Broker Check

How COVID-19 Impacts Workers Compensation

May 11, 2020

Two experts in the workers compensation field, Kimberly George of Sedgwick and Mark Walls of Safety National provided some thoughts on COVID-19's effect on workers compensation and related issues.

  • Treatment of injured workers is impacted by priorities given to virus patients, with elective surgeries being postponed and recoveries delayed.
  • Many states now have presumptions that certain workers (not necessarily all "essential workers") who contract COVID-19 caught it at work.
  • There is increased use of telemedicine and artificial intelligence.
  • Social inflation will conflict with possible limitations on employer liability.
  • Technology such as wearables helps contact tracing; it can also protect against workplace violence.
  • Pain management is shifting away from medication to alternative therapies. 
  • There is an increased need for risk management (for example in providing a safe workplace).
  • Increased tolerance for marijuana impacts workplace safety.
  • Increased work from home and telemedicine raises data privacy and hacking concerns.
  • 1 in 6 Americans is now a caregiver to a spouse or relative, 60% while working full time. There are apps to link them to social workers.
  • Public entities are in debt and need financial assistance.
  • There is a need to re-evaluate how the system is working based on outcomes.
  • Self-insurance costs are increasing at the same time investment income is down.
  • Mental health needs of workers must be addressed.
  • Data must be validated.
  • Keep abreast of changes regarding leave and disability.