5 Things to Know about State of Workers' Compensation, Annual Benchmarking Study

06 Jun, 2022 Frank Ferreri


There’s no shortage of studies addressing needs and trends in the workers’ compensation industry.

One study that has been a yearly fixture is Rising Medical Solutions’ workers’ compensation benchmarking study. The latest version of the study is set to be released later this summer, and the contents of the study will be the subject of a June 8 webinar.

WorkersCompensation.com recently caught up with Rising’s Chief Experience Officer & Director of the Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rachel Fikes, who addressed the study and webinar. Here’s what Fikes had to say:

1. There are plenty of studies addressing workers' compensation. What distinguishes the benchmarking study from others?

Like most industries, the workers’ compensation industry has hurdles that challenge growth and operational effectiveness. Many of these hurdles are commonly a focus of research, with numerous studies published about the state of the workers’ compensation industry, cost drivers, claim trends, workforce demographics, jurisdictional comparisons, and the like. However, less has historically been reported about how claims peers compare in terms of daily operational challenges, priorities, and strategies. In response to this gap in available research, the Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study was launched in 2013 and has since become the largest survey of claims leaders and frontline staff in the industry. 

2. What's the importance of the benchmarking study to the industry?

Overall, the study’s mission is to advocate for the advancement of claims management by providing both quantitative and qualitative research to the industry.  One of the most compelling aspects of the study is that it identifies exactly which claims best practices are generating better outcomes and clearly differentiate high performing claims organizations from lower performing industry peers. In this way, the study data helps claims executives pinpoint operational outliers, advocate for resources in support-challenged areas, and validate existing strategies. 

3. What will attendees get from the webinar presentation that they wouldn't get from reading the study?

Attendees will get more nuanced detail directly from industry leaders about what solutions their organizations are using to overcome the top three obstacles to achieving desired claim outcomes.  These obstacles have been repeatedly ranked – by both claims leaders and frontline professionals – as the foremost barriers across multiple study surveys, revealing deeply ingrained industry challenges, processes, and mindsets.   

4. How does the study address the obstacles of 1) Iack of adequate return to work options, 2) the impact of litigation on claims outcomes, and 3) psychosocial factors and other comorbidities that delay and impair recovery?

Our historical study data reports on exactly what solutions organizations are using to address these obstacles.  More importantly this data reveals the extent to which organizations are using these solutions, indicating many operational challenges and opportunity areas for the industry. With our latest study, we migrate from quantitative survey research to qualitative focus group research. The use of such first-person research increases candor, probe, and the thinking behind participants' opinions and generates data that would otherwise be inaccessible without the interaction of group participants. The result is in-depth data on the real-world solutions high performers are using to surmount top industry challenges. 

5. In a nutshell, what does 'operational transformation' mean and how might organizations embrace it?

The data we’ve been seeing indicates the industry has been implementing far more tactical change, than it has been implementing transformational change. For instance, in the case of operationalizing employee-centric claims models, communicating that leadership is committed to this model is an important step, though tactical. Whereas implementing frontline training focused on employee-centric claims models is a step towards actually transforming the claims culture.

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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