News Bulletins

In national news:

NCCI chief actuary Kathy Antonello gave the State of the Line address at NCCI’s Annual Issues Symposium in Orlando yesterday. Antonello explained in the speech that the average combined ratio for NCCI states declined to 89 percent last year, which indicates that the workers’ compensation market as a whole is healthy and continues to be quite profitable. Other highlights from the address include:

  • The overall reserve position for private carriers improved in 2017. NCCI estimates the year-end 2017 reserve position to be a $1 billion deficiency—down from $5 billion in 2016.
  • Average lost-time claim frequency across NCCI states declined by 6 percent in 2017, on a preliminary basis. A similar percentage decline was observed in 2016.
  • In NCCI states, the preliminary 2017 average indemnity and medical lost-time accident year claim severities both increased by 4 percent relative to their corresponding 2016 values.

Access the full State of the Line report here. Read further coverage from WorkCompCentral here and Joe Paduda’s blog Managed Care Matters here.

In industry news:

NCCI released the second of its three-part series, On Opioids. The series is aimed at exploring three viewpoints on issues surrounding opioid use and workers’ compensation: those of doctors, insurers, and regulators. In the second of the three-part series, we hear from several claims management professionals in the workers compensation (WC) industry—including insurance company representatives and a third party administrator (TPA).

Access the report here.

In neighboring news:

Ryan Brannan, former Texas Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation, has announced the founding of The Brannan Firm, which will provide clients with an array of legal and government relations services built upon his depth of policy expertise on a variety of issues around state government. Brannan was appointed Workers’ Compensation Commissioner three times, under both Governor Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry.

Read more here.

In local news:

An applicant for one of Louisiana’s nine medical marijuana pharmacies is now suing New Orleans over how the licenses were granted. Maryland-based Rx Greenhouse claims that the licenses were given “improperly” because Rx Greenhouse received the top score from the committee but the license was issued to the fourth-place finisher. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy declined to comment to the Advocate. Officials at the LSU AgCenter said during February’s OWC Educational Conference that medical marijuana will be in the hands of patients at the end of the Summer.

Read more here.

In local news:

Governor Edwards signed into law SB 134, now Act 32, which will allow pharmacists to dispense Schedule II controlled substances (like opioid painkillers) in an amount less than that indicated in the prescription. Measures like this are designed to reduce the quantity of unused opioids in circulation, which can be diverted into the illegal supply if not disposed of properly.

In industry news:

CorVel published a clinical case study, in which the company saved the employer 78 percent on a claim when the injured employee used the company’s telehealth services.

Read about the claim here.

Interested in learning more? Elizabeth Lowry, Area Director for CorVel, will speak about the telehealth program at Spotlight on Solutions, Louisiana Comp Blog’s tech symposium on Friday, June 15th, at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. Register here.

In local news:

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ call for a second extraordinary session to solve Louisiana’s budget woes and fund vital programs means that the current 2018 regular legislative session will adjourn next Tuesday, May 22nd. As such, any remaining workers’ comp bills, only a few of which were ever really considered this session, are unlikely to move at all.

In national news:

OSHA has scheduled a meeting June 12th, 2018, in Washington, D.C., to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders in the railroad and trucking industries on whistleblower issues within the jurisdiction of the agency. OSHA seeks input on how the agency can better deliver whistleblower customer service, and what kind of assistance the Agency can provide to help explain the whistleblower laws it enforces. This meeting will be the first in a series of meetings requesting public input on the whistleblower program.

More info here.

In safety news:

EHS Today published a new piece on Computer Vision Syndrome.

Read more here.

In industry news:

The top 10 workers’ compensation insurers capture 46 percent of the market across the country, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Read more from Insurance Journal here.