Advances in medical technology contribute to increased severity of claims

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Seriously injured workers have a better chance of survival due to advances in medical technology, but while such developments are welcome, lifelong medical care and benefits are contributing to the increased severity of claims.

“People are going to survive injuries at a higher rate than before,” said Matt Zender, Las Vegas-based senior vice president of workers’ compensation strategy for AmTrust Financial Services Inc. today have a greater likelihood of success than 25 years ago because medical technology has advanced.We can help injured workers with a quality of life that we have never seen before.

“I don’t see my goals as reducing gravity as long as gravity helps,” he added.

Virna Rhodes, Cherry Hill, senior vice president, workers’ compensation claims, based in New Jersey, with Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., said claims for lifelong care, such as for workers with paralysis or traumatic brain injury, are a focal point for insurers.

“I go around a lot of our catastrophic cases and the conversation is that people are living with injuries where previously it would have been death,” she said. “These are the ones we talk about in terms of lifelong care (and) we have a pretty decent volume of that.”

Lifetime medical care is “certainly a driver” in rising individual claim costs, she said.


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