COVID-19 Indemnity Data Confirms Suspicions: How Can We Help?
Written by: Nikki Jackson, CPCU, ARM, CDMS
The WCRI conference this year was packed with lots of data surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the impacts on workers’ compensation. During the session State of the States: Selected Findings, Rebecca Yang, Senior Public Policy Analyst walked us through some preliminary findings of the CompScope™ Bechmarks, 22nd Edition.
The preliminary findings indicate an increase in indemnity benefits with temporary disability being a major contributor. In addition, the average weekly wage and corresponding indemnity benefits of those injured at work was higher because of the shift in the percentage of claims for middle-to-high wage earners. In other words, there were less claims for lower-wage earners at these workers may have lost their jobs during the pandemic (restaurant servers, cashiers, dishwashers, hosts, etc.).
Except for a few states, there was an increase in the duration of temporary disability in 2020. The contributing factors discussed included unemployment, lack of light duty work, fear of exposure, inability to secure medical care, and delays in determining maximum medical improvement. The less obvious contributing factors stemmed from employee behavioral changes like the fear of seeking treatment at a facility which was associate with increased COVID-19 exposure risks. Also, employees with job insecurities or retaliation fears may not have reported injuries or occupational injuries.
Many of us are anxious to see the published study. In the meantime, claims professionals have an opportunity to turn the data around as we inch toward the new normal by:
- Utilizing telemedicine where appropriate.
- Offering transitional duty when it is available.
- Providing a full explanation of benefits to injured workers.
- Encouraging the use of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if available.
- Breaking down language barriers with telephonic, video, or in-person interpretation.
- And more.
To learn more about how MTI can help employers, injured workers, and claims professionals, visit
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