Week of July 10 - July 14, 2017             

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Welcome to your weekly WCI Newsletter. We have selected the top stories that appeared on our website this week to help you stay up to date on what is happening in the world of workers' compensation and insurance. Enjoy.
Critics Say Uber 'Workers' Comp' Program Doesn't Cut It

By Liz Carey

Despite rolling out a pilot program to cover its drivers in case of injury, critics say the plan can't be called workers' compensation.

In fact, even the insurance documents say the program isn't workers' compensation.

In May, ride-sharing service Uber started offering its drivers a voluntary insurance policy to cover them in case of injury on the job. As reported in W, the pilot program was offered in eight states, provides drivers with a personal injury policy, paid for by drivers at a cost of 3.75 cents per mile.

The insurance pays out up to $1 million for medical expenses, up to half of a driver's average weekly earnings and a maximum of $150,000 in survivor benefits. Read more.
Einstein's Theory on Work Comp Outcomes

By Matthew Condon, JD/MBA

Summary: The measure for workers' comp outcomes is deeply flawed, yet, defying Einstein's definition of insanity, we keep using it.

Over the last decade, I have been fortunate to grow a physical therapy company that has provided hundreds of thousands of workers' compensation visits. I have learned a great deal about the good, the bad and the ugly in our industry during this time.

One lesson is most significant: The term "outcome" is among the most misused and misapplied phrases in workers' compensation. Very few consultants, intermediaries and "experts" actually assess the value of their provider networks because they lack the ability to truly define an outcome. Read more.
Some Insurers Feeling Not So Hot on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

By Phil Yacuboski

Even though marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government, many states are making it legal. It's becoming a muddy issue, especially in workers' compensation. Just last week, the largest workers' compensation insurer in Hawaii canceled policies for seven medical marijuana dispensaries because of conflicting federal and state laws. 

"HEMIC has received two outside legal opinions regarding its role in providing workers' compensation coverage to Hawaii's medical marijuana dispensaries," said Marty Welch, chief executive officer of the Hawaii Employees Mutual Insurance Company in a statement to

Citing "legal opinions," saying that the company and its board of directors could be held criminally liable, HEMIC voted unanimously to stop the policies and fully refund all premium payments currently insured by HEMIC.

Welch blamed "state and federal vagaries" surrounding the dispensary business. Read more.
Rousmaniere: The Upcoming Work Safety Agenda

By Peter Rousmaniere

About 900,000 work injuries involving at least one day of lost time will occur this year.  How might that be lowered within a five year planning horizon to, say 810,000, which would be consistent with long term trends? It will likely require more adept use of technology and smarter targeting of opportunities.

To set a high bar, consider how worksite safety has lagged commercial flight safety. Since the 1960s, if American work had advanced in safety as much as flying has in crash avoidance, there would have been 1,380 work fatalities in 2015 instead of the actual count of 4,836.

The chance of a commercial airline disaster nears the vanishing point. The risk of a fatal accident on a flight, already very low in the 1960s, has since dropped by 80%.  A friend in the airline industry explained it this way: "Aircraft and systems are better designed and built, but the key to advanced safety has been the constant attention to operating procedures, how to learn from past accidents, and how to anticipate future accidents by tracking data from day-to-day operations. This is painstaking work at the margins but produces important yields." Read more.
IL Legislators Pass Budget without Workers' Comp Reforms

By Liz Carey

The Illinois House of Representatives voted to override the Governor's budget veto Thursday, but legislators say there is still work to be done to reform workers' compensation. 

House Majority Leader Mike Madigan was able to bring together the 71 members needed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto. Ten Republican representatives crossed party lines to work with the Democrats to pass the $36 billion budget.

Rauner had called the legislature back to a special session on June 20 to force lawmakers to pass a budget, the first in two years. For more IL coverage, visit

Legislators passed a bill out of the Democrat-controlled House that included a $5 billion income tax increase to pay for more than $15 billion in unpaid bills. Read more.
NCCI Update: A Presidential Discussion

By Dara Barney
Sunny Florida wasn't the birthplace of the National Council on Compensation Insurance, believe it or not, according to NCCI President and CEO Bill Donnell, who took the time to speak with recently.

"At the time in the mid-80s, rent costs were going up in Manhattan, NY, and NCCI needed more office space with all the growth. Management at that time narrowed it down to three places, and picked South Florida," he said. And as for the location switch, "Our employees have a good quality of life here and the overall cost structure for companies is favorable. We are also close to universities, and a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) talent pool."

And as far as AIS this spring, NCCI's Annual Issues Symposium, business is booming there as well. Read more.
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