Tag Archives: insurance

Impact of Autonomous Vehicles and On-Demand Economy

By Safety National 04/29/2016 08:43:00

Google self-driving carAt 2016 Philly I Day, a presentation discussed how the combination of on-demand transportation services and autonomous vehicles could impact the risk landscape in the future.

The speakers were: Gerald Finley – SVP Casualty Treaty Underwriting, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. and Martin Frappolli – Senior Director of Knowledge Resources, The Institutes

There are different levels of vehicle autonomy ranging from 0-4 depending on the number of autonomous features it has. Level Zero vehicles no longer exist. All cars have some form of autonomy such as cruise control, or anti-lock brakes.

A Level 4 vehicle is truly autonomous with no human control required. Level 3 vehicles are sufficiently automated under certain conditions but the human needs to be prepared to take control in certain circumstances. We are a long way from seeing Level 4 vehicles, but Level 3 are very much in the testing and development phase.

The main benefit of autonomous vehicles is improved safety. Automatic features such as anti-lock brakes, lane change warnings, and auto breaking have reduced accidents. It is interesting to note that the frequency of accidents has decreased significantly over the years due to these safety enhancements.

However, the total number of deaths has not decreased. This is partially due to the fact that people are driving so much more than they were years ago. Distracted driving is also a big factor in the death rate staying at a high level. Continue reading Impact of Autonomous Vehicles and On-Demand Economy

Integrated Absence Management: Promoting Productive and Healthier Workplaces

By Safety National 10/20/2015 04:42:00

Integrated Absence Management graphicAt the 2015 Self-Insurance Institute of America National Conference, Tammy Worthey from Sedgwick and Junia McGraw from Arizona Public Services discussed how integrating your absence management program can benefit both the employer and your workforce.

One of the big challenges around absence management is the silos in which different benefit delivery systems operate. Workers’ compensation usually falls under risk management, and non-occupational disability is managed by human resouruces. There are often different strategies for the different programs, and data is usually not shared.

Most “integrated” absence management programs are coordinated, not truly integrated. A coordinated program still has the issue with silos due to different people having oversight over the different areas, and sometimes there can be different vendors handling the different areas. A true integrated program has one process owner (usually in human resources) and a single vendor handling both areas. The data from the two programs is also integrated which allows for more complete analysis and better decision making.

The key points of integration are:

  • Single intake of new claims. Employees only need to make one call and the vendor makes sure the appropriate claims are set up. The focus is on providing benefits to the worker timely rather than arguing about which silo the benefits should be paid under.
  • Sharing of medical records. This streamlines medical from providers to the claims team and helps to reduce costs by avoiding duplication of efforts.
  • Coordination of payments. This ensures the employee is receiving all the benefits they are entitled to under the different plans and also eliminates duplicate payments. If the workers’ compensation claim is being disputed, benefits are paid under disability during the adjudication of this dispute. By making sure the worker receives benefits it can cut down on litigation and increase the satisfaction of the injured worker.


California Workers’ Compensation – North vs South


At the 2015 California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation Annual Conference, a panel discussed the huge disparity in claims costs between northern and southern California.  The panel consisted of:

    • Alfonso Moresi – Commissioner, Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and partner in law firm Laughlin, Falbo, Levy and Moresi
    • Richard Newman – Chief Judge for the California Department of Industrial Relations
    • Mark Priven – Principal with Bickmore Risk Services

map of California showing higher Workers' Comp rates in LA areaThe litigation rates in Southern California are much higher than the rest of the state, accounting for approximately 75% of the total court opening filings statewide. Along the same lines, the number of workers’ comp judges in Southern California is also significantly higher than the rest of the state so that they can process this high volume.

For those that practice in both areas of the state, there is a significant difference in the level of professionalism and conduct in the courts and there are also procedural differences seen in the different areas. By statute, the procedures in the two areas should be the same but, in practice, that is not the case. One of the major differences is that lawyers in Southern California usually will not settle claims without an appearance before the Board. Most plaintiff attorneys in the South do not even meet with their clients until the Board hearing and they use that first Board appearance as their initial meeting spot. In Northern California, judges will sanction attorneys who show up for a hearing unprepared.

Insurance carrier rates are 11-32% higher in the Los Angeles area versus the rest of the state. This trend is only in the LA area, not the San Diego area, therefore it is not a Southern California trend.

For public entity self-insured employers, claims costs in the LA area are 15-20% higher than the rest of the state. One-third of this is due to increased frequency, and two-thirds is due to higher individual claim costs.


FREE Stuff to Assist You in Controlling WC Costs

No strings attached. We’re just passing this along from those helpful folks at WorkersCompensation.com.

Free materials to help control your workers' comp costsThey are promoting their new Workers Comp “help club,” called COMPClub, and it certainly looks worth while (for a big $29/month). This is a reputable and well-regarded organization with a long history in the workers’ comp field.

