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Understanding the Evolving Legal and Regulatory Workers' Compensation Landscape


Keeping up with changes to workers’ compensation laws and regulations requires a coordinated effort that involves brokers, TPAs, managed care providers and other experts.

Get the right information from your advisors — brokers, third-party administrators, managed care providers — about legal and regulatory changes and what impact they may have on your organization.

Across the country, ongoing court cases and legislative developments could alter how employers manage employee injuries and their workers’ compensation programs. Managing this uncertainty and change requires that risk managers collaborate with others both inside and outside of their organizations, according to a panel of experts during Marsh’s workers’ compensation webcast.

“Get the right information from your advisors — brokers, third-party administrators (TPAs), managed care providers — about legal and regulatory changes and what impact they may have on your organization,” said Tom Ryan, Market Research Leader in Marsh’s Workers’ Compensation Center of Excellence. “Make sure the legal and regulatory information and guidance you get from brokers, third-party administrators, and managed care providers is validated — not just conjecture, but actionable advice based on proven outcomes and actual claims experience. Then take that insight and disseminate it to the right resources internally, including environmental health and safety professionals, human resources, and other business partners.”

Among other topics, panelists discussed the options available to employers to nonsubscribe or opt out of workers’ compensation systems in Texas and Oklahoma. Those options could be replicated in other states in the future; Tennessee considered such a measure earlier this year.

Choosing to nonsubscribe or opt out can yield significant benefits for employers — most notably, greater control over the doctors who treat their injured workers and how that care is delivered. But straying from the traditional workers’ compensation system can also carry risks and require employers to think differently.

“Managing claims for a nonsubscriber is not the same as for a traditional employer in the workers’ compensation system,” said Rob Renz, a senior vice president in Marsh’s Casualty Practice. “You need to work with a TPA that employs claims adjusters with that specific nonsubscription experience on their resumes. You also want to find a TPA that employs adjusters who can handle both liability and employee injury claims.”

Other topics discussed by the panel included:

  • Challenges in Florida and Oklahoma to the fundamental concept of workers’ compensation as the “exclusive remedy” for injured workers seeking to collect benefits.
  • California’s SB 863, a landmark reform bill passed into law in 2012 that has generated some savings but fallen short of expectations.
  • Medical marijuana, which some state courts are recognizing as an acceptable form of medical treatment for workplace injuries.

Listen to the replay of the webcast