What drives workers’ comp is employment – more specifically, payroll, industry type, and claim frequency.
Employment is the end-all and be-all of workers’ comp – for premiums and policies on the front end, and getting work comp patients back to work when claims do happen.
So when a whole lot of jobs in a bunch of industries look to be disappearing, we work comp folks need to take notice.
If you insure, manage claims for, provide services to, or otherwise work in the transportation/logistics industry, you’d best be watching developments in Pittsburgh and keeping your eye on Otto.
Uber is experimenting with its self-driving cars in the Steel City, a big step on the way to fully automated driverless cars.
Ford is heavily involved, and will have a self-driving car on the market in 5 years. Sign me up; as one who spends way too much time behind the wheel, I’m all over this. Do work, read, work while being transported to client meetings? Heck yes!
The giant “ride-sharing” company is also behind Otto, an effort to automate long-haul trucking.
Photo below from SF Chronicle; testing of Volvo truck by engineer Nic Munley.
Unlike competitor Lyft, Uber doesn’t seem to care that its current drivers are going to be left ride-less in the not-too-distant future, nor is Uber bothered that,
if when Otto and its lookalikes are successful in removing drivers from trucks, those 900,000 truck drivers will not have jobs.
And without truck drivers, truck stops won’t be selling much food or necessaries. Motels won’t be providing showers or rooms. Body shops won’t be needed as much either.
Uber contends that the 24/7 usage of driverless vehicles will mean more jobs for mechanics, but that’s speculative at best. In fact, as these vehicles will just be replacing miles driven by vehicles currently piloted by people and not adding more vehicle miles, I don’t see why any more mechanics will be needed. Actually, less maintenance may be the norm due to constant monitoring of vehicle systems.
- far fewer truck drivers
- fewer support staff
- fewer jobs in service stations, motels
- fewer “taxi-type” drivers
- fewer accidents = less work for body shops, less demand for auto parts and paint, less need for auto claims adjusters
For work comp…
- much lower premium volume
- far fewer claims to service
- far fewer jobs to return injured drivers to
- possibly more claims in the near future as drivers see the writing on the wall