This week in comp, July 29, 2016

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

Safety

OSHA penalties to rise nearly 80% beginning August 1

OSHA is increasing its fines for the first time since 1990 to adjust for inflation.

OSHA is increasing its fines for the first time since 1990 to adjust for inflation.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, OSHA will increase the maximum penalty a company must pay per violation from $7,000 to $12,471 . If a company fails to correct a violation, it will face a maximum penalty of $12,471 per day, also up from $7,000…MORE

Vermont police say drunken driver who crashed was playing Pokemon Go
Alcohol and distraction contributed to a car crash in Vermont this week. Police say the driver had a blood-alcohol content of .205, more than twice the legal limit of .08. The man also admitted he was distracted because he was playing Pokémon Go on his cellphone…MORE

Studies on traffic near work zones produce a new way to merge
A new driving method, called the zipper merge, has been shown to decrease the overall length of traffic backup by up to 40 percent and lower the chance of fender benders near work zones. Minnesota, Washington, Kansas and Missouri are promoting the zipper merge, in which drivers wait until they approach the closed lane before merging rather than moving over as soon as they see signs…MORE

Things are safer in a connected world
Every day, billions of wearables, cellphones and other devices exchange information with each other. It’s called The Internet of Things (IOT), and it is poised to revolutionize workplace safety. This weeks Texas Mutual blog post put the abstract IOT into concrete language we can all understand…MORE

Claims

pill bottle with money

Congress recently approved
$180 billion in grants to fight opioid abuse, a major driver behind pharmacy costs.

Work comp drug spend going down
On average, payers’ drug spend dropped 6.5 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to CompPharma’s annual Prescription Benefit Management in Workers’ Compensation Survey. Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters says the biggest driver behind the reduction is the depth and breadth of pharmacy clinical management programs…MORE

New FAA rules open door for increased use of drones in insurance
The recent release of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules for drones weighing less than 55 pounds will allow drones to be used in more commercial applications, including claim investigations. The FAA says the new rules, which go into effect August 29, are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft, people and property…MORE

Fraud

8 ways social networks can help identify fraud
Claim adjusters and investigators often examine a claimant’s social media activity for inconsistencies and misrepresentations. But insurers should also leverage the wealth of information provided by social network analysis (SNA). SNA helps insurers identify relationships between claimants and other individuals/entities, defend themselves against organized fraud, and build a real-world, real-time picture of claim activity…MORE

Florida staffing agency steals more than $1 million in scheme

One in five employers feel unsure how to identify workers’ compensation scams, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

A Florida staffing agency owner allegedly provided fictitious workers’ compensation policies and pocketed his clients’ payments. The man is being held responsible for the theft of more than $1,000,000…MORE

Underwriting

NCCI tool provides state-specific workers’ comp data
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently announced the launch of its redesigned State Insight tool for carriers and regulators. The intuitive, interactive tool provides state-specific workers’ compensation results at a glance and offers additional details with just a few extra mouse clicks…MORE

 

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