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Pinnacol Launches New Website ExperienceLast December, Pinnacol updated its 7-year-old website with a brand-new version. The new site offers a dynamic, customer-centric user experience that promotes deeper engagement with key stakeholders (i.e., policyholders, agents, injured workers, providers, employees, and community). It aims to position Pinnacol Assurance as a leading workersâ compensation provider and an employer of choice, and to attract prospective policyholders.
Pinnacolâs Employee Giving Campaign Breaks Records in 2016
For more than 20 years, Pinnacol employees have given back to the community through the Employee Giving Campaign, a demonstration of Pinnacolâs ongoing commitment to helping those in need. In 2016, the campaign broke records, reaching 81 percent employee participation, a number that beat the previous yearâs goal by more than 10 percent. The total amount raised for the community came to $229,620.
Amendment 69 Defeated
The ballot initiative designed to establish a statewide program to provide universal healthcare coverage and finance healthcare services for Colorado residents was defeated last November, with a resounding 80 percent of Coloradans voting against it. Pinnacol shared its message internally and across the state with stakeholders through speaking engagements, newspaper articles, social media posts, newsletters, and more. Pinnacol is relieved that Coloradoâs stable and successful workersâ compensation system was left unharmed.
HEMIC Celebrates 20 Years of Proudly Taking Care of Hawaii
HEMICâs 20th Anniversary campaign launched in January, marking two decades of dedicated service to the Hawaiâi business community and Hawaiâi workers, as the stateâs only mutual insurance company.
To mark this milestone, HEMIC developed a special 20th anniversary logo to be used across its marketing. The year-long celebration will engage local leaders, Hawaiâi businesses, and workers in a series of events honoring HEMICâs many long-term policyholders, loyal insurance agents, dedicated employees, and reinsurers. It will hold a charitable golf tournament in July and act as presenting sponsor of the Arthritis Foundation of Hawaiiâs annual Walk to Cure Arthritis, with a goal of raising $20,000 for the local nonprofit.
HEMIC kicked off the year with a new television ad campaign in January, a significant departure from its humorous, award-winning ad campaigns of previous years. The uplifting and moving spot was crafted to showcase the positive impact of HEMICâs work on local workersârecognizing that workplace injury can affect the injured party emotionally, financially, and socially, as well as physically.
HEMIC has commissioned original artwork from Native Hawaiian master and artist Keone Nunes. The traditional Hawaiian kÄkau artwork celebrates and embraces the companyâs local identity and history, vision, and future. The artwork will be displayed in HEMICâs offices and used across its branding throughout the year.
HEMIC Vice President Tammy Teixeira Wins Industry Leader Award
The HEMIC vice president of Agency Management & Service, Tammy Teixeira, has been chosen for an Industry Leader Award from Pacific Business Newsâ Women Who Mean Business (WWMB) program, which identifies exceptional business leaders in the Hawaii community. Ms. Teixeira is being honored for her long experience, expertise, mentorship, leadership, innovation, and compassion.
Ms. Teixeira is on the leading edge of innovative product development at HEMIC, recently spearheading an initiative to bring collectively bargained workersâ compensation insurance to local trade unions. With her in-depth knowledge of existing laws, she brought awareness of the money- and time-saving potential to local unions, developing entirely new programs tailored to their needs. These have resulted in significantly lower premiums, increased efficiency, and decreased time delays for treatment and care, and have largely eliminated the need for lawyers and lost income to workers, while providing quality medical care to trade workers in a timely fashion.
âTammy has demonstrated powerful leadership, guiding our team to unprecedented success over the past several years, all while implementing a paradigm shift in the way we think about our business and our role in the community. She has guided our success with an unflinching dedication to improved customer service and improved service offerings for our customers,â says CEO Marty Welch.
Ms. Teixeira is an officer of the Hawaii Insurers Council. She oversees HEMICâS products, policies and services to and through retail insurance agents, including additional coverages provided through HEMIC Insurance Managers, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary). She joined HEMIC in March 2013 with 25 years of workersâ compensation and commercial P&C insurance experience.
Leonard Announces Retirement in September 2017
John T. Leonard, the first and only president and CEO in the history of The MEMIC Group, has announced his intent to retire, effective September 2017. Leonard was recruited to help start the company in 1993, taking his position as president in the first few weeks of the fledgling operation. Under Leonardâs direction, the company grew from a line of credit loan and operating only in Maine to a company with assets of more than $1.2 billion and offices from Maine to Florida. Read the full press release here.
