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Aug
13

The coming recession’s impact on workers’ comp

It’s not “if”, it’s when the next will recession hit.  Things were looking iffy a couple months ago, and – if anything – the outlook has worsened since then

And when it does, workers’ comp will be affected – like everything else.

Here’s how recessions affect workers’ comp; tomorrow we’ll discuss why the next recession may well be long, deep, and painful. 

At the early stage of a recession, employees who get hurt are less likely to file a workers’ comp claim. While we don’t know why that happens, research suggests it’s because workers are concerned their bosses will eliminate their job while they are out on disability, and they’ll have no job to return to.

As the recession deepens, frequency tends to bump up as employees realize their jobs are in real jeopardy.  Claims increase as a result, and it is tougher to find re-employment opportunities for workers ready to resume some level of work. This extends to part-time or other limited duty work that is essential to recovery and return to full duty. So, duration increases too.

In the final stages, as the economy recovers frequency appears to accelerate. Employers put older, less-safe equipment back on line, require workers to put in big overtime hours, hire temps who have minimal training on safety, and the pace of work picks up speed. The result – more injuries.

So, that’s what we can expect. The question is, when will the recession arrive, how long will it last and how bad will it be?

That’s for tomorrow.

What does this mean for you?

Fortune favors the prepared.


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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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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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