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Industry Trends

The Most Interesting Takeaways from RIMS 2021

RIMS 2021 provided a much different format, but the same great opportunities to hear from industry experts remained – and they had plenty to discuss. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways and trends we heard in the educational sessions.

May 3, 2021

New Rules for Environmental Safety Organizations have spent a significant time developing COVID-related safety protocols for welcoming customers back to businesses and returning their employees to work. Experts are saying that some of these protocols should be here to stay. Basic methods to alleviate the COVID-19 concern are good practices to continue throughout the year – especially during cold and flu season. In fact, some organizations proactively invested in certain safety measures long before COVID-19, including use of UV protection and ionizers, and altering engineering controls like extra cleaning on the weekends, which have collectively resulted in an enormous decrease in employee illness and absenteeism.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance Implications Since driverless cars will be programmed to make the same decisions that human drivers make today, many may argue that collisions involving an autonomous vehicle were caused by programmed “intentions” rather than considering it an “accident.” Manufacturers face the prospect of incurring liability claims that were previously assigned to human drivers when computers make programmed choices. Liability policies are going to be asked to do a lot more than they do now. We can expect to see carriers argue that the current auto policies were not intended to cover these risks. Exclusions may need to be added to policies and special extensions may need to be offered for coverage that is currently lacking in existing lines of coverage.

Telehealth Boom Over 20% of care for workers’ compensation claims was provided through telehealth during the pandemic – a major increase from the 0.5% makeup prior to COVID-19. Now, with telehealth becoming part of normal care considerations, it still makes up around 10% of provided care. Non-occupational workforce absence has also seen a major increase in the use of telehealth, with the Department of Labor now classifying it as a permanent option for FMLA qualifications. While this was not permitted prior, this option has prevented the healthcare system from becoming overburdened.

Top-Requested Injured Worker Accommodation Remote work has easily become the most requested accommodation. The pandemic forced many work-from-home situations, which overwhelmingly proved that companies could run successfully with employees working remotely. Attitudes have changed and it is not going to be as easy to dismiss or deny this accommodation option when requested.

Law Enforcement’s Use of Facial Recognition is Gaining Speed This software is currently being used by over 600 law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes. The database was created by “scraping” photos from the internet, including public websites and social media accounts, which are not protected by privacy laws. The software converts those photos to facial vectors and compares them to the database of 3 billion photos taken from the internet. Law enforcement uses facial recognition to investigate leads for theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud, shoplifting, child abuse, murder and social unrest. This is one piece of evidence. No arrests are made solely on identity recognition from this software. There are privacy concerns, however, including hacking the system for the use of blackmail and stalking. There are also software reliability concerns, including false identifications. Not everyone has fully embraced this software. San Francisco, Oakland, Boston and Portland have banned use.

Terrorism & Political Violence Market Advancements The sophistication of analytics has become an exciting area in the marketplace. This data has influenced advancements in risk identification, assessment and mitigation. 1) Geospatial heat map analysis illustrates threats almost in real time. 2) Deterministic models combine engineering data to calculate probable maximum losses (PMLs) from specific destinations. This helps pinpoint risk concentrations and identify proximity to other high-value targets. 2) Egress modeling can predict the time it would take to evacuate a building. This is valuable data to inform insureds on interior design and can be used in the insured’s defense should an event result in litigation.