Webcast: Workers' Compensation's Evolving Legal and Regulatory Landscape
Legislative developments, court decisions, and evolving workplace safety requirements are altering the workers’ compensation landscape nationally. Marsh and Oliver Wyman panelists discussed the impact of these changes on employers during a recent webcast sponsored by Marsh’s Workers’ Compensation Center of Excellence.
Among the key developments for employers are:
- Challenges to the constitutionality of state workers’ compensation statutes. In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that two provisions of the state’s workers’ compensation law were unconstitutional. Barring legislative action, these rulings are expected to increase costs for both new and old claims, said Scott Lefkowitz, a partner at Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting. Similar rulings have been made in 2017 in Alabama, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania — and more judgements could follow in other states, raising the prospect of claims costs increases.
- Long-awaited implementation of federal injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements. After several delays, employers with 250 or more employees will be required to submit injury and illness documents to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration electronically by December 1. The revised Recordkeeping Rule has also focused attention on drug testing and other programs that could be considered attempts to discourage reporting or punish employees who report injuries or illnesses, said Allen Gilley, a managing director in the Workforce Strategies Practice within Marsh Risk Consulting.
- New laws and regulations in several states. Significant reforms were enacted in New York and Iowa earlier this year. Other notable changes to workers’ compensation law have occurred in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Virginia.
Staying abreast of these and other legal and regulatory developments can be challenging. But employers can rely on advisors to understand the potential impact of new laws and court decisions and to be ready to implement new processes as needed. “You need to work closely with your insurer or third-party administrator, your broker, and attorneys” to manage change, said Dennis Tierney, director of claims in Marsh’s Workers’ Compensation Center of Excellence. “And you should challenge this group to think ‘outside the box’ to help you mitigate your claims costs.”