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The Economy, Future Trends Discussed at American Society of Safety Engineers’ Loss Control Experience Symposium in Chicago

Posted in on Wed, Oct 8, 2008

Des Plaines, IL (October 8, 2008) — CHICAGO, IL (October 8, 2008) — At the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Loss Control Experience Symposium held at CNA headquarters in Chicago this week, professionals discussed the state of the global insurance industry, customer needs, trends and today’s risk management expectations.

CNA Senior Vice President of Risk Control William J. Boyd, CIH, CSP, CPE, and 26-year ASSE member noted, “The insurance industry has changed over the years. Recently, when we asked 20 of our top customers what they want from their loss control professionals they said ‘know our business’ and ‘help us train our employees on safety and risk control measures’ to help enhance and maintain a companywide safety culture.

“As always, and especially now, we, as risk control professionals need to demonstrate our return on the safety investment,” Boyd told the audience of 200 from around the country and the UK. “We continue to align resources to revenues, help our underwriters price risk and are committed to helping our customers reduce risk and enhance safety.

As for recent trends and the current economy, some attendees noted that statistics show during bad economic times workers’ compensation claims go down while some injury claims/liabilities such as slips and trips go up.

During their presentation on the claims and loss control team efforts, Jim Newberry, AVP and risk control manager for Island Insurance Company in Honolulu, HI, and Kathy Pagnano, CNA VP and workers’ compensation claims manager, Chicago, IL, noted that through insurance loss management programs they found the pharmacy review programs, medical bill reviews, physical therapy and radiology networks are effective in managing medical costs. They have found: 19 percent of medical paid on workers’ compensation cases is for pharmacy costs; that over the years medical costs have almost doubled; that through the medical review process they have seen a 50 – 70 percent reduction in medical bills — for instance following a medical review of an original MRI bill for $2,000 the final payment was $645; and, the number of physical therapy treatments allowed by doctors has gone up 67 percent in a 10 year period.

Pagnano and Newberry noted that by working together claims and loss control personnel can address these issues while providing a higher level of service for their customers achieving effective cost control. They also noted fraud is another problem, costing consumers $80 billion dollars annually.

CNA Senior Vice President Naveen Anand provided an overview of the commercial insurance market today stating, “Today we’re seeing an investment downturn, medical inflation, talent erosion, an aging workforce, terrorism and consolidation of the market.

“To succeed we need to diversify,” Anand continued. “We need disciplined pricing, claims excellence, deep customer knowledge, quality data, enterprise risk management and good people. Good people mean good business.”

The two-day ASSE symposium, sponsored by the ASSE Risk Management/Insurance Practice Specialty, aimed to help attendees prepare for tomorrow by analyzing trends and forecasts in the global marketplace while looking at potential exposures with emerging issues and technologies.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information please go to

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