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2017 Workers’ Compensation Insurance Issues

2017 Workers’ Compensation Insurance IssuesAs we continue into 2017, there have been some major hurdles and challenges with the new presidential administration, an increase in technology, and some considerable legislative reform. As we explore some of the challenges that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance industry is expected to face this year, ensure your operation is secured and backed by a customized plan.

Election impact.

President Obama was very adamant about regulating and improving the workers’ compensation programs. As he worked to implement minimum benefit standards laws statewide, Trump has been vocal about his desire to oppose federal labor regulations. As of now, this issue seems to be on hold but could continue again at any moment.

OSHA.

In recent years, employers have complained that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was more focused on enforcement than education and training. In fact, OSHA did shift resources out of education into enforcement. Recent OSHA policies such as the publicly-accessible online database and restrictions on post-injury drug testing were met with significant resistance from the employer community. OSHA falls under the Department of Labor and, as mentioned before, the expectation is that the Department of Labor will have a new direction under the Trump administration, states Insurance Thought Leadership.

Rates and premiums.

Workers’ compensation insurance premiums are typically driven by competition rather than exposures. In fact, during the January 1 renewal cycle, rates trended flat or slightly down compared to expiring premiums. There are some problem states that saw higher rates, including California, New York, Illinois and Florida. The declining rates compared to increasing claims costs have caused A.M. Best, Fitch and others to issue a negative outlook on workers’ compensation, explains the article.

Marijuana.

The legalization of marijuana in eight states and in Washington, D.C. has created new hurdles for employers. As some state laws prohibit post-injury drug testing, it’s become even more challenging for employers to enforce a drug-free workplace. As showing up for work inhibited in any way poses significant risk for employers, this issue is expected to contribute to more workers’ compensation claims this year.

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Associated Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. has been “The Workers’ Compensation Specialist for Brokers and Agents” for the past two decades and is committed to providing brokers and insurance agents across the East Coast with expertise and services to develop a Workers’ Compensation policy. For more information about how we can assist you with claims management, anti-fraud measures, and more, call (610) 543-5510 to speak with one of our professionals.

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