Top Injuries Cost More Than $1 Billion a Week
Employers looking to reduce their overall costs may want to focus on ways to eliminate several basic injury risks. Injuries caused by lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects cost businesses $15.08 billion annually, according to a new report.
The 12th Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index includes the top 10 most expensive workplace injuries and accidents that cause workers to miss at least six days of work. It shows companies are spending a bundle on incidents that may be largely preventable.
“According to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries amounted to nearly $62 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs,” according to the company. “This translates into more than a billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries.”
The latest ranking is remarkably consistent with earlier findings, according to company officials.
The ranking is based on 2013 injury data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and Liberty Mutual. Researchers analyzed the BLS injury information to identify which events caused workers to miss six days of work or more, then ranked the events based on total workers’ comp costs.
Of the estimated $62 billion in “direct” costs, the top 10 causes accounted for $51 billion — 82.5 percent.
“We rank the top 10 causes of the most serious, nonfatal workplace injuries by their direct costs each year to help companies improve safety, which better protects both employees and the bottom line,” said Debbie Michel, general manager of Liberty Mutual’s National Insurance Casualty operation, in a statement. “Workplace accidents impact employees’ physical, emotional and financial well-being. They also financially burden employers, who pay all of the medical costs related to a workplace injury, together with some portion of an injured employee’s pay.”
Of the estimated $62 billion in “direct” costs, the top 10 causes accounted for $51 billion — 82.5 percent. “Workplace injuries also produce such indirect costs for employers as hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, quality disruptions and damage to a company’s employee engagement and external reputation,” Michel said.
The Costliest Five
The top five injury causes accounted for 64.8 percent of the injury cost burden.
Overexertion involving outside sources topped the list. According to the BLS, this involves “overexertion in lifting, pushing, pulling, turning, throwing and catching.” These injuries accounted for more than one-quarter of the overall injury cost burden.
The BLS reported late last year that musculoskeletal disorders comprised 33 percent of injury/illness cases in 2014, down slightly from the previous year.
Falls on the same level was the second most expensive cause of workplace injuries. The $10.17 billion in direct costs represented 16.4 percent of the total injury burden.
According to a 2004 report from the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries, these injuries involve “a slip, trip, or a fall in which the worker impacts either the surface or an object at the same level or above the surface on which he/she is standing.”
Falls to a lower level was ranked third on the list at a cost of $5.4 billion and 8.7 percent of the overall injury cost.
Being struck by object or equipment was fourth on the Liberty Mutual list. It cost employers $5.31 billion and was 8.6 percent of the overall cost.
Other exertions or bodily reactions was the fifth most expensive category at $4.15 billion and 6.7 percent of the total cost. Included in the category are injuries due to bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing, or walking, according to Helmsman Management Services.
Deadline Nears for NWCDC Speaker Proposals
Don’t miss the approaching deadline for submitting proposals to speak at the 25th annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.
NWCDC is attended by workers’ comp and disability management decision makers, including employers and a broad range of service providers.
Last year’s speakers and the ideas they presented at NWCDC in Las Vegas remained hot topics and received mentions in workers’ comp and disability management industry media and social media for many months following the conference.
The only way to qualify is to begin by meeting the deadline for submitting a session proposal idea. The deadline is Friday, February 26, with applications available on the conference website.
After being held in Las Vegas for many years, the conference will shift venues for 2016, taking place Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Potential topic proposals that NWCDC’s speaker selection committee is eager to evaluate include:
- Injured employee advocacy strategies
- Urine drug testing and its coordination with pharmacy benefit management strategies
- The application of value-based care, including accountable care organization use.
- Medical guidelines, and how best to apply them.
- Occupational and non-occupational return-to work-strategies meeting ADA compliance.
- Pharmacy formularies and claims management opportunities.
- Psych claims and managing psych issues embedded within claims.
Those are just a few of the topic areas we are interested in hearing about from employers, vendors, attorneys, medical providers, regulators and other workers’ comp professionals. We are eager to hear other great topic ideas.