MEMIC Grows Senior Leadership Team
MEMIC welcomes Thomas Wiese to the position of Vice President of Claims and Matthew Coy to the position of Senior Director, Information Technology. Wiese will oversee MEMICâs Maine-based claim services and compliance as well as managed care services nationwide. Coy is responsible for maintenance and enhancement of MEMICâs technology platforms and aligning delivery of information technology solutions that support MEMICâs business goals.
MEMIC Promotes Three Senior Staff
(Fongemie, Sabatino, Abboud)
Workers' compensation specialist The MEMIC Group has announced the advancement of three senior staff. Eileen Moran Fongemie has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Finance and Assistant Treasurer. Deb Sabatino has assumed the position of Director, Human Resources and Chris Abboud has advanced to the role of Senior Underwriter.
Chesapeake Employersâ Insurance Company Creates Free Opioid Addiction Prevention Message Kit
Three out of every four injured workers are currently prescribed opioids after a workplace accident, according to the Workersâ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). Even more alarming, as many as 35 percent of injured workers with chronic pain are addicted to their pain medication, according to the Journal of Addictive Diseases.
In Maryland, overdose deaths caused by prescription opioids continue to increase. From January through June 2016, 210 prescription opioid deaths were recorded in Maryland, a 10 percent increase over the first six months of 2015, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Thomas Phelan, president and CEO of Chesapeake Employersâ Insurance Company, believes it is important to tackle the issue of opioid drug abuse and addiction on all fronts, which includes helping employers promote the prevention message in their workplaces. Thatâs why Chesapeake Employers created the âSTOPioid Drug Addiction Prevention Message Kitâ for employers. The kit is free and includes:
â˘Â Â Â Prevention awareness posters
â˘Â Â Â Safety article, tip sheet, and flyer
â˘Â Â Â Digital graphics
âMany injured workers are prescribed opioid painkillers to help with the pain they suffer after a serious injury,â explains Phelan. âThe problem occurs when injured workers get addicted to these drugs.â
He continues: âOpioid addiction prevents workers from returning to gainful employment and adversely affects families and finances, and potentially harms children who find and use opioid medications meant for someone else. Furthermore, opioid addiction can lead to heroin use.â
Employers can order the free opioid addiction prevention message kit by emailing Chesapeake Employers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The digital version of the kit is available online at www.ceiwc.com.
MEM Awards First Safety Grants
The frequency of workersâ compensation claims continues to decline in Missouri, but Missouri Employers Mutual wonât stop until workplace injuries are eliminated. The Safety Fanatics at MEM awarded the companyâs first ever safety grants to Missouri businesses this month to help them take the next step toward improving workplace safety.
All of MEMâs nearly 16,000 policyholders, regardless of premium size, are eligible for a safety grant. Successful applicants earn one-to-one matching grants up to $20,000 toward approved safety initiatives. MEM plans to award policyholders at least $1 million in safety grants over the next three years, and far more if they improve workplace safety as MEM anticipates. Policyholders are required to report on the success of the safety initiatives so MEM can help other businesses learn from their success.
Learn more about MEMâs safety grant program at www.mem-ins.com.
Recent Study Shows Three Out of Four Drivers Improve Driving With Collision Avoidance Technology
Missouri Employers Mutual partnered with the MU College of Engineering for groundbreaking research on the effect of collision avoidance technology (CAT) devices on driversâ behavior. The research provides valuable insights about decreasing vehicle accidents, which are the number one cause of death on the job in the United States.
Phase one of the two-phase study involved a controlled test to study how drivers react to the technology. The study indicated that the technology did not cause added stress or distractions for the driver. In addition, driving improved for three out of four drivers after using a CAT device in their vehicles.
The data suggested that CAT systems that provide both audio and visual warnings are recommended over systems that provide only audio warnings. Less sophisticated systems generated more false positives that could cause drivers to turn off safety features. Results of phase one indicated Mobileye was the best among the CAT devices tested.
During phase two, the Mobileye CAT was tested in the real-world commercial setting using OATS, a passenger van service. Results showed that when alerts were active, warnings were reduced:
The full technical report of the CAT study is available at www.worksafecenter.com.
Big Data, Big Opportunities: MEM CIO Discusses How Insurers Can Innovate
As big data reaches its inflection point, businesses are becoming more sophisticated in using the insights to create business value. MEM CIO Kevin Miller was featured in Insurance CIO Outlook on the topic of how big data in the insurance industry can lead to safer workplaces.
Learn more about big data in insurance and Millerâs take at http://www.insuranceciooutlook.com/cioviewpoint/big-data-big-opportunities-how-insurers-can-innovate-nid-163.html.
