Walking the Tightrope to Workers' Compensation Recovery
The NCCI's 2013 Annual Issues Symposium is coming up in May, but already many insurers are anticipating what the 2012 numbers and 2013 predictions will be. Last year NCCI President and CEO Steve Klingel described the market as "conflicted," which was actually an improvement over "deteriorating" (2011) and "precarious" (2010). How will he describe the current state of Workers' Compensation?
The theme of the Orlando session is “Walking the Tightrope to Recovery,” and that should give us a hint. With the economy showing clear signs of improvement, many states taking rate increases and a forecasted (slight) improvement in the combined ratio, we might just be heading toward recovery. But insurers are walking a tightrope, and any unexpected turbulence could cause a fall.
A few presentations may shed light on the challenges ahead and what they mean to the Workers' Comp. market:
- Emerging regulatory and legislative issues that directly affect the costs of Workers' Comp. insurance, such as opioid use and physician-dispensed drugs: These are expensive trends that have caught the attention of lawmakers, but will they do enough to make a difference?
- Manufacturing in the U.S.: Can the U.S. maintain strength and competitiveness on a worldwide stage to preserve opportunities for employers and insurers on a more local level?
- Impact of the Affordable Care Act: (My favorite topic title - "Is There Affordability in the Affordable Care Act?" presented by Douglas L. Wood, Mayo Clinic) With rising medical severity and medical cost representing nearly 60% of every WC dollar in many states, this topic may be front and center in 2013 and years to come.
Other annual highlights are the “State of the Line Report” from NCCI Chief Actuary Dennis Mealy, and of course the Insurance Information Institute's Bob Hartwig, on P/C Insurance in the Post-Crisis World. See the full agenda for more. The numbers and insights these speakers provide will no doubt trigger debates in the conference corridors and long into the evening.
Gen Re's Workers’ Comp. team will be in the corridors, too. I will be joined by Phil Clay and Gary Tamburri from our North American Treaty department, as well as our claim specialists Lew Palca, Roger Cornwell and Alan Roberson. As usual, Lew and I will publish a summary of meeting highlights and our thoughts on the road ahead.
To get ready for the conference, take a look back at our 2012 Conference summary.