Risk management is continuing to expand. The discipline is rapidly embracing areas that would have clearly belonged elsewhere in the past. This session at WCI’s 2019 Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference discussed current disruptors and future outlook.
- Marc Salm, Vice President, Risk Management, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- Peter G. Keating, Jr., CRM, Claims Manager, SP+
- Max Koonce, Managing Director, Sedgwick CMS (moderator)
Marijuana is predicted to become a $57 billion industry by 2027. States are slowly beginning to decriminalize it, so what is an employer to do? It is important to note that marijuana is currently not approved to treat any injuries. If prescribed, there is always another FDA-approved medicine that can take its place. With certain state legalization, companies are taking different approaches on if they test or not, depending on the occupational duties. Panelists believe marijuana is here to stay and employers need to figure out how they will address it in the workplace. Also, workers’ compensation will also have to address how it will pay for marijuana if/when the time comes.
Telemedicine is also trending, offering significant opportunities. It addresses a lot of problems, including providing easier, quicker and more-convenient access to care. Some companies have found it is difficult to set up, however, and space is also an issue. In the group health arena, telehealth is not being reported as a winning solution, but the panel believes the true data is not there yet to prove its success. Once people get used to it, the panel believes it will be widely accepted.
Gig employment is growing by the day. NCCI reports 30% of employees perform some sort of gig employment, which rounds out to 59 million workers. State rulings vary on how to classify these workers for workers’ compensation. Current trends are leaning towards classifying them as independent contractors. Ultimately, both the definition of employee and employer is shifting and it is a trend worth watching. At some point it is going to affect coverage.
Technology and data is becoming overwhelmingly important in every business. There are a lot of opportunities for technology to improve claims administration, but it has not been achieved yet. Claims systems are still clunky and harder-than-necessary to use. The data these systems provides is also hard to figure out how to use. We should do better. Technology, however, will not replace humans when it matters. There will always be those circumstances where you still will need face-to-face contact.
Corporate reputation is pivotal. The culture of your company is becoming more important than ever and must be proactively managed. Elements like injured workers’ experience and claims outcomes can affect corporate reputation and can have a huge impact on business. This is why the employee advocacy approach has become so prevalent.