechanisms to improve claim duration, reducing absence, and finding the best path to helping people return to work. Ian has worked on many disability claims projects, with insurers in the US, Canada and Australia. Now, as the founder of The Claim Lab, he leads a team of experts in the analysis of claims for insurance companies and providing tools to help them collect better data.

Ian has a degree in Business Management from the University of West London and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Science from Middlesex University in London. He now lives in Sherborn, MA. When he doesn't have his head in a database, he is under the 'bonnet' of a 1960s British sportscar.

Kari Briscoe
Director, Claims Consultant, Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)

Kari Briscoe is Director of Claim Consulting for Reinsurance Group of America (RGA). Kari provides internal claim risk management and external value added services to RGA's group LTD customers in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining RGA, Kari was an Appeals Case Manager for several years with a group disability insurer managing appealed LTD claims and litigated claims. Kari also has significant experience as a LTD Social Security Case Manager and was a paralegal for several private law firms.  She has more than 25 years of industry experience.

Deb Conner
Life and Disability Consultant

Deb Conner worked in the insurance industry for in excess of 35 years before retiring from Sun Life as VP, Life and Disability Claims in September of 2018. Throughout her career she worked in different roles including as a claim examiner, contract and compliance analyst, in-house counsel as well as a number of leadership roles. Her responsibilities spanned life, health (medical and stop-loss) and disability products. She has experience in Six Sigma methodology, sale of a business, two acquisitions with integration work, coaching and team development, managing litigation and corporate witness testimony and organizational design.

In addition to pursuing her passions for travel, golf and biking, Ms. Conner now provides consulting services with a focus on litigation support including expert witness testimony; training and organizational development; claims and product design. Ms. Conner has a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. from Western New England University. She is admitted to the practice of law in Connecticut.

Steven P. Del Mauro
Senior Partner, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP

Mr. Del Mauro has extensive experience in civil litigation before all state and federal courts, concentrating in the representation of life, disability and long-term care insurers with respect to claims for benefits under individual and group policies of insurance, market conduct practices litigation and insurance fraud. He is an active member in the Health and Disability Insurance law and Life Insurance law Committees of the American Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute Committee on ERISA, Life, Health and Disability, the International Claim Association, the Association of Life Insurance Counsel and is an appointed member of Historical Society of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Rick Denman
Assistant Vice President – Claims, Munich American Reassurance Company

Rick has been at Munich Re for the past ten years following 28 years of claims experience at major insurance carriers. His career has been predominantly involved with disability claim management. He has held positions ranging from claim examiner to officer level and has managed multiple claim teams and offices. Rick serves on various industry committees and is a frequent presenter at industry conferences.

Dawn DiBiase
Assistant Vice President, Claims, Disability RMS

Dawn DiBiase, AVP, Claims at Disability RMS has more than 25 years of experience in group disability insurance. As an Assistant Vice President of claims, she is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the Disability RMS Claims organization, providing clients with superior claims service and risk management expertise. Prior to joining Disability RMS in late 2000, Dawn held a variety of claims management positions with UNUM. She is a frequent speaker on disability insurance and reinsurance offerings. Dawn earned her Bachelor's degree in Dental Hygiene and Business Management from the University of New England. She is on the Executive Committee for the New England Claims Association. Dawn holds all required Third Party Administrator state licenses.

Christopher Doherty, Esq.
Partner, Doherty, Cella, Keane & Associates, LLP

Chris Doherty has been working in the Social Security arena since 1981, starting his career with the Social Security Administration, specializing in dealing with disability claims. He began practicing law in this exclusive area in 1987 and along with his partners founded Doherty, Cella, Keane LLP in 1995. Doherty, Cella, Keane LLP is a Law Firm that works with the insurance industry and employers  representing claimants nationally for Social Security disability benefits and providing electronic overpayment repayment services. Chris is a frequent lecturer and renowned subject matter expert on Social Security Administrative Law and Insurance Law. He is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR), the Disability Management Employer Coalition, The International Claim Association, the Disability Management Employer Coalition and the New England Claims Association. Chris practices out of Massachusetts and is a graduate of Tufts University and Suffolk University Law School.

Adam Formus
2nd V.P. Counsel, Litigation Department, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Adam E. Formus has 25 years of industry experience, and principal accountabilities include providing strategic and effective litigation management involving Individual and Group Disability products, Individual and Group Life Insurance products, Human Resource issues, Class Actions and Medicaid contract provider disputes. Adam also provides advice and counsel for a variety of pre-litigated matters and business issues including privacy, product development, reinsurance matters, customer disputes and compliance. Adam earned his B.A. in Economics, cum laude, from UConn in 1991 and a M.A. from UConn in Economics in 1996. He obtained his law degree from Western New England University in 1997. Adam also serves as co-chair of the ICA Law Committee and has presented frequently as various industry conferences throughout his career.