FREE Workers’ Comp Cost Containment Gifts

Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers’ Comp Costs – Mini Book

The Mini-Book is 20 pages, with each page summarizing a corresponding chapter of our comprehensive book. This booklet is in OUTLINE format, thus perfect for training programs and as a seminar follow-along handout. This booklet can be used as a stand-alone for training or promotions, or in conjunction with the
Comprehensive Guidebook.

10 Customized Get Well Cards

Get Well Cards are part of a positive, proactive communication strategy. As part of a comprehensive workers compensation program, employers should maintain close communications with injured employees to ensure they recover quickly, do not drop out of the workforce and and return to work rapidly.

Customize the Get Well Cards with your Logo and a special message below.

5 Workers’ Comp Cost Containment Articles

Download the Word documents along with a license to use the content of 5 popular articles from the Workers’ Comp Roundup blog.

  • 6 Work Comp Mistakes Employers Make
  • An Employer  Road Map For Work Comp Claim Management
  • Different Strategies for Return to Work
  • Fighting Fraud with a Special Investigation Unit
  • How to Communicate with Your Adjuster

Drones: The Risk from Above

At the 2015 Advisen Casualty Insights Conference, the topic of drones and risk management concerns related to them was discussed by Justin Green, Aviation Attorney at Kreindler & Kreindler and Thomas Klaus, Vice President at Willis Aerospace.
Drones currently have widespread application in a variety of industries:

FAA Approves Drones for Real Estate photoLaw enforcement uses them for surveillance and search.
The insurance industry uses them to look at unstable roofs.
Journalists are using them for photography in war zones.
The oil and gas industry uses them to inspect pipelines.
The motion picture and television industry is now using drones for most overhead shots instead of helicopters.

The use of drones is very well established in government contracting, military, insurance, oil and gas, and the boarder patrol. Drone usage is rapidly expanding in other industries because there are many benefits to using them. In many ways, drones can be much safer than the use of helicopters in instances such as searching a forest fire zone.  A drone can eliminate putting people at risk in dangerous situations while also providing the necessary information.

Currently there are no FAA regulations around the use of drones and the FAA is trying to catch up with this quickly-growing potential exposure.  The FAA has indicated that no commercial use of drones is allowed without special permission. Amazon was just approved to start testing drones for commercial use after several months of trying to secure this authorization. What is yet to be determined is, once FAA has regulations in place, how will these regulations be enforced?  There is also significant concern around potential terrorism risk using drones.  While the FAA can regulate commercial use of drones, the private use is very difficult to regulate. For example, the person who crashed a drone on the White House lawn was not charged because the individual did not violate any laws.

Secret Service is looking into developing laws to prevent this from happening in the future.
Insurance exposure for drones is similar to aircraft exposure, which focuses on damage caused to people and property on the ground.

But there can also be privacy exposures like paparazzi using drones to get pictures and videos. Coverage for the risks associated with drones is usually placed in a general liability policy with an endorsement, but the aviation insurance industry is also in the process of customizing policies to include drones.


“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” Free Webinar Series Promises Cutting-Edge Workers’ Compensation-Related Content


Photo of Kimberly George and Mark WallsKimberly George and Mark Walls announced today that they will join forces to host a regular, complimentary webinar series and interactive forum called “Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark.” The series – sponsored by Sedgwick and Safety National – will be dedicated to covering important workers’ compensation-related topics that are not receiving enough attention in the industry.

“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” will provide a unique alternative to the traditional webinar format by including a mix of communication methods, such as podcasts and live interviews from industry events. The approach will be to collaborate on meaningful topics that are not discussed openly in the industry or, in some cases, not at all.

“As our industry finds new ways to collaborate and seeks new solutions to current issues, Kimberly and Mark are leading the way by provoking honest, inclusive debate as they work to engage and inform through this new series,” said David A. North, president and CEO of Sedgwick.

Both well-known experts and advocates in their fields, George and Walls plan to explore the perspectives of risk managers, brokers, third-party administrators, human resources professionals, carriers and other industry stakeholders. The goal of the series is to bring in a variety of experts to provide input from each thought-provoking angle to initiate or advance conversations.

“As an industry leader, we support efforts like this that encourage discussion on emerging trends and needs in the workers’ compensation arena,” added Mark Wilhelm, CEO of Safety National. “Kimberly and Mark are both very passionate about this industry and we know that the audience will benefit greatly from their work on this series.”

“Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” will launch with its first webinar on the advantages of unbundled claims handling scheduled for March 31, 2015. Visit www.OutFrontIdeas.com for more information.


Workers’ Comp Leaders to Host First-Ever Industry Twitter Chat

illustration of Twitter discussionInteractive social media event will focus on industry hot topics

Top media experts in workers’ compensation will  join subject matter experts from GENEX Services LLC, one of the nation’s largest providers of managed care services, to participate in the first-ever Twitter Chat on workers’ compensation on Feb. 10, 2 p.m. EST.

