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Listening fast to Bob Hartwig

The estimable Bob Hartwig President of III breaks pretty much every rule re presentations – way too many slides, with way too much information on each,  mixes fonts and graphics and colors and pretty much everything, often on individual slides, talks way too fast…

…yet he’s really good.

A few takeaways I plucked out of the torrent while somehow not spraining any fingers typing…

The P&C industry…

  • P&C profitability is both cyclical and event driven (e.g. hurricanes)
  • for 25 years the industry didn’t turn a profit in any year – yet the last two years we’ve seen profits – totaling $12.3 billion in 2014
  • the last three years have seen premium growth of around 4% each year…
  • as a result, P&C industry is in a very strong financial position with deep reserves
  • is the world’s single largest institutional investor

Work comp specifics…

  • Florida lost 27% of WC premium from 2007 to 2013 due largely to a collapse of the housing industry
  • More so than in other P&C lines, WC returns are driven by investment income, so the longer the Fed keeps interest rates low, the harder it is to generate returns.
  • As WC is heavily invested in interest-rate sensitive instruments, the historically-low-interest rates that have been held down for a historically-long time are dramatically affecting returns.
  • The number of workers not seeking jobs has decreased rather significantly; the forecasted unemployment rate drops below 5% in the next few quarters.
  • 3 million jobs were created last year. New jobs plus slightly higher wages led to increased payroll and thus higher premiums.


  • Look for big bump in construction due to under-supply of new homes – but it’s still picking up too slowly
  • Manufacturing employment growth has leveled out due to high value of dollar
  • Oil & Gas extraction employment down slightly since peak in September 2014
  • Numer of temporary workers is at an all time high – due in part to the slow recovery, but also driven by the “sharing economy”…

The Sharing economy was the closing part of Bob’s talk – noting Washio, Handy, TaskRabbit, WeddingWire as apps to do pretty much anything via your phone – using task-specific “workers” who are often independent.

Today, about 7% of the US population are “providers” in these areas, with the average making less than $50k.  (there are over 300,000 signed up to be Uber drivers…)

The big question is – how will the sharing economy, with its different “use” of “employees” on demand affect workers comp?

The answer is TBD.


One thought on “Listening fast to Bob Hartwig”

  1. Warm Greetings from Florida,
    Thanks for the updates from AIS Joe, I didn’t go this year as I have been on the road too much to pack out again even though it is only an hour from office depending on the lovely I4. Bob’s number is right at 27% drop in premium in Florida from 2007 to 2013. However I think it is more important to look at the drop from 2005 to 2010 which was 57%! Yes much due to the housing collapse but Senate Bill 50A (Oct 2003) deserves to be a part of that conversation as well. As the economy here continues to improve and the Florida Supremes decide Castellanos we will know more about how much that reform really did impact premium here in the Sunshine State. Keep’em coming Joe!!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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