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Top Stories

CA - WCIRB Webinar Explores Geographic Differences in Claim Development

12/16/2019 | 105 | 0 | 13 min read

A higher proportion of cumulative trauma claims filed in Southern California contributes to higher overall frequency compared to other regions of the state, according to data the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau presented during a recent webinar. The fifth annual study of regional differences in claim development patterns found a higher proportion of cumulative trauma claims in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area, where overall indemnity claim frequency was about 30% higher than the state average. The proportion of cumulative trauma claims was also highest in the Southl... Read More

LA - Comp Prosecutor Lands First Indictment — on Contractor Misclassification

By William Rabb (Reporter)
12/16/2019 | 109 | 0 | 9 min read

A special division at the Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration, set up to prosecute comp fraud, has notched its first indictment: a subcontractor who may have been involved in the Hard Rock Hotel construction site that collapsed in October. Manuel A. Reyes, owner of Rey Co., a Metairie-based drywall contractor, was indicted in November on nine counts related to premium fraud and misclassification of workers, according to OWCA and the indictment. Reyes underreported his payroll by as much as $794,000, cutting the cost of his comp premiums considerably, OWCA D... Read More

LA - Supreme Court Orders Disbarment of Attorney Who Failed to Return Fee to Comp Client

12/16/2019 | 53 | 0 | 2 min read

The Louisiana Supreme Court last week disbarred a DeRidder attorney for misconduct involving the neglect of clients’ legal matters, a failure to provide competent representation and improper retention of unearned fees. Mitchel M. Evans II was already suspended from the practice of law when the Supreme Court handed down its decision last Tuesday forbidding him from ever having his license reinstated. Some of the allegations against Evans stemmed from a workers' compensation case in which he retained a fee of $40,437.49 of his client's $55,000 settlement. A workers' com... Read More

ND - Worker's Benefits Shouldn't Have Been Discontinued

12/16/2019 | 66 | 0 | 2 min read

The North Dakota Supreme Court overturned a district court judge’s determination that an injured worker’s benefits ought to have been discontinued. Case: State ex rel. Workforce Safety & Insurance v. Salat, No. 20190056, 12/12/2019, published. Facts: Bile Salat worked for XPO Logistics. He slipped and fell while at work in February 2016. Salat suffered injuries to his back, hip and right ankle. Workforce Safety & Insurance accepted the injuries as compensable. Salat’s doctor released him to regular-duty work in June 2016. He worked a full day on June 29 and a... Read More

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Press - Robert Aguilar, Jr. Joins CIGA's In-House Litigation Team

12/09/2019 | 503 | 0

GLENDALE, Calif. - The California Insurance Guarantee Association added veteran workers' compensation professional, Robert Aguilar, Jr. to their in-house litigation team in November. Aguilar will be working under highly respected industry leaders, Joseph Gallo and Terri Harrison. For more than a decade Aguilar has been an assertive and intricate authority in the workers' compensation industry in California. Formerly a film... Read More

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NATL. - Moore: 2020 Workers' Comp Resolutions: Starting With a Clean Slate

By James Moore
12/16/2019 | 61 | 0

Your 2020 workers' comp resolutions begin with the obvious: Start the list now in late 2019. I usually build off the previous years’ lists.  This year let us start with a clean slate for our 2020 workers’ comp resolutions and go from there.  Check the resolutions that I wrote each year for the last 10 years for ideas. You can type "resolutions" in the search box. The resolutions should come up in date order, newest to oldest.   Were there any surprises in your workers' comp program? If so, find out why the... Read More

MS - Worker Has No Additional Disability From Most Recent Injury

12/16/2019 | 70 | 0 | 2 min read

The Mississippi Supreme Court reinstated a ruling by the Workers’ Compensation Commission finding that a truck driver with a history of back injuries did not suffer any additional permanent disability from his most recent industrial accident. Case: Sheffield v. S.J. Louis Construction Inc., No. 2018-CT-00385-SCT, 12/12/2019, published. Facts: Robert Sheffield worked for S.J. Louis Construction as a truck driver. He injured his back at work in June 2015. Sheffield’s doctor placed him at maximum medical improvement in February 2016 and assigned a 7% impairment rating, stating ... Read More

CA - Employer Convicted in Wildfire Death Case Sentenced to House Arrest

12/16/2019 | 93 | 0 | 1 min read

A California man who employed the only person who died fighting the 2016 Soberanes Fire was sentenced to 300 days of house arrest after he was convicted on charges that included illegally operating without workers’ compensation coverage. KQED reports that a Monterey County judge also sentenced Ian Czirban to serve three years of felony probation. Czirban was convicted in October of not having comp coverage, failing to file a payroll tax return and filing a false document. Robert Reagan III, 35, died in July 2016 when a bulldozer he was driving around a steep grade rolled over. He was ... Read More