By following the hashtag #workcompchat, Twitter users will be able to learn from and converse with industry leaders on topics ranging from managing complex claims to regulatory issues. The chat will be moderated by GENEX (@genexservices) and will include a panel of popular industry writers, bloggers and subject matter experts including:

Roberto Ceniceros, Risk & Insurance@rceniceros
Bob Wilson,WorkersCompensation.com;  @wcconnections
Mark Walls, LinkedIn’s Work Comp Analysis Group;  @wcanalysisgroup
Stephen Sullivan, WorkCompWire ; @work_comp_wire
Ron Skrocki, GENEX Services@skrockiron
Melinda Hayes, GENEX Services@melindahayes_ Continue reading Workers’ Comp Leaders to Host First-Ever Industry Twitter Chat

Why Hold Weekly Meetings With Injured Employees?

 October 3, 2013 by Michael B. Stack
illustration of employees meeting with profit graph arrowEvery injured employee on transitional duty should meet WEEKLY with the Transitional Duty (TD) Coordinator, if your company has one, or the supervisor in charge the injured worker’s return to work. There are many benefits to weekly meetings. Among them are:
It keeps employees in the loop at the workplace.

This keeps them mentally engaged in your workplace, and thus more likely to fully recover and return to work. It also keeps the employee socially connected to theirco-workers and supervisors. Employees who feel valued, important and supported are more likely to want to return to work quicker.

It gives employers the opportunity to determine increased capacity for transitional duty assignments.

These meetings help determine if increasing strength or capability is possible to allow the employee to assume additional job tasks. There should be a gradually increasing capacity. The employee should bring any recent medical information to the meeting. This should include any changes in medications, work restrictions and recommendations. It is good to vary the time of the meeting each week to see if the employee’s work capacity varies at different times of the day or week. For employees who cannot attend on site meetings, you might discuss options for a field-based nurse case manager to visit the employees.

It lets employees bring up any obstacles to returning to work.

Sometimes there may be simple reasonable accommodations that an employer can provide, such as an ergonomic chair or keyboard, that can help an employeereturn to work quicker. However, unless the employer knows about the difficulties the employee has, the employer will not be able to address these needs. You canfind a vendor that provides off-site employment temporarily for employees who are unable to travel or for any other reason cannot come back to a transitional duty position in your facility.


Is Your Comp Medical Provider Brochure Complete?

Questions like these are probably keeping you awake at night.


cover of Workers' Comp Medical Provider brochureIf it seems like there is a never-ending trail of paperwork and computer files to go over, that is likely the case.

One of the many facets of running a business is looking out for your employees, especially there physical well-being. It is almost a given that some of them will suffer some sort of injury while under your employ. As a result, it is critical that you have plans in place to quickly and effectively treat them.

With that in mind, it is more than a good idea that you have in place a brochure for the doctors and clinics that will ultimately care for your injured workers.

Make sure these 10 items are part of the brochure:

  1. Company description – This can be brief, but should be an overview of what your business does;
  2. Company location – In the event the company is nearby, it doesn’t hurt to encourage provider visits;
  3. Company job descriptions – This is where you want to explain the original work that was undertaken;
  4. Company description for transitional duty program – In this arena, be sure to include the purpose behind and importance to your business;
  5. Company necessity for medical limitations/abilities on initial visit – Keep in mind that this is very important so that the claim does not turn into a lost-time claim;
  6. Company sample transitional duty job descriptions – Here is where you describe possible modifications and alternative positions as examples. Make sure you are clear to customize positions to fit whatever restrictions are in place;


Could This Chairless Chair Cut Workers’ Comp Claims?

Could sitting down on the job reduce injuries while promoting health and productivity?

Man using chair less chair exoskeleton“In addition to resting your leg muscles, it also provides optimal posture,” Noonee’s co-founder Bryan Anastisiades tells CNN. “It keeps your back straight and can reduce the occurrence of bad postures for both healthy workers and those recovering from muscle related injuries.” A large percentage of workplace injury and illness is caused by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which are often as a result of poor posture, standing all day, etc.

[embedplusvideo height=”340″ width=”474″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1zcZHRb” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8KSUJ9Xtw9E?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=8KSUJ9Xtw9E&width=474&height=340&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep7012″ /]

Both Audi and BMW will be trialing the Chairless Chair on their production lines later this year. There’s no word on pricing or general availability, but I doubt it’ll be that expensive; it’s actually a fairly simple piece of gear.Noonee is initially targeting production line workers, fruit pickers, surgeons, and other groups of workers who spend hours standing every day – but the CEO, Keith Gunura, also mentions consumer uses, such as riding on a crowded train.

Ultimately, though, I’m still a bit uncertain about how seriously we can take a company who has trademarked the term “Chairolution.”