January 6, 2005

Trends and issues at the start of a new year

As we embark on the new year, many weblogs and business publications have been recapping 2004 or making predictions for the coming year. Here are a few we've noted.

George's Employment Blawg suggests that a good way for employers to begin the new year is to update the employee handbook and offers some tips for key areas to address.

Rough Notes offers a looks ahead to the insurance market in an article entitled Analysts foresee bottom-line woes for insurers in 05, seeing higher costs due to the Spitzer investigation and soft market pressures as leading concerns. Other issues of concern include TRIA, reinsurance issues and insurance regulation.

The cost of medical care is now the single biggest segment of workers compensation expenses, representing more than half of every benefit dollar paid. In workers' comp, the issues and trends in the group health market often have an impact on workers comp. Joe Paduda opines on three top trends in health insurance markets and identifies them as: more consolidation among health insurers, the return of the hospital, and cuts in Medicaid and Medicare.

Confined Space reviews the Top Ten Workplace Safety & Health Stories of 2004. Among the stories on his list: the attempted reorganization of NIOSH, John Henshaw's retirement from OSHA and OSHA's overall do-nothing stance, the popcorn lung trial, and asbestos compensation.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends has been posting a series on business trends that will impact the small business market in 2005 and beyond. Yesterday's post was the tenth in the series and highlighted e-business trends. It also links to the other 9 trend lists. FC Now also points to several 2005 business trend lists, including workplace and HR issues.



What is the future of workers' compensation and risk management due to offshoring to India? How soon will companies transition this function to India

How do you know we aren't blogging from India?

Just kidding!

You raise interesting questions, Patti. I don't know of any insurance companies or Third Party Administrators that currently have offshore claims call centers, but there could well be some.

The other issue is the one of coverage for employees at offshore locations. In the case of any defense based contractors, they would be covered by the Defense Based Act. For general workers, the laws of a particular country would prevail. According to the Insurance Services Network, in India:

All employees are covered under the Workers' Compensation Act of 1923. Workers abroad have no Extra-Territorial Benefits. Medical Expenses and Occupational Disease benefits are included but have some limitations as prescribed by law under the Act. Workers have the option to sue but then forfeit their right to compensation under the Act.

We'll keep our eye out for news on offshoring and workers comp. Thanks for raising the issue.


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This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on January 6, 2005 9:10 AM.

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