Cavalcade of Risk and news notes for the New Year

January 5th, 2009 by Julie Ferguson

Happy new year to all our readers! While we were taking a short holiday break, Louise at Colorado Health Insurance Insider was toiling away to produce a special New Year’s Eve Cavalcade Of Risk. There’s some good reading there, it’s good way to ease your way back into some of the health care issues that lie before us in the coming year.
Here are a few other news stories that crossed our radar:
Insurance and the economy: market will harden – a recent report by Advisen LTD. alerts commercial insurance buyers that rates in all lines should be expected to rise in the fourth quarter of 2009 or first quarter of 2010, and the hard market is likely to last “longer than normal.” The report states that workers compensation premiums may begin rising as early as midyear in 2009. Underwriting losses and poor investment returns are putting pressure on rates: “In the current economic environment, where credit markets are essentially frozen, capital to create new insurance and reinsurance capacity may be in short supply.” Another recent report by Willis Re concludes that reinsurance pricing is likely to rise as capital becomes scarce. And A.M. Best has recently stated that the U.S. property-casualty industry has posted its first year-end underwriting loss since 2005, with a combined ratio of 105.4% for the first nine months of 2008, as compared to 92.2% in the prior year.
WC crystal ball – our friend Joe Paduda offers his 2009 predictions for workers comp managed care – well worth checking out. He follows with an in-depth post on why big comp networks won’t do the smart thing.
CT coverage verification – The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission has created a new online service that will enable a workers comp verification to learn if a business operating in the state has coverage. Direct link to the service: CT coverage verification service.
Work fatalities – while most of us celebrated with family over the holidays, many families grieved the loss of workers who died on the job. The Weekly Toll tells the story of those losses. If you haven’t visited in awhile, stop by to see the new design. It’s a grim and very personal reminder of how important it is that we all stay committed to workplace safety as a top priority for the new year, something that may be increasingly hard as training and safety budgets get squeezed in this difficult economy.
Cool tool – Google’s has a new, free 411 service that is fast and easy to use. Dial 1-800-GOOG-411 from any phone. State what you’re looking for and GOOG-411 will connect you with the business you choose. If you are calling from a mobile device, the service can even send you a text message with more details and a map. Simply say “Text message” or “Map it.” Learn more at Goog411. Thanks to Jann from Standard Publishing for this great tip.