This week in comp, July 22, 2016

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

Texas Mutual news

It’s dividend season at Texas Mutual
Dollar Bills
Texas Mutual will distribute a company-record $240 million in dividends more than 45,000 safety-conscious policyholder owners in 2016. This weeks blog post explained the dividend program components and showed how policyholders can improve their chances of earning future dividends…MORE

Texas Mutual pays $176,118 dividend to Cattle Feeders safety group
Texas Mutual recently awarded a $176,118 dividend to the Texas Cattle Feeders Association workers’ compensation safety group. The dividend was based on group members’ commitment to preventing workplace accidents and minimizing their costs when they do occur…MORE

Safety

How the construction app boom is changing the job site
apps
Technology is changing the way we work, and the construction industry is no exception. In 2014, one-third of construction firms used more than five mobile business apps…MORE

ROI and VOI: A strong wellness program measures both
The return on investment in employee wellness programs is well-documented and easy to calculate. Studies show employers can see a $1.50 to $3 return – largely in the form of health care savings – for every dollar they invest in employee wellness. The business case for wellness is even stronger when you consider the value on investment, such as improved work satisfaction and decreased absenteeism…MORE

New Zika case throws investigators a curve ball
mosquito
The case of a Utah man who contracted Zika after caring for his infected father has raised questions for health experts about how the mosquito-borne virus spreads. When he passed away, the man’s father had more than 100,000 times the amount of Zika in his blood than typical victims. That could mean high levels were also present in his saliva and urine…MORE

Underwriting

Construction market keeps building: Brokers’ outlook on current & future opportunities
Construction workerConstruction is picking up across the country, and more carriers are competing for business. Time-tested laws of economics dictate that with increased competition comes decreased rates. But experts also attribute this buyers’ market to the industry’s improved safety record…MORE

Machine learning for UBI: An optimal path to insurance ratemaking?
Traditional insurance ratemaking approaches consider numerous rating variables to estimate risk, but they often take a more circuitous path than necessary. Usage-based insurance (UBI) programs offer an alternative approach. UBI programs use sophisticated decision-making tools to discern the variables that most closely “map” to each policyholder’s estimated loss propensity…MORE

Fraud

Fraud concerns emerge as compounding drug sales skyrocket
pill bottle with moneyThe federal government’s workers’ compensation program saw spending on compounded medications grow from $2.35 million in fiscal 2011 to $214 million in fiscal 2015. Some of those prescriptions may not have been medically necessary. Others may not have been dispensed at all…MORE

Pharmaceutical worker admits role in compound medication scheme
A New Jersey pharmaceutical employee admitted filling his own medically unnecessary prescriptions and recruiting others to do the same as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain reimbursements for compound medication prescriptions. The scheme resulted in $3.69 million in losses…MORE

Claims

Commercial lines insurers investing in tech for claims, underwriting data
Drones, the Internet of Things, robots and autonomous vehicles are poised to transform the insurance industry. These technologies promise to reduce the need for on-site adjusters and investigators, while improving underwriting and pricing…MORE

Congress approves $180 million in funding to combat opioid abuse
Congress passed a bill authorizing the Department of Justice to distribute $180 million to help state and local governments combat the opioid crisis…MORE

Health care costs

Companies leverage wellness programs to control health care spending
Fitness shoesHealth care costs in America are no longer inflated; they’re “hyperinflated.” In 2015, companies spent close to $10,000 on health care benefits for each employee. Employers can reduce those costs by investing in a wellness program. Texas Mutual reports that 97 percent of its employees participate in its wellness program, helping the company save nearly $4,000 per employee on health care costs…MORE

New WCRI studies examine impact of reforms on physician dispensing
The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) releasedeight studies that exam the impact of state reforms to the rules for drugs dispensed by doctors to injured workers. The studies focus on three primary outcomes:  1. Did the reforms lead to price reductions for physician-dispensed drugs? 2. Did physicians continue to dispense after the reforms? 3. Are there emerging issues that suggest unintended consequences of the reforms?…MORE

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