Overall, the conference looks for panels and individual speakers to present strategies that will help worker’s comp and disability claims payers solve claims challenges, teach best practices for selecting and managing service providers, or can enlighten on industry trends.
Presentation proposals can focus on new, innovative strategies that reduce injuries and costs. But risk managers, workers’ comp managers, and disability managers are also welcome, for example, to share their unique experiences with adopting tried-and-true practices at their companies.
Disability management strategies for workers’ comp and non-occupational drivers of employee absence are of interest to us.
If you or your company plans to submit a proposal for a session presentation, please keep in mind that we do prioritize those submissions that include an employer on the panel.
However, we also understand that not all presentations can include an employer speaker and we value the knowledge and information that other workers’ comp professionals serving the payer community bring to the conference.
Here is some advice to increase the potential for having your RFP selected:
- Consider submitting multiple RFPs because we sometimes receive several proposals from different companies wishing to speak on the same topic. We may only select one presentation per topic in such cases. Submitting multiple RFPs provides an alternative when one of your ideas is a popular one among several submitters.
- Select topics with relevance for a broad range of workers’ comp professionals. The greater the relevance and the stronger the speaker’s experience and knowledge, the greater the possibility of being selected.
- Avoid submitting proposals that are mere product or service pitches featuring company personnel responsible for sales or marketing.
For further discussion on potential presentation content, feel free to contact Conference Chairman Roberto Ceniceros at (208) 286-1425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 Questions to Answer before Choosing a Captive Insurance Domicile
Risk managers: Do your due diligence!
It seems as if every state in America, as well as many offshore locations, believes that they can pass captive legislation and declare, “We are open for business!”
In fact, nearly 40 states and dozens of offshore locations have enabling captive insurance legislation to do just that.
With so many choices how do you decide who is experienced enough to support the myriad of fiscal and regulatory requirements needed to ensure the long term success of your captive insurance company?
“There are certainly a lot of choices,” said Mike Meehan, a consultant with Milliman, an actuarial firm based out of Boston, Massachusetts, “but not all domiciles are created equal.”
Among the crowd, there are several long-standing domiciles that offer the legislative, regulatory and infrastructure support that makes captive ownership not only a successful risk management tool but also an efficient entity to manage and operate.
Selecting a domicile depends on many factors, but answering these seven questions will help focus your selection process on the domiciles that best fit your needs.
1. Is the domicile stable, proven and committed to the industry for the long term?
The more economic impact that the captive industry has on the domicile, the more likely it is that captives will receive ongoing regulatory and legislative support. The insurance industry moves very quickly and a domicile needs to be constantly adapting to stay up to date. How long has the domicile been operating and have they been consistent in their activity over the long term?
The number of active captive licenses, amount of gross premium written in a domicile and the tax revenue and fees collected can indicate how important the industry is to the jurisdiction’s bottom line. The strength of the infrastructure and the number of jobs created by the captive industry are also very relevant to a domicile’s commitment.
“It needs to be a win – win situation between the captives and the jurisdiction because if not, the domicile is often not committed for the long term,” said Dan Kusalia, Partner with Crowe Hortwath LLP focused on insurance company tax.
Vermont, for example, has been licensing captives since 1981 and had 589 active captives at the end of 2015, making it the largest domestic domicile and third largest in the world. Its captive insurance companies wrote over $25 billion in gross written premiums. The Vermont State Legislature actively supports an industry that creates significant tax revenue, jobs and tourist activity.
2. Are the domicile’s captives made up of your peer group?
The demographics of a domicile’s captive companies also indicate how well-suited the location may be for a business in a particular industry sector. Making sure that the jurisdiction has experience in the type and form of captive you are looking to establish is critical.
“Be among your peer group. Look around and ask, ‘Who else is like me?’” said Meehan. “Does the jurisdiction have experience licensing and regulating the lines of coverage for other businesses in your industry sector?”
3. Are the regulators experienced and consistent?
It takes captive-specific expertise and broad experience to be an effective regulator.
