Turbulent times ahead for workers compensation

By Stephanie Goldberg

ORLANDO, Fla. — Despite improved financial indicators, the head of the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. says the workers compensation sector should prepare for “difficult times” as workplaces and the workforce evolve.

Speaking Thursday at the opening session of the workers comp ratings and research organization’s 2015 Issues Symposium in Orlando, Florida, NCCI President and CEO Steve Klingel said 2014 claim frequency declined, net written premium increased 5.7% to $44.2 billion over 2013, and the combined ratio improved to 98%, down from 102% in 2013, referencing NCCI’s 2015 State of the Line report.

The report also states that lost time claims decreased an estimated 2% in 2014, which is a smaller decrease than the 2.9% reported in 2013.

“Our industry runs in cycles,” Mr. Klingel said. “Watch for upward pressure on claim frequency from new workers in unfamiliar jobs.

Workplaces and the workforce are evolving, with employees working when they want and where they want — be it from home, coffee shops, airplanes or the beach, Mr. Klingel said.

As a result, definitions of workplace accidents and injuries will have to evolve, he said.

“Keep your seatbelts fastened, because I believe there’s turbulent air ahead,” said Mr. Klingel, who will retire in early 2016 after more than 40 years in the industry.

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