Issues in Workers Comp to look out for in 2017
Things are changing at within every aspect of the insurance industry. Especially in the workers comp systems each state has for their workers and employers. Here are 5 issues that will be at the forefront of the Workers Compensation Insurance Industry in 2017.
Insurance Talent Gap
We have known for several years that the workforce in the insurance industry is aging. A significant percentage of the workforce is expected to retire in the next 10 years. To address this issue, companies in the insurance industry will have to enact a multi-layered approach. This should include working with colleges in developing risk management education and to use these partnerships to recruit and attract the top talent coming out of colleges and universities. The best companies in the insurance industry will find ways to pass on the vast knowledge of the retiring workforce, while also harnessing technology skills that many in the next generation of insurance leaders have. In order to attract the millennial generation, employers need to be more flexible by offering flexible hours and work-from-home options.
Alternatives to Opioids for Chronic Pain
Opioid addiction is a huge problem in the United States; especially for the workers comp systems in the states. For several years there has been quite a focus on reducing the amount of opioids prescribed within the workers compensation systems throughout the country. The focus on this issue is expected to be emphasized even more in 2017 and in to the future. There are several options for alternative pain management, but many of these methods are not covered by carriers. Carriers have been willing to approve opioid treatment options and that is probably going to continue for the foreseeable future and this is a large portion of the problem. One-size-fits-all approaches to pain management will not work for all patients. Many people within the workers compensation industry believe 2017 will be a year where improvements to the functionality of pain management will finally be considered.
Workers’ Compensation’s Public Image
There is and has been for some time, a growing effort to promote the benefits the workers’ compensation system gives to society. Everyday, workers’ compensation companies are attempting to make promote how much injured workers’ benefit from having the benefits in place only because of the workers compensation system. There still is a lot that can be done in the area of public relations. The industry needs to be more aggressive in talking about about the good things the industry does to help injured workers regain their quality of life. The industry can benefit from a better reputation in two main ways: first it will help the industry sell more policies and more effectively service injured workers and second it will help companies recruit the next generation of talent into our field. Workers’ compensation is about taking care of people and it is very meaningful work, but that work can only be meaningful when our customers understand the benefits they do receive from this necessary coverage.
State Legislative Agendas
There are several states that have severe issues with their workers compensation systems. For most states, the issues have been building up for several years. 2017 is the year when we will see new workers’ compensation legislation established in more than one state.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Predictive analytics have been around for more than 10 years. Insurance professionals began using predictive analytics to identify what claims had a likelihood of having higher loss costs. Some other companies have used analytics to develop better safety and return-to-work programs. In 2017, the industry will begin to use machine learning. These computer programs are going to help carriers determine: Should all claims be handled by a claims adjuster? Can agencies more easily provide certificates for small business owners, do interventions on every claim impact the ultimate exposure? How companies deal with these technological issues will determine the success of companies for the foreseeable future.