FL - Maximum Weekly Benefit Level Rises to $971

12/16/2019 | 58 | 0 | 1 min read

The maximum weekly disability benefit for injured workers in Florida will climb by $31 next year, based on an increase in the state's average weekly wage, the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation announced. The maximum benefit in Florida is set by law at 100% of the average weekly wage, as determined by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The wage rose from $939 in 2018 to $971 for 2019, and the maximum benefit will rise to that amount starting Jan. 1, the division said in a bulletin. The maximum level in Florida has risen every year since 1951, while the minimu... Read More

NATL. - NCCI Launches Court Case Insights

12/16/2019 | 67 | 0 | 2 min read

The National Council on Compensation Insurance launched a new resource providing information about court cases throughout the country that may impact workers’ compensation systems. NCCI said it has reported on almost 100 cases since it started publishing its Court Case Update in January 2018. The Court Case Insights page on its website helps users search and sort through NCCI’s summaries. The service allows users to view cases NCCI has summarized in all states or narrow the search to decisions coming out of specific jurisdictions. It also allows users to limit the search to cases... Read More

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Press - Call for presentations for the 2020 NCSI Annual Meeting

12/05/2019 | 133 | 0

The National Council of Self-Insurers' has supported the interests of workers' compensation self-insurers since 1946.  We welcome speakers in a wide variety of topics that are geared towards the specific needs of our members.  The theme for our 2020 conference is:  How to build a better Self-Insurance Program. Do you have an idea for a great presentation or have a subject matter that you would like covered that fits with our theme? If so, submit your proposals here! Selection Criteria: All presentations must focus on ways for self-insured employers to improve the ... Read More

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TX - NCCI Pitches Classification Changes for Oil and Gas Fracking Workers

12/16/2019 | 88 | 0 | 2 min read

The National Council on Compensation Insurance is proposing two classification changes for oil and gas workers, which could give employers more flexibility in determining premiums. The revisions were announced by the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation but are part of a nationwide effort by the NCCI to keep up with changes in the oil and gas industry, including the process known as fracturing, or “fracking” underground rock to release fossil fuel reserves. The revisions to the basic manual for oil and gas creates a class for flowback service workers and allows drill site ... Read More

NATL. - Liberty Names Sustainability Officer

12/16/2019 | 83 | 0 | 3 min read

Liberty Mutual named Francis Hyatt the carrier’s first chief sustainability officer and announced a new global policy on coal underwriting and investment. Hyatt has held several leadership positions with Liberty over the last 28 years, most recently serving as executive vice president of enterprise talent practices, where he was tasked with recruiting, training and retaining employees. He will head up what the company is calling its environmental, social and governance issues and lead the carrier’s Office of Sustainability. In the same announcement, Liberty Mutual said it wi... Read More

TX - Insurers Utilizing AI Through Messaging, Virtual Assistants, Photo Recognition

By William Rabb (Reporter)
12/13/2019 | 390 | 0 | 121 min read

Insurers hoping to tap into the vast new world of artificial intelligence for claims, customer service and underwriting should not try to build a new app from scratch. Instead, they would do well to work within existing messaging and virtual-assistance apps, including Amazon's Alexa, said the founder of an artificial intelligence software firm. Miguel Fernandez, head of ClaimBot, a Google-backed insurtech firm in Austin, spoke at a webinar the Insurance Council of Texas hosted Thursday that explored the rapidly growing uses of AI in insurance claims. For example, he said, AI can not... Read More

TN - Panel Orders Reinstatement of PPD Award to Delivery Driver

12/13/2019 | 179 | 0 | 20 min read

The Supreme Court of Tennessee’s Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel ruled that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board erred in overturning a permanent partial disability benefits award for a delivery driver’s neck injury. Case: Joiner v. United Parcel Service, No. M2018-01876-SC-R3-WC, 12/06/2019, published. Facts: Roger Joiner worked for United Parcel Service as a delivery driver. He claimed he experienced a popping sensation in his shoulder while lifting a mailbag at work on Feb. 26, 2016. He did not experience immediate pain, but he allegedly had ting... Read More

NY - Worker Gets Summary Judgment on Labor Law Claim, Property Owner Gets Indemnification

12/13/2019 | 162 | 0 | 38 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that an electrician was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim and that the property owner was entitled to summary judgment on its indemnification claim against its lessee. Case: Jara v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 2017-05130, 12/04/2019, published. Facts: Rodrigo Jara is a self-employed electrician. He allegedly suffered injuries while repairing an electrically operated, roll-up metal gate for the entrance to a property owned by the Costco Wholesale Corp. The property was leased to Westbury Liquors Inc. The gate was stuck in the open position. ... Read More