Working in Workers’ Comp: understanding emerging issues affecting the industry

kendraBy Kendra DePaul, BWC Other States Coverage Manager

Last week, I attend the American Society of Workers Comp Professionals, Inc. (AMCOMP) fall meeting in New York City. AMCOMP is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to professional excellence in workers’ compensation. Their main goal is to make sure those working in the workers’ compensation industry are well educated in both workers compensation basic concepts and aware of emerging issues affecting the industry.

kendra-mtgThe agenda included a variety of interesting speakers including insurance regulators from Maine and Florida, the New York State Inspector General, and presidents of several insurance companies. They touched on many relevant topics from workers’ comp fraud to how the on-demand economy such as UBER and Air BnB will challenge and change the insurance market. Recently, a new product, Lemonade, was launched in New York that is an indicator of the changes to come. Lemonade is a peer-to-peer insurance company where New Yorkers can buy home owners’ or renters’ insurance from an application, cutting out much of the bureaucracy of traditional insurance. In addition, money that is not spent on paying claims can be donated to a charity of the insured choice. This is definitely an intriguing concept and one that will speak to today’s generation, especially those who buy Toms shoes, or other products which give back for every dollar they take in. This will be a company to watch as they could drive changes in the way people purchase their insurance and what they expect out of companies in terms of being good corporate citizens.

Mark Walls and Kimberly George of the Out Front Ideas webinar series presented a session on issues to watch. They’ve become well known for exploring critical workers’ comp related issues that are not given enough attention in other industry outlets.

out-front-ideas-pic

These topics include the use of predictive analytics, how automation may change the workforce, and how we may need to change our claims model to respond to the changes in culture, medical advances and communication preferences of injured workers. Those working in the workers’ comp know that we need to continue to monitor the way of the world and change with it, so that we are not left behind. Mark and Kimberly did an excellent job of discussing the issues we need to take on heads-first to stay relevant and respond to our customers’ needs.

The need to recruit young talent continued to be a theme at this conference. In a previous blog post on the American Association of Compensation Insurance Funds (AASCIF) annual conference, I mention that the state funds across the country, like BWC, worry that they will not be able to replace the employees that are retiring in large numbers.

The keynote speaker was Sean Kevelighan, President  & CEO of the Insurance Information Institute. He spoke about how insurance is a very stable industry providing millions of well-paying jobs, but most people fall into insurance professions by chance and it is still unusual that college graduates specifically plan on entering the industry. I can say that this is true of me, although I was never planning to work in workers’ compensation, I have found it to be interesting, challenging and rewarding. And part of the goal of the Insurance Information Institute is to assist in the promotion of insurance industry professions as often there are great opportunities for young people to work in a variety of interesting roles.

wc-book-kendraWhich brings me to the reason I attended the AMCOMP Fall meeting. AMCOMP has an educational certification program designed to provide those in the industry with a broader view and understanding of the system as a whole. You may have seen me reading a large book on my lunch hour titled Workers’ Compensation –the first one hundred years.

The book covered a variety of topics starting with the history of why workers’ compensation was created and is followed by information on claims handling, medical cost containment, risk management, rate-making, and more. The purpose of the education is to provide a holistic picture of workers’ compensation and gain an understanding how each individual component of the system works together and affects one another.

After successfully completing a mid-term and a final exam, I traveled to the fall meeting to graduate from the program and receive my certification. Not only can I now put a WCP® after my name, more importantly, I have a better understanding of all the pieces and parts of workers’ compensation and can appreciate the importance of looking at workers’ compensation as a system instead of the individual responsibilities of our everyday job.

kendra-cert

I am thankful for the opportunity to complete this education as I believe we owe it to the employers we insure and the injured workers we care for to stay educated on the ever changing world of workers’ comp.

One thought on “Working in Workers’ Comp: understanding emerging issues affecting the industry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s