The Workers’ Compensation Institute (WCI) Annual Conference commenced last week, hosting over 5000 registered attendees, 570 speakers and over 180 educational sessions. As the largest workers’ compensation event, WCI provides critical insight into industry trends that apply to all stakeholders, including judges, regulators, medical professionals, adjusters, risk managers and safety professionals.
Safety National’s Vice President of Client Engagement, Mark Walls, attended and co-moderated the Opening Industry Keynote. He provides his thoughts on five key themes from the event’s sessions.
1. Talent attraction and development is the most significant issue facing the workers’ compensation industry.
From the opening keynote to the half-day talent workshop, the discussions around talent shortages were numerous. TPAs actively recruited during the event, with HR teams on hand to conduct interviews. Recruiting from competitors is only a temporary solution, though — talent development has to engage candidates outside our industry. Long-term goals should include strategies to recruit new college graduates and talents from other fields who may not have industry-specific experience but nonetheless can add value.
2. Fully remote environments make training adjusters more difficult.
Much of claims handling knowledge is developed from first-hand experience with peers, and unfortunately, those interactions have suffered as a result of employees working remotely. Employers engaging with a remote workforce are challenged with difficult training and high turnover rates among new employees.
3. Staffing shortages are heavily influencing the quality of claims handling.
In addition to staffing shortages, turnover among adjusters has adversely impacted claims handling quality. Risk managers are also reporting increased accident frequency due to limited employees. The current workforce consists of employees with less training, working significantly longer hours and dealing with overexertion.
4. The pandemic reduced the number of providers available to medical networks.
Now, this shortage of providers is creating challenges for employers in states that require panels to maintain medical control.
5. Data is more available and more important than ever before.
However, having the data and producing some actionable information are very different. In addition, if the actionable information does not result in a changed approach, it is unproductive.
Want to hear more? Look for the Out Front Ideas opening industry keynote and the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation talent workshop to be released as webinars later this year.