At Philly I-Day 2016, a panel discussed a variety of workers’ compensation challenges faced by risk managers and carriers. The panel was:
- Edward Canavan – VP Workers’ Compensation Practice and Compliance, Sedgwick
- Glen Carey – Sales Executive, Origami Risk
- William Taylor – President, Pennsylvania and Delaware Compensation Rating Bureaus
- Sonja Teague – AVP Integrated Disability Practice Leader, ESIS
The panel started by talking about us Pennsylvania and Delaware workers compensation trends. Medical makes up a significantly higher percentage of total costs in Delaware compared to the rest of the nation. The split of indemnity to medical costs in Pennsylvania follows industry trends. Frequency is trending downward in both jurisdictions. Workers’ compensation industry combined ratios in Pennsylvania align with national trends but once again the combined ratios are much higher in Delaware. Carriers are still losing money writing workers’ compensation in Delaware.
The discussion then shifted to data analytics. It is important to have actionable data that is available at a glance and is updated frequently. When you look at claims, there is a wide variety of data that can impact outcomes. This includes co-morbidities, adjuster effectiveness, and many other things. When you are looking at trends in claims all these factors have to be considered. Some of them are very challenging to analyze. Data collection must be mobile, intuitive, and structured. Emails an other unstructured data are more challenging to analyze. Text data mining is making this easier.
The panel then discussed comorbidities that impact workers compensation claims. The most common comorbidities are hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. The impact of these include significantly increased medical and indemnity costs, higher opioid utilization, migratory claims, large MSA allocations and significant challenges in resolving the claims.
Advocacy based claims handling was also discussed. This means having meaningful communication designed to identify needs, demonstrate empathy and understanding. It also includes providing quality healthcare and educating the injured worker so they understand the process and take ownership of their health.
Finally the discussion moved to integrated disability management. More employers are realizing the importance of having an integrated absence management program to improve efficiency, reduce litigation, and provide a better customer experience for their workforce.