A domicile with a stable and long-term, top-tier regulator is able to create a regulatory environment that is consistent and predictable. Simply put, quality regulation and longevity matter a lot.
“If domicile regulators are inexperienced, turnaround time will be slower with more hurdles. More experience means it is much easier operating your business, especially as your captive grows over time,” said Kusalia.
For example, over the past 35 years, only three leaders have helmed Vermont’s captive regulatory team. Current Deputy Commissioner David Provost is one of the longest tenured chief regulators and is a 25-year veteran in the captive insurance industry. That experienced and consistent leadership enables the domicile to not only attract quality companies, but also to provide expert guidance on the formation process and keep the daily operations running smoothly.
4. Are there world-class support services available to help manage your captive?
The quality of advisors and managers available to assist you will have a large impact on the success of your captive as well as the ease of managing the ongoing operations.
“Most companies don’t have the expertise to operate an insurance company when you form a captive, so you need to help build them a team,” Jeffrey Kenneson, a Senior Vice President with R&Q Quest Management Services Limited.
Vermont boasts arguably the most stable and experienced captive infrastructure in the world. Many of the leading captive management companies have their headquarters for their Global, North America and U.S. operations based in Vermont. Experienced options for captive managers, accountants, auditors, actuaries, bankers, lawyers, and investment professionals are abundant in Vermont.
5. Can the domicile both efficiently license and provide on-going support to your captive as it grows to cover new lines of coverage and risks?
Licensing a new captive is just the beginning. Find out how long it takes for the application to get approved and how long it takes for an approval of a plan change of your captive’s operations.
A company’s risks will inevitably change over time. The captive will need to make plan changes which can include adding new lines of business. The speed with which your domicile’s regulatory branch reviews and approves these plan changes can make a critical difference in your captive’s growth and success.
The size of a captive division’s staff plays a big role in its speed and efficiency. Complex feasibility studies and actuarial analyses required for an application can take a lot of expertise and resources. A larger regulatory team will handle those examinations more efficiently. A 35-person staff like Vermont’s, for example, typically licenses a completed application within 30 days and reviews plan changes in a matter of days.
6. What are the real costs to establishing and managing your captive?
It is important to factor in travel costs, the local costs of service providers, operating fees, and examination fees. Some states that do not impose a premium tax make up for it in high exam fees, which captives must be prepared for. Though Vermont does charge a premium tax, its examination fees are considered some of the least expensive options in the marketplace.
It is also important to consider the ease and professionalism of doing business with a domicile in the ongoing operations of your captive insurance company.
“The cost of doing business in a domicile goes far beyond simply the fixed cost required. If you can’t efficiently operate due to slow turn-around time or added obstacles, chances are you have made the wrong choice,” said Kenneson.
7. What is the domicile’s reputation?
Make sure to ask around and see what industry experts with experience in multiple domiciles have to say about the jurisdiction. Make sure the domicile isn’t known for only licensing certain types of captives that don’t fit your profile. Will it matter to your board of directors if your local newspaper decides to print a story announcing your new insurance subsidiary licensed in some far away location?
Are companies leaving the jurisdiction in high numbers and if so, why? Is the domicile actively licensing redomestications — when an existing captive moves from one domicile to another? This type of movement can often be a positive indicator to trends in a domicile. If companies of a particular size or sector are consistently moving to one state, it may indicate that the domicile has expertise particularly suited to that sector.
Redomestications made up 11 of the 33 new captives in Vermont in 2015. This trend is a positive one as it speaks to the strength of Vermont. It reinforces why Vermont is known throughout the world as the ‘Gold Standard’ of domiciles.
Asking the right questions and choosing a domicile that meets your needs both today and for the long term is vital to your overall success. As a risk manager you do not want surprises or headaches because you did not ask the right questions. Do the due diligence today so that you can ensure your peace of mind by choosing the right domicile to meet your needs.
For more information about the State of Vermont’s Captive Insurance, visit their website: VermontCaptive.com.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with the State of Vermont. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.