Theodore Glockner
2nd V.P. and Chief Compliance Officer, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Theodore Glockner joined Guardian in 2005 after ten years in private practice where he focused on the defense of life, health and disability cases. Upon joining Guardian, Ted devoted much of his practice to handling individual DI and ERISA covered cases. He was heavily involved in the industry effort to oppose the recent amendments to the DOL claims handling regulations, and was part of the ACLI delegation that met with Department of Labor in 2016. In 2018, Ted was asked to serve as Interim Chief Compliance Officer for Guardian's Commercial and Government Markets ("CGM") division. In his current role, he oversees or supports compliance for several corporate initiatives and functions for CGM including: records management; group claims and ERISA issues; product; state filing; E-Commerce; and the Direct to Consumer product line. He received Guardian's CEO award in 2013. He earned his BA in U.S. History from the University of Vermont in 1989; and his J.D. from Western New England University in 1995.

Victoria L. Gorokhovich
Senior Managing Counsel, Cigna Legal 

Victoria Lindel Gorokhovich leads a team of attorneys who manage litigation for Cigna's Group Insurance business, including litigation relating to disability, life, and AD&D claims. She also has responsibility for the company's external employment disputes and litigation, and manages a wide variety of class action and single plaintiff litigation, including complex ERISA litigation. In addition to her litigation responsibilities, Ms. Gorokhovich provides management, Human Resources and Employee Relations advice, training and strategic guidance regarding all manner of employment law matters. Prior to joining Cigna in 2011, Ms. Gorokhovich was an associate at the law firms of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Ms. Gorokhovich received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, Order of the Coif.

Cliff Hendler
Mediator, ADR Chambers Inc.

Cliff Hendler is one of North America's foremost commercial mediators. Since 1989, he has been retained in excess of 4500 matters and is regarded as an individual who is able to assist in the resolution of the most difficult and hotly debated cases. His primary practice areas are matters relate to professional negligence, personal injury, sexual assault/abuse, insurance litigation, class actions, and defamation.

John Hoffman, CPA, CFF, CITP
Partner, Nawrocki Smith LLP CPA

John Hoffman is a graduate of Hofstra University and joined the firm of Nawrocki Smith LLP in 1995. He is a partner of the firm leading up the Insurance Claims Consulting Group. He has extensive experience in providing forensic accounting, insurance consulting services, litigation support and risk management services. He has been recognized as an expert witness in disability related matters in both federal and state courts.

Jason Hollis
Claim Director, Principal Financial Group

A native of Connecticut, Jason graduated from Bryant College in 1997 with a dual concentration in Accounting and Economics. Following a year at MassMutual, he entered the world of public accounting where he became both a CPA and CFE. In 2005, now living in Iowa, Jason went to work for Principal Financial Group as the financial analyst reviewing both Individual and Group Disability claims. In 2017, he became the Individual Disability claims director for Principal, a position he continues to hold.

Frederick Kadushin, Ph.D., ABN
Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist, Diplomate American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, Fellow American College of Professional Neuropsychology, Fellow National Academy of Neuropsychology; Neuropsychological Consultant, Disability Management Services, Inc.

Dr. Kadushin is a board-certified neuropsychologist with over 40 years of clinical experience (i.e., working in a variety of diagnostic and rehabilitation settings). He has diagnosed and treated a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders including traumatic brain injuries, toxic exposures, chronic fatigue syndrome, cerebrovascular accidents, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Kadushin has considerable forensic experience (e.g., disability, personal injury, and competency). In addition to his extensive experience in personal injury, over the past 15 years, he has gained a great deal of experience in group and individual disability (i.e., evaluating claimants, doing peer reviews and IMEs and working as an internal consultant to insurance companies).

Dr. Kadushin has been deposed many times, testified as an expert witness in State and Federal courts, and presented at numerous professional conferences. He has taught at several Universities and also served on the examination committee for the neuropsychological certification board (American Board of Professional Neuropsychology).

Steve Lehner
Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Steve Lehner represents insurers, large corporations, and plan fiduciaries in a wide array of employee benefits litigation. His practice focuses on life, health and disability actions in both ERISA and non-ERISA contexts. With over 750 cases litigated in federal court, Mr. Lehner provides specialized strategic direction to his clients in the defense of claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and disclosure claims. He handles cases in all Florida Federal districts and throughout Florida state courts.

