National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies - Workers’ compensation and automobile insurance laws accounted for nearly 40 percent of the new property/casualty-related insurance statutes enacted by state legislatures last year, according to the fifth annual analysis of trends in new state insurance legislation published today by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC). “NAMIC has placed online a summary of all 418 new property/casualty-related laws enacted in the states during 2003,” said Roger Schmelzer, vice president-state and regulatory affairs. “Some very distinct issue trends emerge from the many new state insurance laws enacted during 2003.” “The 87 new auto insurance laws identified in the NAMIC survey account for the single largest issue trend among the property/casualty-related statues enacted in 2003.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
Insurance Journal - The California Workers' Compensation Institute has issued a new study examining the development and history of evidence-based medicine (EBM) as a tool for assuring appropriate, quality medical care, and its potential for containing treatment costs and improving California workers' comp patient outcomes. SB 228, signed in October, requires the state to adopt EBM guidelines for workers' comp by December 2004 to control overutilization of medical services, set parameters for effective care, and to reduce treatment costs. The law also made treatment protocols published by medical specialty societies admissible before the WCAB, and made medical utilization guidelines presumptively correct in regard to the extent and scope of treatment, with guidelines of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) given the presumption until a new schedule is adopted.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
 
Insurance Journal - California workers‘ compensation costs per claim in California continue to grow rapidly, increasing 15 percent from 2000 through 2001 (as of 2002) and are accelerating, according to a new study from the Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute. California has more cost drivers and more persistent cost growth than any other state in the study of 12 large states. The study noted that in California the average cost of a workers‘ compensation claim with more than seven days of lost time is $29,745 - 28 percent higher than the median of the study states (1999 claims as of 2002, with 36 months of experience). Significant cost drivers in California include: *Medical costs per claim that were 20 to 52 percent higher than the 12-state median, resulting primarily from higher use of services, not higher prices. *Duration of periods of temporary disability for injured workers that were
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
Insurance Journal - Workers' compensation costs per claim in Pennsylvania continue to grow, according to a new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The study by the Cambridge, Mass-based WCRI found that costs per claim rose 8.5 percent per year on average from 1999/2000 to 2001/ 2002, for claims with 12 months of experience. This contrasts with more moderate growth of four to five percent per year in the two years prior to 1999. Nevertheless, at an average of $2,710 per claim, total costs per workers' compensation claim in Pennsylvania are 15 percent lower than the median of the other states in a national study, CompScope(TM) Benchmarks: Multistate Comparisons, 4th Edition. The study of 12 states, representing about 60 percent of workers' compensation benefits paid nationally, provides a comparison of key system performance measures.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies - Leaders of the property/casualty insurance industry expect an improvement in profitability for 2004 compared with last year, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) at its eighth annual Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum, held in New York City on Jan. 13. NAMIC was one of twelve co-sponsors of the event. Executives in the p/c industry are optimistic that their industry is on the road to recovery. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents expect 2004 to be more profitable than last year, as measured by the combined ratio, a percentage of each premium dollar a p/c insurer spends on claims and expenses. The combined ratio for 2003 is estimated at 101.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
Claims Magazine - More than 40 percent of the nation’s workers risk losing their homes and their ability to support their families because they lack income replacement protection if a disability strikes, according to a survey by the Hartford Financial Services Group. Employees largely do not recognize their chances of becoming disabled and losing their income due to time out of work, the survey found. Although nearly 75 percent of the full-time employees surveyed have life insurance to replace their income in case of premature death, fewer than 60 percent are covered in the event of either a short-term or long-term disability.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
Insurance Journal - Each year the Insurance Information Institute invites a panel of Wall Street stock analysts and industry professionals to review the prospects for the industry in the current and coming year. The survey reveals that the industry‘s unrelenting streak of bad luck finally came to an end in 2003 and that another solid year is in store for 2004. Premium growth, while decelerating, will remain relatively strong. However, the survey also reveals a curious split in the analyst community over the pace of growth in the industry in 2004, with some analysts forecasting a much sharper deceleration in growth than others. Another bright spot for insurers is the recovery in the investment environment. Taken together, insurers could experience a rare "Goldilocks" market in 2004—a brief period of time when everything is just right.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
 
Business Insurance - Workers compensation cost increases borne by Los Angeles since 2000 could have paid one year’s salary for 400 police officers or 429 firefighters. The city saw its costs rise from $99 million to $129 million during the period, according to a report released Tuesday by California State Controller Steve Westly. Likewise, workers comp cost increases incurred by the San Bernardino City Unified School District since 2000 could have funded 25 teachers for one year. The district’s costs rose from $2.5 million to $3.5 million. Sacramento County, which saw its workers comp costs increase from $12.2 million to $17.5 million since 2000, could have spent the money on 34,806 two-hour visits by social workers to foster children in group homes, according to the controller.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
 
Claims Magazine - The bills’ supporters claim that the measures will result in an annual cost reduction of nearly $6 billion. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau currently estimates that the annual cost reduction is about $4 billion. It will take time for the bills’ cost savings to be achieved, according to the Association of California Insurance Companies, an affiliate of the National Association of Independent Insurers.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
 
National Underwriter - California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, at a hearing in the state capital yesterday, told legislators that additional reforms to the state's workers' compensation system could save employers additional billions of dollars. He encouraged members of the Assembly Insurance Committee to take their time on writing new workers' compensation legislation and to get it right. “If the goal is $11 billion and we have $5.5 billion in hand with the cleanup legislation, we're halfway there,” Mr. Garamendi said. To chieve the goal, he said the permanent disability system needs attention. A study by the Commission on Health & Safety & Workers' Compensation of the Rand Corporation will provide a starting point, he said. Addressing workers' compensation fraud problems, he said the system itself leads to ambiguities, inconsistencies and abuse.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
 
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