The aging workforce is a top concern among public entity risk managers. This session at PRIMA’s 2015 Annual Conference explored the changing demographics in today’s workforce, its impact on accident rates and workers’ compensation costs. The speakers included Joe Galusha, CIE, CHSP, Group Managing Director at Aon Risk Solutions and Robert Prior, MS, CSP, ARM-P, Senior Consultant at Aon Risk Solutions.
Over the past decade, employees 45-years old and over have increased by 40% and make up 44% of the workforce. Age 65 is no longer the typical retirement age. Employees are delaying retirement due to economics, including the need for medical benefits and sufficient resources to retire. As a result, the impact to employers has been drastic.
Impact on Workers’ Compensation Costs
Data reveals that there is a significant claims cost difference for older workers. In fact, the average claim cost was 73% higher for employees that are over 45-years old. Other trends include:
- Older workers have fewer accidents, but injuries tend to be more severe.
- Recovery time may be prolonged – an average of 13 days longer.
- Chronic pre-existing conditions can make treatment more complex.
- Therefore, severity of accidents increases as related to the aging process compounded by pre-existing health conditions.
8 Strategies to Achieve Improved Workers’ Compensation Outcomes
Employers now have to create a workforce that is more age friendly, take a more proactive approach to claims management and promote health and wellness to employees. More specifically, the panelists offered the following strategies to help improve outcomes:
- Be specific on the medical conditions being accepted.
- Facilitate an aggressive integrated transitional duty program.
- Make investments in the infrastructure of an effective disability management program.
- Facilitate accurate investigations of workplace injuries.
- Don’t assume or allow assumptions.
- Ensure that the claims administrator is focusing on claims that are likely to develop into worse claims.
- Don’t let doctors be lawyers and lawyers be doctors.
- Coordinate claims strategies for all disability programs.