“Relationships still matter” is an overused phrase in the insurance business, however its importance has never been stronger, though not for the reasons most usually offered. Agents and insurers alike are quick to stress their commitment to better relationships with policyholders, yet the lure of technology and “big data” to streamline the insurance process can appear to marginalize the need for personal touch, at least on the surface.
The digital revolution now extends to medical care when an employee becomes injured on the job -- and that’s a good thing. It’s called telemedicine and in simple terms, it facilitates more immediate and better care by connecting patients with a health care provider who need not be at the same location via phone calls, video chats and email on tablets, smartphones, and other wireless tools. These connections can also involve any health professional, including physicians, nurses and pharmacists. At Patriot, we recognize telemedicine’s great potential but we are also taking our time to understand both the benefits and drawbacks.
Our country’s growing dependence on opioids is a scourge that must be eliminated and that includes the rampant abuse within our workers compensation system. Many states are taking action on two fronts: first, slowing the overprescribing of these powerful painkillers to workers injured on the job, and second, helping those who become addicted to “kick the habit.” But from our perspective, it can’t happen soon enough.
Helping our clients prevent workplace accidents is a critical task that we take on eagerly, in fact we consider it a core mission. That said, each of our clients share that responsibility with us. Clients make themselves more “insurable” to the extent they do all they can to create and maintain a safe working environment. Some businesses struggle with this task, particularly those facing frequent financial problems. If a company is often short on cash, they may put off any safety expenditure even though they may save down the road by avoiding insurance premium hikes. These businesses can easily get caught in a difficult cycle-- paying more for insurance coverage or being placed into the assigned risk pool due to a poor safety record but unable to make the necessary investments to reverse the spiral.
The markets for medical and recreational marijuana are expanding fast with 28 states having medical marijuana laws and eight states with recreational marijuana laws. Some predict that within five years, every state will legalize marijuana.