950 attendees this year – an all time high – as new President And CEO Bill Donnell kicks off the 2016 NCCI Annual Issues Symposium. Key takeaways from Mr Donnell’s introductory talk –
- near term, solid financial results and continuing profitability
- longer term, frequency rates continue their structural decline – consistent with other mature economies
- Donnell highlighted programs at two very large American employers that have dramatically reduced claim frequency and severity. That’s great – but large employers have a lot more influence on and ability to address these issues than do smaller employers.
What was encouraging – and different – about his talk was a focus on individual claimants, and what employers and insurers are doing every day to help injured workers. He noted that industry critics don’t focus on these successes, choosing instead to highlight problems and errors. He called for the industry to do a much better job talking about the good the industry does.
Clearly Donnell is aware of – and concerned about – opt out. Given the recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, I’m not sure he – or we – have much to worry about. Nevertheless, his caution is far more appropriate than ignoring opt out.
Donnell’s “word” is the industry is Transforming – many changes in the economy, technology, the workers’ comp industry, employment are all forcing change in workers’ comp.
The issue is, how can an industry that is not so much resistant to change as hidebound and unable to move at all – much less rapidly – catch up to the real world?