Expert Commentary

NCCI Annual Issues Symposium—2011

Presentations from the 2011 NCCI Annual Issues Symposium are available on the organization's website. The meeting again offered insights on the state of the line as well as a broad spectrum of issues facing the workers compensation industry and the insurance industry at large.

Workers Compensation Issues
August 2011

NCCI Chief Actuary Dennis Mealy, FCAS, MAAA, delivered a comprehensive review of current workers compensation results in his presentation on the "State of the Line." He began by providing an overview of the property-casualty market results before delving into data specific to workers compensation. Of particular note with respect to workers compensation is that lost time claim frequency in NCCI states was up 9 percent in 2010 after declining for the past 12 years. Additionally, the preliminary combined calendar year ratio (private insurers) for 2010 is estimated to be 115 percent, which is the highest it has been since 2001.

The deterioration of the line results coupled with the continued upward tick of both indemnity and medical severity and the uncertainties surrounding the impact of health care reform place the workers compensation marketplace closer to a hard cycle.

Insurance Industry Outlook

Insurance Information Institute (III) President and Economist Robert Hartwig offered his view of the state of the current property-casualty insurance market in a presentation titled "Out of the Abyss: Growth, Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Crisis World." Among the issues he reviewed were the outlook for terrorism in a post–Bin Laden world, the impact of the Japan earthquake on the insurance marketplace, and what lies ahead in the road to recovery for the U.S. economy.

Workers Compensation Regulatory/Legislative Environment

NCCI Senior Division Executive—State Relations Peter Burton, CPCU, AU, and NCCI Practice Leader and Senior Actuary Jeff Eddinger, FCAS, MAAA, offered an in-depth review of regulatory and legislative "Regional Trends." The presentation began with an overview of countrywide developments and then supplied a state-specific review (grouped by region) of the current rate changes and legislative initiatives in the jurisdictions that NCCI serves as the statistical agent.

Focus on Obesity in the Workplace

A major topic highlighted at this year's symposium is the impact of obesity in the workplace and its downstream impact on workers compensation. Three presentations looked at various aspects of this troubling trend. Todd Whitthorne, president and CEO, Cooper Concepts, Inc., presented "Focusing on Fitter Employees for Thinner Workers Comp Costs"; Michael Vittoria, VP, human resources, Sperian Protection, submitted "Designing Workplace Programs to Reduce Obesity and Improve Employee Health," and NCCI Chief Economist and Practice Leader Harry Shuford offered "The Costs of Obesity: The Country, the Work Place, Workers Compensation."

Workers Compensation Research Topics

Again this year, the symposium provided a forum for the presentation of studies related to key workers compensation issues. MAAA Practice Leader and NCCI Senior Actuary Barry Lipton, FCAS, offered two studies: "Impact of Industry Mix Changes on Frequency" and "Workers Compensation Excess Loss Development," while Harry Shuford presented his findings on "More Older Workers—Workers Compensation and an Aging Workforce."

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