Desmond Devoe, of Insurance Business America, met with Matthew Zender, senior vice president of workers’ compensation strategy, at AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. , about the continuing impact of the pandemic, layoffs, and major layoffs, on workers’ compensation. .
The nature of work for many has changed dramatically since 2020 – and with it challenges in the workers’ compensation sector.
Matthew Zender, Senior Vice President, Workers’ Compensation Strategy for AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. He had a front row seat to how the world of work has changed, how the sector has changed, and he’s going to have to adapt to this new world of work.
“There is massive disruption in terms of the workforce right now,” Zender said. “You have massive influxes of new employees. And the data tells us that new employees are more likely to be injured (on the job). They are less aware of what to do and how to do it.”
Of course, this varies from industry to industry. The restaurant business tends to increase employee turnover, he said, so risk mitigation is “an integral part of our understanding of it.” “While the new warehouse employee will be more susceptible to infection.”
As the pandemic era waned, there were news stories of the great resignation, or the quiet resignation of workers. Whatever one calls it, something was afoot—more and more workers were heading for the door on various jobs.
In the technology sector, for example, “You have a lot of notifications of mass layoffs. So the layoffs, by themselves,[create]an environment where jobs shrink, which leads to a decrease in redundancy.” [of claims],” he said. The remaining employees are “more experienced, and they are less likely to be infected.”
With the possibility of a recession this year, and the impact of interest rates on the economy, “You’re going to have one factor where you get all these new employees who are going into — in some cases — completely new industries. I’d be curious to see how that works out from the data on an overall basis.”
Work from home
During the early days of the pandemic, there were “health concerns we had about people not necessarily being set up with an ideal workspace in their home, working around a 12-year-old’s science project,” or tripping over a toddler’s toys while working at the kitchen table.
These jobs were mostly clerical in nature, he said, but we still “were not sure exactly how it was going to go. It ended up working to reduce indecision… In fact, it had a generally positive effect.” Among the employees there were “some The overall satisfaction they have with their employers allows them to work with them in a flexible way.” This, in turn, had an effect on the volume of claims – the happier workers were, the less likely they seemed to raise cases.
But in the face of so many changes, how can a workers’ comp insurance company keep track of developments and ensure that coverage offers and insurance premiums are fair and applicable to the individual?
One way the 30-year-old industry veteran is looking to navigate this changing landscape is through data analytics.
“We use data to help shape our customers’ experiences with us,” he said. “We have the opportunity to use the data to suggest certain things we might need to do about a claim, for example, put appropriate resources in front of that customer.”
He made the assumption that the comorbidity of a 22-year-old yoga instructor would be different from that of a 46-year-old obese truck driver, who is on “two different paths, right?”
This data is used to “identify pockets of opportunity where they may be underrepresented in a class or segment.” It can be applied regionally as well, to see if there is a spike in certain states, say, in Little Rock, Arkansas. With this information in hand, he could “talk to our agents about wanting to do more,” to address a specific problem in a specific area, among their 360,000 policy holders.
In general, carriers are “becoming more sophisticated as we use data to guide our journey, using data to help identify areas of opportunity, and using data to identify areas that may need some compensation,” he said.
Although we have hard numbers on hand, they don’t always tell us the full picture.
Despite the problems with the pandemic, Zender called it “the most intellectually stimulating period of time, from a professional perspective,” a period of thinking “deeply” in the industry, because “they were actually making a difference. It’s something when you look at a problem and feel limited to it.” a particular category. It’s another thing to look at an issue in the moment and feel: “This is real.”
“One of the things we really had to do is (take a look at) how we approach the voice of our politics. Yeah, we have to really think about tools and communication.” “Most of our policyholders are small businesses, and many of them are wondering what they’re going to do about their business and workers’ compensation.”
This resulted in an empathetic balancing act for him and his firm’s clients: “To try to ensure that we were sensitive to their needs, while not being completely insensitive to our own?” He said.
AmTrust Financial Services is a property and casualty insurance company with approximately 6,000 employees worldwide. It is an industry-leading insurer focused on insurance solutions for small businesses with an emphasis on workers’ compensation. It insures more than 500,000 companies across America.