Barbara Mountain
National Director of Business Development, Doherty, Cella, Keane & Associates, LLP

Barbara Mountain is the National Director of Business Development at Doherty, Cella, Keane LLP, a law firm dedicated to Social Security disability. Doherty, Cella, Keane LLP has been working with the insurance industry and employers representing claimants for Social Security benefits and providing electronic overpayment repayment services since its inception in 1995. Barbara has over 24 years of disability claims and Social Security Disability experience. Barbara began her career with the Social Security Administration where she worked for seven years as a Social Insurance Specialist with expertise in Social Security law and Supplemental Security Income law. She later moved to the Group Market Insurance Industry where she created and managed the Social Security Advocacy Program for a large US carrier. Barbara is a highly experienced public speaker and she continues to provide Social Security trainings, presentations and Social Security program consultation for the Insurance Industry.

Lisa A. Newell
Vice President, Claim Operations, Disability Management Services, Inc.

Lisa Newell has over 30 years of experience in the evaluation and management of disability insurance claims. Lisa's current responsibilities include overseeing disability income, short term major medical, and long term care claim operations for several DMS clients, as well as maintaining and enhancing client relationships, consulting, training, and project management support.

Lisa is a cum laude graduate of Smith College in Northampton, MA. She is also a licensed Independent Insurance Adjuster in the State of New York, a Fellow of the Life Management Institute, and Associate Life and Health Claims.

Daniel Ryan
Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Daniel Ryan has a diverse commercial litigation practice. He is recognized and distinguished for his strategic ability to successfully and aggressively resolve business disputes, particularly in matters tried in federal courts and through arbitration. His technical background includes a unique combination of capabilities in class action lawsuits, health care litigation, employee benefits litigation, consumer fraud, corporate disputes, employment discrimination, IT software implementation disputes, securities fraud, and corporate dissolutions.

Annie Santos
Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Annie Santos has extensive experience litigating employee benefit plan disputes in both ERISA and non-ERISA matters. She defends insurers, third-party administrators, and plan fiduciaries in state and federal court matters alleging improper plan administration and management. Additionally, she represents claim administrators and plan fiduciaries in matters challenging the denial of disability, life, health, and pension benefits.

Annie also devotes part of her practice to general business litigation and labor and employment matters. She represents and guides businesses, their owners, and human resource professionals in business disputes and transactions, employment-related matters, the development of organizational documents, and provides counsel in contract and real estate matters. She provides clients with advice on everyday matters, and if necessary, protects their interests in litigation.

Mark Schmidtke
Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Mr. Schmidtke is a nationally recognized employee benefits litigator who has represented employers, insurers, administrators, and fiduciaries in matters pending in every state in the U.S. during his 38-year career. Mr. Schmidtke has authored numerous books and articles on employee benefit topics, and is a frequent speaker at national seminars.

Kristin Tugman
Vice President, Health and Productivity Analytics and Consulting Practice, Prudential

Dr. Tugman has been in the health and productivity consulting field for 20 years and currently heads up the Health and Productivity Analytics and Consulting Practice for Prudential group insurance products. The team is responsible for analyzing lost time for large employers and designing and implementing solutions to help them minimize absence and maximize productivity.

She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has authored several publications pertaining to the psychological aspects of disability. Her work details a specific cognitive behavioral model to assist individuals in overcoming psychological barriers that prevent a return to productivity.

Dr. Tugman continues to actively research and develop techniques to assist individuals with psychiatric and other disabilities in maintaining appropriate function in the competitive work force. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and earned a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Capella University.

Ryan Welch, ALMI
Senior Case Manager, Special Investigations, Disability RMS

Ryan Welch, ALMI, Senior Case Manager, Special Investigations at Disability RMS has more than 13 years of reinsurance experience including, claims risk management, underwriting and intake. In his current role since 2014, he has leveraged his expertise in risk management, social media and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), to integrate social media investigations into Disability RMS' claims management philosophy. Ryan earned his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Maine. He is a member of the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU) and New England Chapter of IASIU. Ryan holds all required Third Party Administrator state licenses and independent adjuster licenses in Hawaii and New York.

Melanie Wiltrout
Appeals & Compliance Manager, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

A disability professional for 12 years, Melanie Wiltrout joined Guardian in 2011, where she manages the Group Claims Appeals organization to ensure the adjudication of Appeals under de novo standard, in compliance with federal and state regulations. With a risk mitigation focus, she also provides advice and counseling to internal business partners across Group Claims to ensure business processes are compliant with state and federal requirements and support legally defensible claim decisions. In 2017, Melanie earned Guardian's prestigious "CEO Award" for her work in leading Guardian's compliance effort to prepare for implementation of the amendments to the Department of Labor Claim Procedure regulations. Melanie earned her BA from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2001.

