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Workers’ Compensation Challenges For Today And For The Future

Apr 13 2016, by PEOPLE in Sales

Because the nature of the workforce, and indeed many aspects of life, have been experiencing rapid change within the past several years, workers’ compensation has been facing new challenges. These challenges affect workers’ compensation today but they will also affect it going into the future. Here are some of the most common challenges when it comes to workers’ comp right now that agents need to be aware of.

First and foremost, there’s the unfortunate reality of wage stagnation. This is something that agents will need to confront when discussing workers’ comp. The recession really took a toll on wages and salaries and in many places they still haven’t been able to bounce back to pre-recession levels. These low wages don’t help the workers’ compensation market because you need payroll growth to have premium growth. No growth or low levels of growth in wages essentially caps off premium growth for workers’ comp. Agents need to prepare for the fact that today’s workers’ comp market doesn’t have enough premium growth to cover the costs that come with the medical aspect of a claim. This issue may indeed carry on into the future, at least until wages can recover.

The technological advances that occur everyday are amazing and beneficial in many ways, and this is especially true in the healthcare industry. Unfortunately advances in workers’ comp haven’t necessarily kept up. For example, much of healthcare has become digitized and mobile, with medical records stored electronically and doctors can access them on the go. Some suggest that workers’ compensation would greatly benefit from mobile technology that allows claims to be made from a smartphone rather than requiring access via computer or telephone. But hopefully agents may start to see that the costs of workers’ comp could go down for their clients as more people get health insurance and have their injuries covered that way.

Medical marijuana has been in the spotlight recently due to the great debate surrounding its legalization. Medical marijuana has become legal in numerous states in the U.S. and even more are considering legalization. Agents need to keep track of these developments and consider how they affect workers’ compensation. So far, there’s not much scientifically backed evidence that medical marijuana is effective for treating conditions found specifically in workers’ comp cases. Utilizing medical marijuana for workers’ compensation is still rather tricky and mysterious. Medical marijuana claims will start coming in more rapidly and when this happens, the workers’ comp market will need to consider many angles, issues, and conflicts and agents should continue to watch how this subject progresses.

The workers’ comp challenges that are affecting the market today are important for agents to note, especially because many of these challenges will probably be around in some form or another for a while. Staying informed on economic factors, technological advances in the medical field, and legislation is the best way for agents to keep track of the workers’ compensation market as it evolves to face these challenges.