At the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Loss Control Experience Symposium held at CNA headquarters in Chicago last week, professionals discussed the state of the global insurance industry, customer needs, trends and today’s risk management expectations, according to a press release by ASSE.

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. “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 workers’ compensation prescriptions for workers with back injuries are mistakenly for end of life narcotics for cancer; 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.

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.