News Bulletins

In local news:

Monroe’s CenturyLink and Entergy New Orleans slipped on the 2017 Fortune 500 list. The only Louisiana companies to make the 2017 ranking, the Fortune 500 ranks companies according to their annual revenues for their respective fiscal years. CenturyLink fell one spot to No. 160. Annual revenue for the telecommunications company that employs 40,000 workers declined 2.4 percent to $17.5 billion this year. Entergy, however, dropped 16 places to No. 263. It’s annual revenue fell 5.8 percent to $10.8 billion.

Read more via Biz.Magazine here.

In industry news:

Safety National recently announced a new webinar on the essential components of creating a quality safety culture and how to get employees to embrace it. Topics include:

  • The multiple advantages of establishing a quality safety culture.
  • How bias can negatively influence culture.
  • Five essential, applicable characteristics of a quality safety culture.
  • How to get employees to adhere to and advocate for your culture of safety.

The webinar will be presented by Vik Ramaswamy, MS, CIH, Risk Control Manager from Safety National and is scheduled for Tuesday, June 27th, at 11 AM CT.

Register here.

In regulatory news:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta was on the speaking circuit in recent days. According to a release from the department, Acosta addressed the national “skills gap” at the SelectUSA investment summit, gave an address to the National Association of Manufacturers, and touted apprenticeship in remarks to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

More information on these proposals here or via Acosta’s Twitter feed (@SecretaryAcosta)

In local news:

The Baton Rouge Business Report published a feature about opioid abuse in the workplace. The piece highlights employers like Alexandria-based Roy O’Martin that believe that the opioid epidemic has reached critical mass and is having a major effect on business. According to Business Report, President and CEO Roy O. Martin III decided last fall to, along with the company’s medical director, pen a letter to physicians in central Louisiana, pleading with them for help to reduce opioid prescriptions. Organizations like LABI are quoted in the article, framing the rise of opioid abuse and misuse as a problem that is particularly severe amongst the injured worker population – an assertion that was disputed by representatives of labor during the debate over a workers’ comp pharmacy formulary this Legislative Session.

Read in full here.

In national news:

President Trump announced his intention to nominate Marvin Kaplan of Kansas to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), tipping the scales conservative. Late on Monday, the White House issued a statement saying Trump had selected Kaplan, a fellow Republican currently with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, to one of the board’s five seats. The NLRB, which oversees union elections and disputes between workers, unions, and employers, has been controlled by Democrats for nearly a decade, and they currently have a 2-1 majority with two vacancies. The board, when fully stocked, includes three members from the president’s party and two from the opposing party.

Read more via Reuters here.

In research news:

WCRI published six new state studies that compare outcomes of injured workers and nine other states. The outcomes examined include recovery of physical health and functioning, return to work, earnings recovery, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care. The research, Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers, 2016 Interviews, is a product of an ongoing, multiyear effort by WCRI to collect and examine data on the outcomes of medical care achieved by injured workers in a growing number of states. Interviews were conducted in six of the states (Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin) in 2016. Interviews for all other states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee) were conducted from 2013 to 2015.

More info and purchasing links here.

In local news:

The June Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council meeting, originally scheduled for tomorrow, has been cancelled out of an abundance of caution due to Tropical Storm Cindy. The next meeting is set for July 27th, 2017. The meeting location will be the LaSalle Building (617 North Third Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802) in the LaBelle Hearing Room on the first floor.

In industry news:

Property Casualty 360 addressed five new developments in medical marijuana that could affect insurers. Emergent issues include the growth of the industry despite the threat of a crackdown under the Trump administration, and preliminary evidence that opioid use has dropped in states with more liberal marijuana policies.

Read more here.

In economic news:

Average hourly earnings for all employees increased 2.5 percent, and average weekly earnings were up 2.5 percent over the year ended May 2017, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which is used to adjust earnings estimates for inflation, increased 1.9 percent over the year. After adjusting for inflation, real average hourly earnings increased 0.6 percent from May 2016 to May 2017. This increase in real average hourly earnings, combined with no change in the average workweek, resulted in a 0.6-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Read more here.

In tech news:

The latest episode of A.M. BestTV addresses new technology that can aid independent insurance adjusters. Attendees to the 2017 national conference of the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters said new technology-enabled services are remaking their industry.

Watch here.