If you really want to know what COVID is doing to workers’ comp, you have to hear from those on the front lines.
35 workers’ comp insurers, TPAs, state funds, self-administered employers, and service companies gave me their views on the impact of COVID19 and employment on their businesses, claims counts, costs – and how they are adapting to a very different climate.Quick takeaways:
- COVID claim costs are pretty low, with just a handful of claims exceeding a few hundred thousand dollars.
- Shutdowns/Lockdowns = drop in payroll + business closures -> premium decreases, delayed RTW
- Respondents see total claim counts dropping 20% for 2020
- Tele-everything is growing rapidly, but still has a long way to go
- Many filed claims are not accepted because:
- patient does not have a positive COVID test
- patient is asymptomatic
- Employers tend to give workers exposed to COVID19 two weeks of paid leave; they become WC claims if/when medical care is needed to treat COVID
- Presumption is a concern, but less so than it was a couple months ago
Winners and losers
Service companies with the following attributes are generally doing much better than their counterparts:
- no or low debt service cost and
- on-shored business functions that
- provide services typically used later in the claim’s life e.g. pharmacy.
A comprehensive version of the report including respondents’ detailed statements (respondents are not identified) and the accompanying raw data is available for purchase; contact jpadudaAThealthstrategyassocDOTcom. (substitute symbols for capitalized letters)
What does this mean for you?
For workers’ comp, the economic fallout from COVID is far more significant than COVID itself.