This Week in Comp, July 15, 2016

This Week in Comp is a weekly digest of workers’ compensation news from around the country.


OSHA delays deadline for anti-retaliation provisions in recordkeeping rule
OSHA pushed back the deadline for employers to comply with anti-retaliation provisions in its new recordkeeping rule from August 10 to November 1, 2016. OSHA will use the extra time to lead outreach efforts and offer additional guidance to employers who have questions about the rule…MORE

Texas records first Zika-related birth defect
Texas received laboratory confirmation of a past Zika virus infection in a baby recently born with microcephaly in Harris County. The mother traveled from Latin America, where she was likely infected, and the baby acquired the infection in the womb. Neither baby nor mother is infectious, and there is no additional risk in Texas…MORE

Pokémon Go fantasy game creates real-life vulnerabilities
Pokémon Go descended on the U.S. gaming scene last week and mesmerized player of all ages. The game allows players to straddle the line between fantasy and reality in search of creatures with names such as Diglett, Ponyta and Doduo. Gamers should remember that although Pokémon Go offers a fantasy experience, it presents real-world risks, such as sharing personal information online, driving or walking while distracted, and being lured into dangerous places…MORE

Work can be a stressful, dangerous place: NPR study
American workers are stressed out and exposed to safety hazards on the job, according to a new National Public Radio study. Overall, 43 percent of working adults say their jobs negatively affect their stress levels. And despite increased awareness of the importance of workplace safety, 45 percent of low-wage workers report they face on-the-job hazards…MORE


NCCI announces new chief regulatory services officer
Susan Donegan will serve as chief regulatory services officer of the National Council on Compensation Insurance effective September 19, 2016.  Donegan’s career includes leadership positions, including counsel to the commissioner of insurance in Massachusetts and executive director at an international non-governmental organization, as well as a private law and consulting practice…MORE

Fitch: U.S. workers’ comp insurance swung to profit in 2015
MoneytrendAfter years of underwriting losses, underwriting performance for the U.S. property/casualty (P/C) industry’s workers’ compensation line generated a significant profit in 2015, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings. Fitch attributes the turnaround to  past premium rate increases, stable loss cost trends and improved loss reserve experience…MORE

Summit identifies top 3 system issues
Benefit adequacy, regulatory complexity and treatment delays are the top three issues facing the workers’ compensation system, according stakeholders who participated in the Dallas workers’ compensation summit…MORE

Survey reveals what agents value in their lead carriers
Agents value commercial line carriers’ claims service, competitive pricing and customer service more than they did five years ago, according to the ninth annual Channel Harvest survey. This years survey also indicated agents value their carrier’s underwriting responsiveness. Five years ago, agents gave the highest marks for underwriting expertise…MORE

Combined Agents of America names Cross as CEO
Combined Agents of America LLC (CAA) has hired Peter Cross as its new chief executive officer. Before joining CAA, Cross served as managing director at ARM Risk Solutions…MORE


Wearable tech gives claim investigators another tool
wearableFitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, blood-sugar monitors, GPS trackers and other wearable devices collect and store huge amounts of information. A claimant’s personal data from one of these devices may produce critical evidence in a claim investigation…MORE

Study: 43% of insurers’ prescription payments going to specialty drugs
pill bottle with moneySpending on expensive “specialty” drugs by commercial insurance plans jumped from 11 percent of spending on all prescriptions filled in 2003 to
43 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, patients’ out-of-pocket costs for pricey drugs climbed
46 percent over that period. The rise is driven by annual double-digit price hikes for many drugs, drugs for cancer and rare diseases that command prices of $100,000 or more per year, and millions of recently insured patients gaining prescription coverage…MORE

Dispense as written
When an insurance company nurse put on her detective hat and started digging, she discovered how a claimant inappropriately received brand-name opioids instead of generic. The nurse’s investigative skills helped lower the patient’s morphine equivalent dose, restore their life and save the policyholder money…MORE


Ohio health care worker convicted of workers’ comp fraud
A Cleveland woman caught holding a regular job while receiving injured worker’s benefits must pay the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation $16,000 and serve five years’ probation. Investigators call this type of fraud double-dipping because the claimant collects benefits for being too injured to work when he or she is, in fact, gainfully employed…MORE

Group introduces app to help fight insurance fraud
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has rolled out an app that gives investigators instant access to critical information from anywhere in the field. FraudWire makes it easy for users to tap into fraud news, weekly blogs, podcasts, videos, fraud trends and other information from the coalition’s website. The coalition notes that 40 percent of users access its website on mobile devices…MORE

Cop/strongman contestant faces fraud charges
A California police officer reported a work-related injury and began collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Meanwhile, an investigation uncovered evidence the man, a former college football player, competed in “strongman” contests while collecting benefits…MORE

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