Magazine article Risk Management

Getting Older

Magazine article Risk Management

Getting Older

Article excerpt

As baby boomers approach retirement age, speculations abound about how the transition will impact the workforce, particularly when it comes to benefits and workers' compensation. Many fear that the increase of older workers will be an unbearable burden on the system. According to a report published by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) in December 2000, however, the shift in age distribution will not have such a dramatic effect.

This is somewhat surprising considering two factors: the number of jobs held by older workers will more than double as the baby boomers edge toward retirement and costs per claim incurred by older workers are higher than those incurred by their younger counterparts. This prospect has filled insurers, human resources staffs and risk managers alike with angst.

This brow-knitting overlooks several important factors, though. Although older workers incur higher costs per claim, these are only marginally higher than the costs incurred by middle-aged workers, according to the study, Workers' Compensation and the Changing Age of the Workforce. Since volume is shifting from the middle-age bracket to the upper-age bracket, the increase in cost per claim is only slight. …

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