CLE Credit

You may earn CLE credits by attending the 2019 Definitive Disability Conference. Please note that CLE credit hours are not guaranteed and may vary from state to state.

Should you have any questions regarding CLE for the 2019 program, please contact Mindy Strauss at

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are sponsorship opportunities available for the DDC 4. If you would like to join us in sponsoring the conference, please contact Jackie Maman at 312-704-3036 or 


The Small Print

No collusion: It is great for all of us to get together to learn, to network and to share ideas. But we must not collude. Not only is collusion ethically wrong, but it is illegal. So enjoy the company, knowledge, thoughts and good times of and with your fellow industry colleagues. But do not encourage or participate in any efforts to collude with others, whether within sessions or otherwise.

No Legal Advice

Not only is discussion of legal issues inevitable, it is encouraged at the DDC 4. However, just as a discussion of a specific medical condition generally is no substitute for seeking personal medical advice when diagnosed with that medical condition, acting on generalized statements concerning the law is ill-advised if one is faced with a particular legal problem. The statements, views and opinions expressed by any speaker at the DDC 4 should not be considered legal advice. If you have a legal issue, do not rely on what is said at this conference for your particular situation. Please consult with a lawyer.

Who is speaking on behalf of whom?

We are trying to do a good thing here, bringing folks in our industry together to learn, share information and network. However, we do not "vet" the statements made by the speakers. Their statements reflect their views, opinions, and beliefs, not those of either Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP or the DDC 4 chairs, Martin E. Rosen and Robert E. Hess. Topics, speakers, and times are subject to change.

Gold Level Sponsors

Advocator Gorup and SSAD Logos

The Advocator Group and Social Security Advocates for the Disabled (SSAD) are advocacy organizations dedicated to helping individuals apply for and obtain Social Security Disability Insurance. In addition, we help Medicare beneficiaries navigate the complexities of their health insurance options. Our joint mission is to help preserve or improve the financial well-being of our clients.

Silver Level Sponsors

Genex Logo

Genex's Disability and Absence Management Services provide high-quality, customizable programs driven by specialized disability management expertise to help payers reduce claim costs, improve processing efficiency and comply with regulatory requirements.

Mitchell MCN Logo Mitchell MCN, with our specialized disability unit, is a national provider of independent medical examinations and peer reviews. All staff are trained on unique disability requirements including STD/LTD. Mitchell MCN's network of credentialed physicians and consultants in all specialties includes over 35,000 options nationwide. With Mitchell MCN, all records are fully secured: we set the industry standard for maintaining security with our SSAE16 SOC 2 Type 2 compliance and URAC core accreditation certification.
PsyBar Logo PsyBar, the nation's largest network of contracted doctoral level specialty providers, performing forensic behavioral health assessments, including independent medical evaluations & file reviews for employers and insurers. Services available include Disability Assessments, File Reviews, Fitness For Duty, Pre-Employment Screening, Leadership and Management Assessments, Public Safety Services, Vocational Rehabilitation & Risk Assessments. Our best practice in-person model is industry leading. Risk managers, human resource directors, insurance claims managers and employee benefits professionals rely on PsyBar's network of forensic professionals, to provide clinically sound, reviews and in-person credible assessments. PsyBar has been providing clinical expertise in the complicated area of forensic behavioral health since 1995. 

Bronze Level Sponsors

Allsup Logo Allsup is the nation's longest established and leading Social Security advocacy firm having successfully secured over 300,000 disability awards in our 35 year history. We are also the largest Employment Network in the U.S., approved under SSA's Ticket to Work program, which allows us to assist individuals pursuing a return to work. Other ancillary services include obtaining SSA queries to ensure proper benefit coordination between SSDI and LTD payments, as well as offering discounted SSDI representation for individuals without LTD benefits.

Ethos is a full-service risk mitigation company. We provide digital and field surveillance, actionable reporting and short turn-around times. With over 110,000 investigations completed, we have a proven track record of success. Ethos is committed to being the only risk mitigation provider you'll ever need.

PDA Logo Professional Disability Associates (PDA), located in Portland, Maine, is an innovative disability services company and industry leader that provides specialty risk resources, including medical, vocational and claim management services, to major disability insurers, reinsurers and self-insured employers. PDA partners with clients to deliver customized solutions and is trained and focused on the nuances of disability insurance.

Conference Brochure

Boston Marriott Long WharfMarriott Long Wharf Map

Questions? Please contact Cheryl Winkowski at 312-704-3132 or