Workersâ Compensation Fraud ConferenceâFirst of Its Kind
Forty workersâ compensation fraud professionals from around the country gathered in Helena, Montana, in October 2016 for the Investigating Workersâ Compensation Fraud conference. The two-day event was sponsored by Montana State Fund.
According to Curtis Larsen, MSFâs Assistant General Counsel and Special Investigations Unit Director, the conference was the first of its kind.
âThere are a number of conferences focused on property and casualty, medical and other consumer fraud issues, but there are never conferences targeted specifically for workersâ compensation fraud. We organized this event so work comp fraud professionals had a forum to discuss issues unique to their profession,â said Larsen.
The conference speakers delved into all aspects of employer, employee, and medical provider workersâ compensation fraud. The presentations included creating effective fraud units, the key elements for successful fraud prosecution, detecting suspicious medical claims, tips to evaluate claims records, and the latest tools for surveillance.
In the end, the group is hopeful this conference will be the impetus to further the dialogue and education necessary to assist fraud professionals to effectively and ethically protect all workersâ compensation stakeholders from fraudulent activity.
Policy and Billing Replacement Project Underway
2017 marks the second year of a multiyear project to replace MSFâs Policyholder System. As this 20-year old system continues to age, we are increasingly challenged to provide the customer service functions and stakeholder access regularly demanded of modern service applications.
Initial research began in 2014 with lengthy interviews of several insurance carriers who recently replaced or were in the midst of replacing a policyholder system. MSF gained valuable lessons learned from these peer discussions to help inform our project groundwork and planning assumptions. Last year, the project team documented system requirements on all topics affecting a policy--everything from administration to safety services. Implementation of the new system will begin in late 2017. The investment of this size will continue through 2019.
BWC Prescribing Rules, Educational Materials Address Dangers of Opioid Addiction, Dependence
BWC administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison weighed in on the opioid crisis in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Wall Street Journal late last year. Ohio measures to provide oversight in the area of opioid prescribing are âessential to balancing the appropriate care required for recovery and overprescribing that endangers the health of injured workers,â wrote Morrison. Read the entire letter here.
Additionally, BWC has collaborated with several organizations to develop fact sheets to help providers, employers, and injured workers to better understand the potential risks of opioid overuse.
The fact sheets are:
Workplace Injuries Down in Ohio
Ohio is outpacing the nation in the decline of workplace injuries, according to a report published by BWCâs Division of Safety and Hygiene.
The report shows a 16.7 percent decrease in the rate of private sector injuries in the BWC system between calendar years 2010 and 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses shows the rest of the nation experienced an 8.6 percent drop over the same time period. During that period, total injuries in Ohio's BWC system dropped from 105,568 to 95,802, a decrease made more significant considering a 7.5 percent growth in employment during the same time period.
The report also shows an additional 4 percent drop in injuries in 2015 alone.
"Ohio is becoming a leader in the workers' comp industry with an impressive offering of workplace safety programs and services, and the state is now exceeding the national trend of declining injuries," said BWC administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison.
BWCâs Division of Safety and Hygiene has significantly improved and expanded its operations over the past five years. Visit bwc.ohio.gov to learn about safety programs and services.
Study: BWC Rates 11th Lowest in U.S.
Ohioâs standing in the Oregon Study has continually improved since its rates were ranked third highest in the nation in 2008. The latest study shows Ohioâs rates improved from 33rd in 2014 to 40th, making the Buckeye state the 11th lowest among all states.
âA steady decline in rates is one more indicator that BWC is doing its part to promote economic growth in Ohio,â said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison.
The study shows Ohio collects an average of $1.45 in workersâ compensation premiums per every $100 of payroll, compared to a national median rate of $1.84. The study does not factor in various money-saving programs and rate reductions the BWC board has passed since 2014, however. When those are factored in, the rate drops to $1.22 per every $100 of payroll.
SAIF Gets Oregonians Walking Like Penguins
With many parts of the state facing one of the biggest snowstorms on record this January, SAIF reminded Oregonians to âwalk like a penguin.â
The short, sharable video showed how to safely walk in snow and ice and was viewed more than 10,000 times.
2017 Calendar Dedicated to Oregon Agriculture Industry
In honor of the more than 300,000 Oregonians who work in agriculture, SAIFâs 2017 calendar focuses on the fact that âgood things grow in Oregon.â
Each month features one of our policyholders who has shown a dedication to the agriculture industry as well as the safety and health of its employees.
The calendar went to more than 50,000 policyholders, employees, and other stakeholders in December.Â
Safe and Healthy Starts Here
SAIF released a new video this January highlighting many of the ways SAIF employees stay safe and healthy.
