Annual Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study Releases 2020 Report Examining Organizational Resiliency, COVID-19 Impact on Claims Operations

August 18, 2021 – Chicago, IL – With unpredictable disruption predicted at greater frequency in the future, the workers’ compensation industry is no exception to finding itself in a highly uncertain business environment, despite our risk models and mitigation efforts. Past performance will no longer predict future success in workers’ compensation. Organizational resiliency will play a vital role.

Now, with the release of its eighth Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study Report, this national research program continues to break new ground by investigating organizational resiliency in two (2) key ways.

The 2020 study is the first time claims leaders had the opportunity to respond directly to the perspectives of more than 1,200 frontline claims professionals who participated in the 2019 survey. By identifying how claims leaders are responding to the needs and views of frontline staff, we gain better insight into organizational resiliency in our industry. Not only is acting on employee feedback from employee surveys directly related to organizational resiliency, according to business management research, but also how claims leaders are recruiting, retaining, and responding to the shortfall of next generation talent remains one of the greatest crises facing the workers’ compensation industry today.

The second attribute of resiliency examined by the 2020 survey of claims leaders is what high performing claims organizations are doing that lower performers are not – including their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outperforming peers during, and after, turbulent times is a central characteristic of the resilient organization as proven by widespread research.

“In this new era of uncertainty and disruption, resiliency is no longer an imperative for the successful recoveries of injured workers, it’s an imperative for the success of workers’ compensation organizations themselves,” says Rachel Fikes, chief experience officer and study program director at Rising Medical Solutions. “The 2020 Study Report is a timely investigation of what claims payers are doing to future-proof their organizations.”

From the study’s new lines of inquiry, 2020 survey responses quantify an expanded set of differentiators distinguishing higher performing organizations from their peers. They include:

  • Advancing an advocacy-based, employee-centric claims model as a core operational strategy
  • Connecting core competencies with performance measures
  • Addressing the biggest obstacles to achieving desired claim outcomes
  • Offering career paths with growth opportunities for claims professionals
  • Incentivizing frontline claims professionals with bonuses/profit sharing
  • Addressing training needs identified by frontline claims professionals
  • Reducing compliance and administrative burden on frontline staff
  • Using analytics to improve claims resource efficiency
  • Integrating claims and medical management resources
  • Connecting return-to-work/patient functional outcomes to provider quality

As in prior years, the 2020 Report will be available to all industry stakeholders without cost or obligation as a contribution to the workers’ compensation industry. It may be requested here.

About the Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study
The Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study is a national research program examining the complex forces impacting claims management in workers’ compensation today. The study’s mission is to advance claims management in the industry by providing both quantitative and qualitative data. Through survey research with claims leaders and practitioners nationwide, the program generates actionable intelligence for claims organizations to evaluate priorities, challenges, and strategies amongst their peers. Conceived and directed by Rising Medical Solutions, the ongoing program is a collaboration of industry executives representing diverse organizational perspectives, including the Study’s Principal Researcher and Advisory Council:

  • Denise Algire, Director of Risk Initiatives & National Medical Director, Albertsons Companies
  • Raymond Jacobsen, Senior Managing Director, AON
  • Rich Cangiolosi, VP, Western Region, CCMSI
  • Dr. Tyrone Spears, Chief, Workers’ Compensation Division, City of Los Angeles
  • Scott Emery, Senior Director, Claims, Markel
  • Michele Fairclough, Medical Services Director, Montana State Fund
  • Molly Flanagan, AVP, Workers’ Compensation Claims, Nationwide Insurance
  • Alan Bender, Director, Workers’ Compensation & Casualty Insurance, Publix Super Markets
  • Jonathan Gerdes, EVP, Smart Casualty Claims
  • Helen Weber, AVP, Head of Medical Strategy, The Hanover Insurance Group
  • Dr. Adam Seidner, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, The Hartford
  • Thomas Wiese, VP, Claims, The MEMIC Group
  • Dr. Marcos Iglesias, MD, VP, Chief Medical Director, Travelers
  • Linda Butler, Director, Claims Management, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Victoria Kennedy, Assistant Director, Insurance Services, Washington State Department
    of Labor & Industries
  • Brian Trick, Director of Claims Services, Wegmans Food Markets
  • Kyle Cato, Associate Risk Manager, Workers’ Compensation & General Liability Claims, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
  • Thomas Stark, VP of Underwriting, Zenith Insurance Company

About Rising Medical Solutions
Rising Medical Solutions is a national medical-financial solutions firm that provides medical cost containment and medical care management services to the workers’ compensation, auto, liability, and group health markets.