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Vegas Day Two – Industry headwinds and poker

Yesterday’s top takeaway – the consolidation continues – and the impact can be seen on the exhibit hall floor.

Sure there were some new names on the floor, but there seemed to be fewer companies exhibiting this year than in the past.  Not surprising as work comp claims counts are down, premiums continue to drop, and there’s fewer dollars in the system to support service providers of all stripes.

Yet most companies are still planning to grow, and some of the biggest booths are from newcomers who don’t seem to know a lot about workers’ comp.

Investors talk about structural limits as “headwinds”, conditions that inherently limit growth opportunities.

Trade wars, full employment, declining frequency and employers that – for very good reasons – don’t care much about workers’ comp are combining to reduce growth in comp services.

Two possibilities.

Those headwinds may grow in velocity – or, a recession will increase claims and delay re-employment, which will help service companies while hurting payers’ combined ratios.

The companies planning to grow are hoping to draw to an inside straight.

A few – those with great customer service and a deep understanding of the business – have much better odds of success.

But most seem to be the chump at the table.

2 thoughts on “Vegas Day Two – Industry headwinds and poker”

  1. Joe….I said a few years ago. You’ll walk in the expo hall and there will be 5 or 6 mega booths. After companies see your article on OneCall maybe they’ll rethink that paradigm….no pun intended.

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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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