Kallay: Problems, Costs of Workers Compensation to Grow

By Morrow, Darrell | THE JOURNAL RECORD, August 24, 1990 | Go to article overview

Kallay: Problems, Costs of Workers Compensation to Grow


Morrow, Darrell, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Feature Editor Employers can expect the problems and costs of workers compensation to grow in the future.

That is the assessment of Rosanna H. Kallay, a workers compensation specialist from Houston who presented a seminar on the subject at Edmond Memorial Hospital Thursday.

Much of the problems to employers will result from newer court interpretations that have expanded the realm of workers compensation beyond physical injury to emotional stress injury, she said.

Another factor already costing employers more money is that insurance carriers have banded together and are using new methods to adjust risks and rates, she said.

"They have figured out new methods to get into your pocket without legislation," Kallay said.

"One hundred forty-four new laws were written last year with mostly minor changes, most of them to change the name from workman's compensation to workers compensation. They all agree now it is workers compensation everywhere," she said.

The cost of workers compensation to employers is predicted to rise to 9 percent of workers' costs by 1995 from a present national average of 8.3 percent. It represented only 1 percent of workers' costs in 1970, she said.

"Since 1982, the number of workers compensation incidents has gone down. The reason we see an increase in the cost is because the number of days of lost time has gone up per incident," she said.

Kallay cited figures showing a dramatic increase in mental or emotional stress injuries since 1980, when only 1,282 cases or .3 percent of workers compensation claims were in that category.

"Last year 14 percent of all compensation injuries had no physical injury. The largest number of stress claims were filed by workers 18 to 30 - 29.29 percent. These folks haven't been working long enough to be stressed out.

"We have a young labor pool that feels like they should be able to feel happy and feel good at any given time and if they are not, someone should pay," she said.

Kallay stressed that all employers should know the national statistics and all other factors relating to workers compensation about their specific businesses. She cautioned employers against practicing only frequency management to combat workers compensation claims.

"When you are practicing frequency management, you are practicing the Las Vegas system. You know you are going to lose, but you just spread it out and lose more slowly. …

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