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Posts Tagged ‘workers compensation’

New tactic introduced to battle opioid crisis but comes with complications

pills 2The opioid crisis that exploded at the end of 2015 is making headlines again as we close out the first month of 2016. During Charlie Baker’s State of the State address on Thursday, January 21st, he noted that the opioid crises was “terrifying” and that four people die every day in Massachusetts due to opioid overdoses.  Many of these opioid addictions are linked to the overprescribing of the drug and lackadaisical manner of follow-up to prescription taking. Governor Baker pushed for a 72 hour prescription cap that would allow doctors to closely monitor the ingestion of the drug. Similarly, a new tactic for battling the epidemic has been made public; an implant used to fight the addiction of opioids. Read more…

Federal penalties for workplace safety violations set to increase

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment

statehouseThe new bipartisan budget was passed by both the House and the Senate, and signed into law by President Obama on November 2. Provisions within the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 will increase federal penalties for workplace safety violations that are handed down from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These penalties have not increased since 1990. The percentage change in Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past 25 years will be taken into account, and penalties will continue to rise with inflation in the future. The increase from current penalty amounts will range from 70-80%. Despite this increase, OSHA fines will still remain small versus those of other regulatory agencies. Read more…

Insurance industry looks to address opioid epidemic

opioidsThe opioid crisis is very present in the mainstream news these days. One can read the tragic stories of heroin addiction and the easy access to opiates, and the ensuing statistics are staggering. This is a truly an epidemic of our times.

Opioids have been the topic of conversation within the insurance industry for a long while now as well. Those within the medical claims industry have been aware of the severity of the opioid overdoses for some time, but there have been some recent events that have heightened the focus on this issue. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s preliminary statistics indicate that the number of deaths in the state directly linked to opioid overdose for 2015  is over 750, and is therefore  high enough for officials to regard the issue as a public health crisis. The state estimates that the number of deaths so far in 2015 appear to be higher than last year during the same time period. Read more…

Workers’ Compensation outlook for 2016

October 27, 2015 Leave a comment

workersIncreases in employment growth, wage growth, medical inflation, and interest rates are all expected to have a significant impact on Workers’ Compensation premiums in the upcoming year.

Employment growth will most likely result in a rise in exposure-based premiums, and generate upward pressure on claim frequency. It is already affecting the severity by the indemnity payments that are being made on Workers’ Compensation losses. The industry reaction to the severity spike is that insurance carriers will focus their attention on job training and new employee selection. Read more…

The legal issues surrounding the independent contractor business model

legal_independent_contractorsThe on demand economy, which consists primarily of tech startups, allows consumers to conveniently purchase goods and services via an app on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. In addition to being one of the fastest growing types of commerce, delivery speeds are lightning fast due to a large pool of contract workers who are available to provide goods and services around the clock. These workers are flexible enough to numerous jobs per day as a primary source of income, or a few per week as a secondary source. They are classified under most state laws as independent contractors rather than employees, and are able to decide when and where they perform work for these online or app-based companies.
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Misclassifying independent contractors could cost you

hailingacabAs the economy changes, we have seen an increased use of “independent contractors” in all areas of business as a way to try and reduce employer expenses.

Let’s take ride-sharing startups Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. as an example. A job as an Uber driver has many benefits. Drivers are their own bosses with the luxury of making their own schedules. But as independent contractors, they are responsible for myriad expenses. After car maintenance, gas, insurance, and taxes, plus a 20 percent commission to Uber, the driver’s pay is cut nearly in half, according to The Washington Post. In recent lawsuits filed in San Francisco, drivers claim the ride-sharing companies have been mislabeling them as independent contractors according to California’s labor law. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) notes that if drivers were declared employees and therefore entitled to workers comp benefits, there would be no disputing which policy – commercial or personal – would cover auto accidents. Additionally, as the employer, Uber would be responsible for covering fuel costs and other work-related benefits like paid sick leave and vacation days. Read more…

As Ebola threats continue, insurance options respond – or will they?

ebola_hospitalWhile the current Ebola pandemic still remains primarily isolated to West Africa, the death of Thomas Duncan earlier this month in Texas has raised many concerns relative to the potential spread of the disease globally. At this time, two nurses responsible for treating Duncan have both tested positive for the disease, raising questions about whether American hospitals and their staff are adequately prepared to contain the virus.

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