The video shows SAIF employees at our best: counting steps on outdoor walks and runs, playing games with colleagues during break time, collaborating on balance sheets and in meetings, and spending time with family.
It's all part of what makes SAIF a leader in Oregon and shows how SAIF is playing a role in making Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work.Â
Safe and Healthy Workplace Center
In the fall, SAIF formally changed the name of our loss control program to the Safe and Healthy Workplace Center. The change is to better reflect our commitment to safety and health, and to address the fact that many people associate âloss controlâ with theft prevention.Â
âWith this new name, weâre choosing to put our focus on the workplaceâa special place where people spend a huge portion of their lives,â said Kerry Barnett, president and CEO at SAIF. âThese days, people donât just work at office buildings, jobsites, factories, and farms. They also work at home and in coffee shops, and they stay connected to work wherever they go.â
The center will have three areas of focus:
Pure Premium Decreases for Fourth Straight Year
The state Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced that the pure premium rate for Oregon employers will drop by 6.6 percent in 2017.
This is the fourth year in a row that the pure premium has decreased, and the eighth year in the past decade.
Saskatchewan WCB to Adopt Rate Model Changes in 2018
In January 2018, the Saskatchewan WCB will begin the process of adopting changes to its rate model. The current rate model has been in place since 1998.
An independent actuary (Eckler) recommended a review of the rate model following a 2015 asset liability study. Eckler made recommendations in its 2016 review.
These changes enhance the current rate model. Of Saskatchewanâs 48,357 registered employers, it is expected that:
The WCB hosted sessions around the province in November and December 2016 to educate employers on the rate model and introduce the recommended changes. The education sessions gave employers the opportunity to ask the WCB executive questions about the rate model and rate setting.
From February 27 to March 8, the WCB is holding industry-specific education sessions and webinars to share the impacts of the enhanced rate model and provide opportunity for employers to give feedback on the transition.Â
To learn more about the recommendations, visit www.wcbsask.com.
Saskatchewan WCB Celebrates 20 Years of Compensation Institute
The Saskatchewan WCB will host the 20th annual Compensation Institute on March 20 and 21 in Saskatoon. The free educational conference is a platform for the WCB to encourage dialogue with its customers--employers, injured workers, and health care providers--and to provide learning opportunities.
This yearâs focus is Safety & Prevention--How to transform your workplace. Guest speakers from Canada, the United States, and Germany will speak on safety and prevention, claims management, and return to work. In addition to providing informative sessions on safety and change in the workplace, the WCB will also provide information on its rate model changes. WorkSafe Saskatchewan will present the Saskatchewan Safe Worker and Safe Employer awards.
If you are interested in learning more about the conference, visit www.wcbsask.com.
New e-Learning Tool for Policyholders
Texas Mutual recently launched a new learning management system for policyholders, called e-Learning. Through e-Learning, employers can assign safety training courses from our new course catalog containing 200 modern videos accompanied by quizzes. They also have the ability to post training announcements, view scores, and check completion statuses.
e-Learning also offers free recordkeeping for all courses completed through the system for as long as the user is a Texas Mutual policyholder. This can assist with fulfilling OSHA reporting requirements as well as maintaining their company's own training records.
This new system was released in conjunction with a new online Safety Resource Center dashboard that features user-friendly charts for injury analysis, recommended resources based on losses and industry, and more.
Safety in a Box Wins Innovation and Workersâ Comp Industry Awards
Texas Mutual was recently recognized with two industry awards for its virtual reality safety training app, Safety in a Box. The first was the SMA Innovation in Action Award, which recognizes insurers who are rethinking, reimagining, and reinventing the business of insurance, followed by WorkCompCentralâs Comp Laude Award, which recognizes high achievement in the compensation industry.
Safety in a Box gives viewers a first-hand experience of encountering the dangers of a construction site. It features live-action video of four dangerous scenarios, including an electrocution, a trench collapse, a fall from a high construction site, and a cinder block falling from above.
Safety in a Box is available for free on the Google Play and Apple App Store and can be used with any VR headset, such as Google Cardboard. A number of policyholders in the construction industry received a customized Safety in a Box Google Cardboard set and have used it among workers to raise awareness of the dangers of a worksite in a more realistic way than ever before.
Texas Mutual Celebrates 25 years
In January, Texas Mutual celebrated 25 years of serving employers and keeping Texasâ workforce safe. The company has evolved a great deal over the years, from writing our first policy as the Texas Workersâ Compensation Fund in 1992, to now providing coverage to more than 64,000 policyholders and 1.4 million workers across Texas.